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The Punchdrunk Encyclopaedia marks 18 years of the company's existence

Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man 2013. Photography by Julian Abrams.

Theatre news

TO MARK eighteen years of the company’s existence, Punchdrunk is releasing The Punchdrunk Encyclopaedia, the definitive book on its work to date.

Written by Jo Machon along with the Punchdrunk team and published by Routledge, it will provide the first full-scale, historical account of one of the world’s foremost theatre companies, drawn from the collective memory and archives of the core creative team past and present.

Compiled in playful encyclopaedic format, readers are invited to make their own journey through the book, and explore the concepts and context that form the foundation of Punchdrunk’s work.

The book features writing from past collaborators and friends such as Adam Curtis, Lyn Gardner and Nicholas Hytner alongside core creatives including Felix Barrett, Stephen Dobbie, Maxine Doyle, Peter Higgin, Beatrice Minns, Colin Nightingale and Livi Vaughan.

A series of exercises also offer guidance on how to delve deeper into the company’s creative approaches.

From first ever production The Tempest to Masque of the Red Death and Sleep No More, The Punchdrunk Encyclopaedia charts the company’s rise and evolution over the past eighteen years. It is suitable for anyone with an interest in the company’s work.

The book will be released on Friday, December 14 but is available to pre-order now at

Founded by Artistic Director Felix Barrett, Punchdrunk is a world-renowned company whose work is recognised internationally as pioneering game-changing ways for audiences to experience culture.

Punchdrunk has eighteen years experience developing its signature form of large-scale, design-led, building-based theatrical experiences, in which audiences roam freely across epic and sensory theatrical worlds. The company’s infectious and individualised format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences, inviting them to rediscover the childlike excitement of exploring the unknown.

Punchdrunk’s site sympathetic productions include: The Firebird Ball; Faust; The Masque Of The Red Death; It Felt Like A Kiss (a collaboration with documentary film-maker Adam Curtis, and musician Damon Albarn for Manchester International Festival); The Duchess Of Malfi (with English National Opera); The Crash Of The Elysium (Manchester International Festival and 2012 Cultural Olympiad); The Borough (with Aldeburgh Music); The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable and Kabeiroi.

The company’s production of Sleep No More in New York recently celebrated its seventh birthday and has been playing to sell out audiences since 2011. Most recently, Punchdrunk International collaborated with Shanghai Media Group to re-imagine Sleep No More in Shanghai where it has become the fastest-selling theatrical production in the city and will shortly celebrate its second birthday.

To find out more about Punchdrunk, visit

Image: Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man 2013. Photography by Julian Abrams.