"Race Against Time – interactive theatre in Liverpool"
The chase is on across Liverpool in Race Against Time – a dramatic immersive theatre experience. Draw & Code’s own artists were invited to mentor the emerging artists at Hope Street Limited, resulting in a collaboration that featured film, animation, projection mapping, immersive theatre and a lot of running!
Hope Street Limited’s Emerging Artists programme puts young talent in control. This scheme is usually aimed at those looking to get into performing arts, but this year it was expanded to include a strong visual arts element, which is right up our street. As one of the lead artists, Draw & Code were acting as mentors to Jordan and Spider who are already doing remarkable things in the world of animation and filmmaking respectively.
The young artists are taken on for the summer where they can work on multiple productions. In fact, this wasn’t the first time that we had worked with Hope Street Limited after mentoring during the production of Coco Loco’s experimental theatre experience Sense and Sustainability. After premiering earlier in the year at The Bluecoat, we looked for other ways to work together and it wasn’t long before thoughts turned to an even more ambitious production. This time Draw & Code would be amongst the lead artists who would be involved at every stage of the creative process – so we were in deep!
Race Against Time – a noir in modern Liverpool
Race Against Time was born from conversations with Hope Street Limited and Adam McGuigan who was the director of the whole affair. We were inspired by the Hidden Liverpool project that sought to expose some of the less well-traversed parts of our city. We envisioned mysteries that lead you from one great place to another and a film noir setting started to appeal as we scouted the locations.
The route was to include feature locations such as Liverpool Medical Institute, the Cunard Building and St George’s Church on Everton Brow while The Bluecoat, Abercromby Square, Jenny’s Bar, Exchange Flags and many more stunning settings were also due to be utilised by the roaming performance.
Creating a genuinely immersive experience
It all began with a film premiere that saw the audience invited to see a movie with the ‘actors’ arriving on the red carpet. At the end of the movie the cast were kidnapped and it was up to the audience to help find them. The ensuing chase involved following clues and avoiding the ‘Greys’ who were attempting to kidnap audience members too.
Two of our favourite ‘scenes’ were in the Cunard Building and the finale at St George’s Church. The Cunard Building featured the mobster’s office where audience members had to steal a dossier full of vital information while pretending to be cleaners.
Then the whole interactive play came to a head at the highest point in Liverpool – St George’s Church in Everton. Select participants were invited up the spire, passing real creepy crawlies and cobwebs in the claustrophobic confines of the spiral staircase that leads to the most spectacular vista that the city offers. Meanwhile in the church itself there was a final act that involved projection mapping, which tapped into our expertise.
Interactive theatre in Liverpool
While this was all about expanding the repertoire of the emerging artists, it was still a genuine challenge to Draw & Code’s own team. For example, we got to work with drones for the first time as we used them to capture vital shots for the movie section of Race Against Time. Not only was it a creative challenge, but the logistics of creating an immersive experience spread over such a variety of locations proved to be a testing experience in itself.
Although we worked closely with the director Adam and all the Hope Street artists, once again it was Jordan and Spider who we mentored. For Race Against Time their visuals did more than create an ambience; they were vital components to the whole mystery. We have been deeply impressed by their work.
Check out our promo video at the top of the page to get a flavour of the epic evening of entertainment and adventure, but also have a look at the ‘movie’ that was shown to the audience.