The Guild of Misrule and Immersive Everywhere’s critically acclaimed The Great Gatsby, which had previously set a record as the UK’s longest-running immersive production, is planning to re-open at Immersive | Ldn in Mayfair on 1 October 2020.
As with all UK theatres and productions, the show was forced to close down in March, due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent UK shutdown. Olivier Award-winning producers Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook have re-imagined and re-set the production, created and directed by Alexander Wright, as an Art Deco Masquerade Ball, with audience members wearing compulsory face coverings to complement their fabulous attire.
The capacity of the venue will be significantly reduced to help patrons – coming as individuals or in household groups – to keep a safe distance from others; and the nature of the show means that audience members can choose where they stand and move throughout the performance, naturally enabling social distancing. The show content is being altered and updated to avoid any activity that would be considered high risk, and the actors will be further trained to keep groups of audience members following the story, whilst remaining at a safe distance.
Amongst other measures to ensure full compliance with government Covid-Secure guidelines, temperature checks will be undertaken for audience and staff on arrival. The venue will be deep cleaned before and after every performance, bar equipment sterilised, and hand sanitisers will be available throughout the venue.
The producers are confident that smaller-scale immersive productions are inherently suited to social distancing measures and will be able to open safely in that time frame, complying with the expected government guidelines on mass gatherings, social distancing and good hygiene practices. The hope is that the immersive nature of The Great Gatsby might enable it to be the first long-running show to responsibly reopen in 2020.
The producers are also planning for the eventuality that the show can’t proceed, or individual patrons can’t attend and are offering a no-questions-asked exchange policy.
These Covid-Secure policies will be under continuous review and are by no means exhaustive – any additional measures recommended will be adopted as appropriate.
Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook said today:
“We want to offer something for people to look forward to following this extended lockdown. Our show has several inherent features that make it safer than a trip to the supermarket, so we’re embracing that and innovating. Hopefully, we can provide a blueprint for other productions to open safely and be part of the process of restoring employment and the economy of the creative industries.
“Naturally, public health is the highest priority of all, and this will be the driving force behind all of our decisions. We’re implementing a no-questions-asked exchange policy so that if circumstances change, whether in general or for any individual, our patrons will be fully protected. We would like to thank our landlord, Grosvenor Estates, and our producing partners and investors for their creativity, camaraderie and continued support.”
About the show
First conceived in 2015 when director Alexander Wright and producer Brian Hook were running The Fleeting Arm, a pop-up arts and community pub in an abandoned building in York. The show then ran in York in 2016 with a parallel production in Sheffield, and was produced by the Guild of Misrule. The Great Gatsby first came to London as part of VAULT Festival in 2017 and sold out before the show opened.
Since then the show has run in Wales in co-production with Theatr Clwyd, at Halifax’s Square Chapel, and at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire. All the while the show has played night after night at Gatsby’s Drugstore in London SE1, inviting audiences into the hedonistic world of F Scott Fitzgerald’s tale, and in 2018 it became the UK’s longest-running immersive production.
Amie Burns Walker and Oliver Tilney are Associate Directors. Choreography is by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, design by Casey Jay Andrews, costume design by Heledd Rees, sound design by Phil Grainger and lighting design by Rachel Sampley. The original score was composed and produced by Glen Brown and Tendai Humphrey Sitima, with arrangement and additional composition by David Sims. The original production was created by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Amie Burns Walker, Hannah Davies, Phil Grainger, Michael Lambourne, Thomas Maller and Oliver Tilney.
Jay Gatsby invites you to one of his infamous large parties. The champagne flows, and as the drama unfolds, the man himself will be the perfect host. A hedonistic world of red hot rhythms, bootleg liquor and pure jazz age self-indulgence.
Olivier Award-winning producers Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook, who are also co-producing the immersive production of Doctor Who Time Fracture, launched a new company in 2019, Immersive Everywhere, entirely dedicated to developing and staging theatre-led immersive experiences. Immersive | Ldn is the newest of their network of venues, which will house cafes, bars and rehearsal and workshop spaces to help the development of new work.
Immersive | Ldn is a 32,000sq ft historic building in the heart of Mayfair, which was home to the Queen Victoria’s Rifles Association until 2017. It includes three floors of immersive theatre and event spaces designated for performance, live gaming, events, escape rooms and private parties.
This new production of The Guild of Misrule’s The Great Gatsby is produced by Immersive Everywhere with co-producer Gavin Kalin Productions, and with Glynis Henderson Productions, Theatr Clwyd, We Culture Connects and Damier NV as Associate Producers.
Producers acknowledge this is a ‘trial’. With contingency planning – inc no-questions-asked exchanges – in eventuality that show can’t proceed. pic.twitter.com/Bw30KsfbLU
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) June 3, 2020