Felix Barrett, Founder & Artistic Director, Punchdrunk
in conversation with Frank Rose, Author, The Art of Immersion
Felix Barrett is the artistic director of Punchdrunk, the British troupe whose innovative productions have reinvented the way we experience theater. As New York audiences for the long-running production of Sleep No More can attest, Punchdrunk doesn’t just breach the “fourth wall” separating actors and spectators, it obliterates the very idea. The show is staged in an apparently abandoned hotel where guests wander at will, swept up—and complicit—in the action around them. Barrett, who won a Critics’ Circle Award for his production of Faust in 2006, has also created It Felt Like a Kiss (with filmmaker Adam Curtis and musician Damon Albarn), The Duchess of Malfi (with the English National Opera), and most recently The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable, which is currently running in London. Believing that his visceral style of theater holds lessons for business as well, Barrett has worked with such brands as Louis Vuitton and PlayStation and designed a celebrated McQ show for London Fashion Week, working with creative director Sarah Burton. Punchdrunk also hosts workshops in “immersive story-making” for commercial creatives.
Frank Rose is the best-selling author of The Art of Immersion, hailed by the International Journal of Advertising as "an essential overview" of the fundamental changes affecting media in the digital age. He is a leading thinker on the impact of technology on entertainment, advertising, and society—a theme he has explored as a speaker at conferences and film festivals worldwide as well as at companies like Google, Lucasfilm, Unilever, and the BBC.
Felix Barrett, founder of Punchdrunk, the theater company behind Sleep No More, explains why today's audiences crave immersive, once in a lifetime experiences and how to bring an analog attitude to the stage.