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The Burnt City: A Must See Immersive Theatre Production

Are you in need of an amazing date idea? Do you want to come across like you’re this incredibly cultured mega catch? Well, look no further because we’re about to tell you all about Punchdrunk’s ‘The Burnt City’.

The Burnt City - Punchdrunk
The Burnt City – Punchdrunk

What is Punchdrunk?

Punchdrunk is a British immersive theatre company known for their unique and engaging productions that place audiences directly in the middle of the action. One of Punchdrunk’s most well-known productions is “Sleep No More,” which premiered in London in 2003 and has since been staged in New York, Shanghai, and other cities around the world. Inspired by Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,”.

The company was founded in 2000 by Felix Barrett, and has since gone on to create some of the most talked-about immersive theatre experiences in the world and their latest production, “The Burnt City”, is no exception.

What to expect at a Punchdrunk Performance

Punchdrunk’s productions tend to take place in large, abandoned buildings or other unconventional spaces, which are transformed into elaborate, multi-room sets designed to create a fully immersive environment for the audience. Rather than sitting in a traditional theatre setting and watching actors perform on stage, you are encouraged to wander through the sets and building that it’s taking place in and interact with the performers, who are often wearing intricate costumes and using physical theatre techniques to create a sense of surrealism and otherworldliness. So basically, you’re all up in their business. But, don’t fret, audience members are given a theatrical mask to wear (pretttty creepy, but all part of the experience), this is to give you anonymity during the performance and so you feel empowered to explore. Plus it means you’re not mistaken for a perform (lol, imagine).

The Burnt City - Punchdrunk
The Burnt City – Punchdrunk

On arrival, you’re able to check bags and coats in, which we do suggest you do so you can be free to really immersive yourself in to the show and not have to worry about carrying something.

You will be required to pop your phone in to a zipped and locked bag that they provide. You can easily carry this around with you, but you’re not able to get to your phone without a member of staff. This is to prevent you from taking photos and being distracted. This also made us feel like we could truly switch off from the outside world.

The Burn City

We don’t want to give too much away, but we’ll let you know just enough below.

Firstly, we want to start by saying, the experience is nothing like any other theatre production we’ve experienced, it is truly unique. Words that come to mind include spell binding, fascinating, sexy, dark, trippy, smokey, and a little creepy (in a good way).

The Burnt City
The Burnt City – Punchdrunk

The Burnt City starts with you entering a dark, smokey, burlesques style bar. Here you’re able to grab a drink, and get in to the vibe. You are given a playing card with a number on it. An actor will call your card number, and from this point you’ll leave your drink behind, head in to a room to collect your theatrical mask, then you’ll enter the show.

This production takes place in an absolutely huge warehouse in woolwich, South London. On entering, you feel quite scared, as it’s dark and smokey, and you’re not sure what performer you might stumble upon first. The set is extremely detailed, with small doors you can go through, streets, multi story houses and more.

Something that we really enjoyed doing was just wondering around, looking in draws, opening new doors to wonder through and following the performers. One thing we suggest you do is to wonder around on your own. Don’t be scared to lose the person you went with, that’s all part of the thrill.

The show itself is fascinating. We were in ore of the actors and dancers, and you’ll find yourself just feet away from them as they carry out their routines.

You’ll likely wonder around this huge production for approximately an hour, to an hour and a half, before you make your way back to the bar you originally came from – if you can find your way back that is (we got lost, a lot). This rounds it off nicely and at this point you’re able to get another drink and watch performances that are carried out on the stage. Here you can also take your mask off too and chat about all the stuff you saw.

Where is The Burnt City performance location?

One Cartiride Place, Woolwich, London SE18 6ZR

Where can I get The Burnt City Tickets?

The show is running in London until the 24th September 2023. We highly recommend you get tickets – so don’t miss out.

The Burnt City tickets here

If you go check the show out, we’d love to hear your thoughts so drop a comment below.


Team Nonchalant x

Nonchalant Magazine
Nonchalant Magazine

This article was written by one of our creative team writers here at Nonchalant Magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Angie Slattery
    22nd March 2023 / 8:09 am

    That sounds really different from other theatre experiences.. I might give it a try..

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