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Gatecrash - artsdepot and on tour

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

GATECRASH, part of an immersive theatre experience that uses silent disco technology to put young audiences at the heart of the action, will visit London’s artsdepot (November 7, 2014) as part of a National tour.

With his parents on holiday, Sam is having a house party. Nothing big, just a few close friends… and a whole audience of gatecrashers.

Throwing out the theatre rulebook, in this immersive production from Zest Theatre, partygoers have complete freedom of movement to eat, drink, look through the bookshelves, join in the games and make as much noise as they like as they infiltrate Sam’s gathering.

Audiences choose which conversations to tune in to through silent disco headphones as a party gone wrong unravels simultaneously around them.

Reflecting a world where technology gives instant control over what we see, hear and do, audiences can join different parts of the party at the press of a button, moving between stories of sibling rivalry, identity, relationships and of course, a bit of mischief.

Writer and director Toby Ealden said: “Using Silent Disco headphones, not only can we make actors’ voices audible over the noise of the party, but it brings the exciting addition of performing dual content simultaneously. This means that whilst the 60 people in each show attended the same party no two people’s experience will be the same.

Gatecrash was originally commissioned by Lincolnshire One Venues as an innovative way of attracting new teenage audiences into their venues – particularly those that had never stepped into a theatre before. We consulted a range of young people about their experiences of attending theatre and set out to create a show that broke the theatrical rules about how we should have to behave in a theatre space. Thus the idea to recreate a teenage house party was born.”

Lincoln based Zest Theatre, established in 2007 by Toby Ealden, creates theatre for, by and with young people. They aim to make theatre accessible through dynamic productions and participation projects inspired by the needs, lives and imaginations of those aged under 25.

Each year around 16,000 young people access their work either as audience members or participants in a range of dynamic productions suitable for theatres, schools, community venues and public spaces all supported by exciting participation projects.

Their next production will use the same silent disco technology to create an interactive experience around outdoor market places and town centres in rural Lincolnshire.

Toby Ealden has been making theatre for young audiences for over ten years including youth theatres, school tours and national touring. His past work includes working as the youth theatre director for Nacro, the national crime reduction charity. During his time there, Nacro toured with young people across the country, including to the National Theatre.

Gatecrash will be performed by Fola Akingbola, Amy Forde, Melissa Grace, Alex Harvey Sporle and Luke Veron.

The production has set and lighting design by Heylo Productions and sound design by Ari Levey. Assistant director is Dawn Richmond-Gordon.

Gatecrash is suitable for ages 14+.

Tickets (artsdepot): £8 – available from the box office on 020 8369 5454 or online at

Times: 6pm and 9pm.

Running Time: 1 hour.

Prior to the artsdepot, Gatecrash will tour to Lincoln Drill Hall (September 25 and 26), Waterside Arts Centre, Sale (October 3), Mitchell Arts Centre, Stoke (October 4), The Egg: Without Walls, Victoria Hall, Radstock (October 7 and 8), Farnham Maltings, Surrey (October 9), Riverhead Theatre, Louth (October 11), Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton (October 15), The Castle, Wellingborough (October 16), Cast, Doncaster (October 17), TakeOff Festival: Town Hall Theatre, Hartlepool (October 20), TakeOff Festival: Middlesborough Town Hall (October 22), TakeOff Festival: Durham Johnston School (October 23 and 24), Juice Festival: Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne (October 25), The Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe (October 27 and 28), The Garage, Norwich (October 30 and 31), Burnley Arts Centre (November 4) and Create Theatre Mansfield, Nottingham (November 6).