Making Mistakes in Immersive Theatre: Spectatorship and Errant Immersion

Alston, Adam. 2016. Making Mistakes in Immersive Theatre: Spectatorship and Errant Immersion. Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 4(1), pp. 61-73. [Article]

[img] Text
IR. Making mistakes in immersive theatre.docx - Accepted Version
Permissions: Administrator Access Only

Download (52kB)
[Journal of Contemporary Drama in English] Making Mistakes in Immersive Theatre_ Spectatorship and Errant Immersion.pdf - Published Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Immersive theatre makers often go to great lengths to configure and control each aspect and detail of an immersive theatre environment; but what happens when an audience member breaches its borders, while remaining unaware of their transgression? This article explores how the coherence of an immersive theatre aesthetic is not necessarily threatened by acts of ‘errant immersion’, in which the audience strays off an immersive map designed and intended for them. The errantly immersed spectator accepts but accidentally takes too far an invitation to explore, perceiving and folding a range of aesthetic stimuli that are unintended by a designer into their immersive experience of a theatre event. Drawing on studies of immersion, failure and urban dramaturgy in recent theatre and performance discourse, and reflecting on anecdotal experiences of errant immersion in work by dreamthinkspeak and Coney, the article reflects on the creative and constitutive role played by audiences in immersive theatre aesthetics, and assesses the currency of the immersive theatre neologism through an address of its core subject: the audience.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

This is the published version of a paper published by De Gruyter in the Journal of Contemporary Drama in English. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.


Immersive theatre; errant immersion; audience participation; failure; MISperformance; urban dramaturgy; dreamthinkspeak; Coney

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


12 May 2016Published Online
May 2016Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Jan 2020 15:30

Last Modified:

23 Jan 2020 15:30

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)