One of the most celebrated troupes in theatre are returning to London: Punchdrunk’s new show The Burnt City is launching at their new headquarters at Woolwich Works. If you’re unfamiliar with their work, Punchdrunk creates theatre in the ‘promenade performance’ style, with a strong focus on immersion. Their shows are less like something you’d normally see on stage, and more like an artistic fever dream. You’ll become fully immersed in the world of the performance, with the actors occasionally interacting directly with you.
Founded in 2000, the company has created productions based off plays such as The Duchess of Malfi and Macbeth, as well as their own original creations and looser adaptations. In most of their productions, the style is such that the audience has the freedom to walk around the performance space, often with masks on, to explore the various stories being acted out.
In 2020, Sky aired The Third Day, created by Punchdrunk and starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris. However, aside from the Kabeiroi production in 2017, which was very limited in terms of availability, and restricted to only two people per performance, there hasn’t been a large scale Punchdrunk production in London for around 8 years.
Whilst not much is known about this latest upcoming production, it is stated that it will allow audiences to immerse themselves in the ancient Greek story of the fall of Troy in the usual Punchdrunk style. However, the performance will combine both ancient Greek mythology and futuristic elements to create a “future parallel world” version of Greece. The set will feel like a living city, with cafes and apartments on multiple floors across the warehouse buildings. It is no surprise then, that it’s being called Punchdrunk’s most expensive project yet.
The performance will combine both ancient Greek mythology and futuristic elements to create a "future parallel world"...
The set will feel like a living city, with cafes and apartments on multiple floors across the warehouse buildings...
The website for the show states that it will run for up to 3 hours. Comfortable clothes are recommended by the website, and a mask (for the performance, not covid) is provided. In addition to the immersive experience, there is also a bar that remains open throughout the entire day of performances offering a number of beverages and bar snacks.
Tickets are now available to book for the show, with previews starting on 22nd March, and the current booking period currently lasts until 28th August. The fall of Troy and the famous Trojan horse is well explored one, but if anyone can put a new spin on it, it’s Punchdrunk.