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Immersive Theatre in a Socially Distant World

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Written by Jess

I am thrilled to be performing at Creative Folkstone’s “The Plinth” Festival this weekend. Starting up a theatre company at the best of times isn’t easy, yet alone during a global pandemic and even more so when your central focus is immersive multi-sensory theatre and audience engagement. Moonbeam Theatre’s mission statement is that we aim to create innovative multi-sensory theatre for young individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities; providing them with opportunities to explore and discover in a playful and engaging atmosphere. But how do we accomplish this whilst also following the current Covid-19 guidelines? As a company we agreed that we did not want to change our style of theatre, because we want to ensure we are always doing “exactly what it says on the tin” and not straying on tangents and accidentally becoming something we’re not. Therefore, we agreed we will make immersive multi-sensory theatre work – we will adapt with the circumstances and find a covid-safe way.

Our performance this weekend is titled “I Saw a Bluebird” and is composed using Makaton and song. Throughout the performance there are sections of call and response which will allow us to involve our audience without breaking social distancing measures. We have multi-sensory packs prepared to give audience members so they are able to make and use items and puppets along with us – ensuring they will still get the multi-sensory experience we have promised – without sharing objects or coming into close contact with anyone else. We have visited the site that we will be performing at and have planned to use all the areas surrounding the audience (behind and to the sides as well as infront) to ensure they will get the sense that they are ‘in’ the performance and not just passively observing.

It has not been a straight forward journey but this experience has taught me that this pandemic does not mean that we put life on hold. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore ideas from a new perspective and create in ways we would have never thought of doing before. I am so grateful to get the opportunity to perform on Saturday, the arts is SO essential – now more than ever. So if you’re in Folkestone this weekend make sure you visit Payer’s Park at 12:30pm and we’ll see you there!

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