17th Mar 2013 9:53am | By Alasdair Morton
Have you ever sat in the theatre watching a play and known exactly how the story was going to end?
Either because you know the plot already, having read the novel it’s based on or seen the movie, or you can just tell.
That’s not going to be an issue at the immersive theatre-going experience Wilfred Bagshaw’s Time Emporium, a time-travelling adventure in which you have an active influence on the outcome of the story.
“The audience can expect to be transported to another age and to immerse themselves in a story that has a narrative they directly control,” says Wilfred Bagshaw founder Josh Ford, explaining how his about-to-launch project takes the audience back through time to key moments in history where they have a specific objective to carry out and an artefact to retrieve.
“They are sent back in time with a defined goal: a narrative objective which as an audience they must succeed in achieving,” he continues.
“There are multiple factions and routes available to them, just like in a role-playing game, so the way in which they achieve it is up to them.”
The story of this first installment sees the audience begin their journey through the shabby front of Victorian gentleman Wilfred Bagshaw’s shop, from where they will journey to Market Day in the year 1358.
“While the 100 Years War rages, our audience is plunged into a small Essex town, full of revolting peasants and bickering nobles, all of whom are under assault from the last grasp of the Great Plague,” Ford tells us.
Sounds fun, and not just to us – before the curtain has even gone up for the first time, the director has had to add a Saturday matinee performance to his opening weekend line-up, such has been the scale of the public’s response.
“Each expedition explores one time period in all its multifaceted glory,” Ford continues of his grand plans for the Time Emporium’s potential era-hopping destinations.
“In the future we shall go anywhere from the last days of the Roman Republic to the American Civil War,” he tantalises, clearly enjoying his new project and the possibilities he now has at his fingertips.
As much as the ‘make your own adventure’ elements of the story make this a different theatre experience to those you usually find in the West End, it’s not just all about the time-travelling exploits: “The audience will also get an awesome, Dark Ages-themed party afterwards, too,” Ford promises.
The time-travelling show is but the opener to an evening where theatre is mashed together with clubbing, and superstar DJs such as Stereo MCs and Norman Jay will be headlining on the Friday and Saturday nights.
Meanwhile, over the next few months, London theatre has a wealth of top new productions to take your fancy, from intimate shows, Broadway exports such as Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s The Book Of Mormon, to major star-studded seasons that see Jude Law, Judi Dench and David Walliams treading the capital’s boards.
So check out our rundown of the shows not to miss this year.
Wilfred Bagshaw’s Time Emporium.
March 22 & 23. £25
Village Underground, EC2A 3PQ
Tube | Old Street
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