Escape from Fort Lagoon R&D
Escape from Fort Lagoon is an immersive theatre game. Submersion Productions and Wake The Beast did some Research & Development with us, aiming to bring the production to Fenland and Forest Heath.
Mildenhall, Chatteris, Brandon, March & Whittlesey
Escape from Fort Lagoon is an immersive theatre game created by Wake the Beast (Adam McGuigan) and Submersion Productions (Jude Jagger). They have been working with MarketPlace and the Creative Collective group over Zoom to test out ideas and concepts as a research and development (R&D) project since the beginning of 2021, and finally got to meet in person this June.
As part of the devising process Adam and Jude invited participants to do location scouting in their home towns and further afield – with a body of water to swim in being the main practical consideration for this piece. Escape from Fort Lagoon is set in the future where water is a precious commodity and is controlled by an oppressive government who restrict access to the water to the elite (which has horribly come true during this pandemic).
The participants came up with different locations and devised their own maps, highlighting interesting features of their area. Feeding into many of the creative elements that will end up in the final show, including news reports, how the set will be interacted with and the environmental issues that are highlighted within the theatre piece. Other creatives involved in the project are; digital artist Jack Hardiker, who has designed an app to be used as part of the experience, theatre designer Abby Clarke who has created weird and wonderful costumes for the futuristic characters, composer Beth Allen who has created a new choral piece for Fort Lagoon and production manager Hayley Goldman, who brings experience of working on water shows in China.
During the few days spent in Real Life in Fenland and Forest Heath, the team got to test out the mobile phone app that will act as a device for audience members to navigate the game. They also went for a spot of wild swimming, met the Marketplace participants, were treated to tours of their towns and tested the new choral parts with the Cant Sing Choir in March. Having that time to test out elements of the show was extremely valuable and having the time to explore the spaces meant that the piece can be influenced by the landscape and the people in those areas.
The team got a lot of inspiration from the décor at Johnsons of Old Hurst Tropical House near Chatteris, marred only slightly by Jude dropping her phone into the crocodile enclosure. Residents of Mildenhall were calling out supportive comments as the gang tested swimming in their local river and Brandon’s market place was buzzing with activity. Many people chatting in the square wanted to know more about the project and how they could get involved.
The plan is to secure funding to present the piece in summer 2022 in the area so fingers crossed and watch this space!
Take a look at the Flickr gallery of the location visits here.
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