© 2016

Beyond Immersive Theatre

Aesthetics, Politics and Productive Participation


  • Explores the tacit politics to immersive theatre aesthetics


About this book


Immersive theatre currently enjoys ubiquity, popularity and recognition in theatre journalism and scholarship. However, the politics of immersive theatre aesthetics still lacks a substantial critique. Does immersive theatre model a particular kind of politics, or a particular kind of audience? What’s involved in the production and consumption of immersive theatre aesthetics? Is a productive audience always an empowered audience? And do the terms of an audience’s empowerment stand up to political scrutiny?  

Beyond Immersive Theatre contextualises these questions by tracing the evolution of neoliberal politics and the experience economy over the past four decades. Through detailed critical analyses of work by Ray Lee, Lundahl & Seitl, Punchdrunk, shunt, Theatre Delicatessen and Half Cut, Adam Alston argues that there is a tacit politics to immersive theatre aesthetics – a tacit politics that is illuminated by neoliberalism, and that is ripe to be challenged by the evolution and diversification of immersive theatre.


audience participation experimentation immersion narcissistic participation performance Punchdrunk productivism Theatre Delicatessen shunt neoliberalism Half Cut

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of SurreyGuildfordUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Adam Alston is Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Surrey, UK. His research explores immersive theatre, theatre in the dark, and a range of themes in contemporary theatre including secrecy, labour and error. He is a contributing editor to Contemporary Theatre Review’s Interventions and a Creative Associate with Curious Directive. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Beyond Immersive Theatre
  • Book Subtitle Aesthetics, Politics and Productive Participation
  • Authors Adam Alston
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-48043-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-69394-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-48044-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 241
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 7 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Performing Arts
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Beyond Immersive Theatre asks important questions and offers apposite interpretations according to the parameters for analysis it sets. These undoubtedly inform and challenge the reader. … I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone interested in engaging in discussion around, and beyond, the aesthetics and politics of immersive theatre.” (Josephine Machon, Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, Vol. 6 (2), November, 2018)