Edited by Celia Pearce & Nick Fortugno
The rising popularity of immersive theatre works such as Third Rail’s Then She Fell and Punch Drunk’s Sleep No More, has given rise to new hybrid forms of live entertainment that combine aspects of games and theatre. These “playable theatre” works draw extensively from digital games, Big Games, tabletop and live action roleplaying (LARPs) combined with theatrical conventions and methods to create fully immersive, participatory live theatrical events in which the audience plays a substantive role in the experience. We use the term “playable theatre” to distinguish works that engage meaningful audience agency from more passive forms of “promenade” theatre where the audience’s role is strictly navigational. Works of this type include a wide range of genres, scales and contexts, from highly theatrical “Nordic larping” traditions, to theme park experiences, to “puzzle plays” that integrate aspects of escape rooms and performance, to site-specific and pervasive/progressive live events. They can also draw from a variety of theatrical methods such as improv, process drama, and devised theatre. The rise of these works has been accompanied by a rediscovery of Pine & Gilmour’s concept of the “Experience Economy,” spurred by scientific research that people who spend money on experiences are happier than those who spend it on goods. The aim of this special issue is to explore critical and practical aspects of this emerging form and develop a shared vocabulary across disciplines to advance both scholarship and innovation in this emerging art form.
For this special issue we invite experiential play-throughs, theoretical papers, critical analyses, and post-mortems by practitioners, across domains from around the world, that explore the many facets of live, interactive experiences. As an interdisciplinary issue, we welcome researchers and creators from theatre, digital and analog game studies, performance studies and related disciplines.
ETC Press is accepting submissions for this special issue of the Well Played journal.
All submissions are 31 May 2020
All submissions and questions should be sent to:
well-played (at) lists (dot) andrew (dot) cmu (dot) edu