The folks at Broad Encounters Productions have recently come off a record-breaking six-month Brisbane season of 'A Midnight Visit', and their new creation 'LOVE LUST LOST' is here.
'LOVE LUST LOST' takes multi-sensory adventuring to a new level – the collective take on timeless tales from the likes of Jules Verne, Hans Christian Andersen and Joseph Conrad. A new underworld awaits – with more than 32 designed spaces and a cast of stellar performers including Sandro Collerelli, Lucinda Shaw, Asher Bowen-Saunders and Chris Braithwaite.
Be prepared to be transported and enthralled. 'LOVE LUST LOST' is adults-only and encompasses music, theatre, soundscapes, dance, and more.
“The real story of the ocean depths begins where you left off.
Wonders that defy my powers of description.
Secrets that are mine alone but which I would be prepared to share with you.
Welcome to a world of subterranean delights . . .”
To tell us more about this ambitious production, we sit down with 'LOVE LUST LOST' creator and Company Director Kirsten Siddle.
Image © David Kelly
Tell us about Broad Encounters Productions. What is it all about?
We’re all about creating audacious, unusual and extraordinary theatrical experiences that shatter conventions and transport you to other worlds. We use pretty unconventional forms to do this as well as very unconventional spaces. We work across music, sound design, theatre, dance, circus, scent, puzzles and visual design as well as incorporate physicality and fun into everything. For the most part we don’t use traditional theatres or music halls, but we do take over unique spaces and turn them into 360 degree multi-sensory film sets for immersive performance. We aim to make every aspect of your experience part of our storytelling and we aim to get you moving through the spaces, using your own creativity and curiosity along the way. You previously presented ‘A Midnight Visit’ to wild success. What was it like to present that and have it be received so well?
'A Midnight Visit' has been a rollercoaster ride, it was our first large-scale immersive performance experience, and actually, it was the first one to be created or staged in Australia. It was definitely a dangerous and risky undertaking, but we knew that there were people out there that would embrace it. It’s now been seen by over 67,000 people across Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane – with people coming back again and again (up to 12 times in fact!) to immerse themselves in its gothic wonderland. I am most proud of our Brisbane season which, despite a number of lockdowns, managed to run for six months, keeping the core cast and crew in employment during a pretty precarious time for artists and arts workers. 'A Midnight Visit' became Brisbane’s longest-running staged theatre production and we were thrilled to have this success in our home town. Your next creation as a company is ‘LOVE LUST LOST’. Tell us about it.
It’s hot! Unlike 'A Midnight Visit', we’re creating an epic wonderland and performance that tells a story from beginning to end. It’s without doubt our most ambitious production to date and also our largest, physically. The story takes place in an underwater realm, and it is about what we might sacrifice or do for love and lust. There are over 38 spaces in the experience, but on one journey you will only pass through about 20 odd. It’s physical – there are secret tunnels, slides, bounce houses and mini raves to explore, but there are also spaces of mystery and reflection. The performance features a cast of seven stellar actors working across spoken word, dance, live music and circus and our audience moves through the story with the actors. It’s an unpredictable and thrilling ride.
Image © David Kelly
Where did the inspiration behind the work come from?
We’d always talked about creating a performance experience inspired by Jules Verne’s 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea'. It’s such an epic adventure story that is as engaging today as it was when it was written. I was also fascinated by the ideas and questions posed by H. C. Andersen’s 'The Little Mermaid'. When we were asked to create the work in Brisbane, the location and aesthetic of our original venue partner gave us a natural connection to a watery underworld and the merging and integration of ideas began. The work has been in creative development for over two years, so we’re pretty thrilled to be finally premiering it. As company director, what is your favourite thing about what you do?
I love the whole process from ideation to realisation. Dreaming big and dreaming audaciously is definitely the thrill, but I also like to work very collaboratively and so love seeing what each member of the team brings to the creative table as the show develops. What has been the most challenging aspect of preparing ‘LOVE LUST LOST’?
The most challenging period was definitely the re-writing and re-visioning required when the original riverside location for the production's premiere was no longer going to be possible. We’d expended a great deal of money, time and effort creating a show and a story that would suit that venue's particular spaces. Inititally it felt pretty demoralising to re-vision so much, but that's also the nature and process of creation and it's critical to have the right partners. With a new venue partnership in place, we quickly realised that this opened up so many more creative possibilites and so 'LOVE LUST LOST', as you will soon get to experience it, was born. There’s a team of more than 100 superstars behind this show, so there’s a lot of moving parts, but the team is a true powerhouse and every problem is tackled with creativity, flair and determination.
Image © David Kelly
What do you hope to achieve by presenting this to audiences?
We want to encourage audiences to get creative and curious, to be playful and thoughtful and to dive into the experience with an open mind. We’d like our Brisbane world premiere to be embraced and loved and we’d love to see people return on multiple occasions to enjoy different aspects of the production. Why do you think experiences such as this are important for people to witness?
This is no cookie-cutter theatre. This is a truly thrilling adventure. The actors and audience share the space and the story together. This type of experience engages audiences in surprising and unconventional ways and I think this style of immersive theatre can be a much, much richer experience for many. The style of presentation is also super accessible for those who just don’t want to sit in a theatre seat being a witness to the action – in 'LOVE LUST LOST' they can really be part of it if they want to. Summarise ‘LOVE LUST LOST’ in five words.
World’s first submersive theatre experience. 'Love Lust Lost' plays 95 Robertson Street, Fortitude Valley from 13 July-21 August.