Race Against Time – interactive theatre in Liverpool

Race Against Time was a tension-filled immersive theatre experience that took its participants across the city and featured live theatre, film, animation and building projections.


Hope Street Limited run an annual emerging artists programme that gives young artists the chance to work with established organisations and other creative types. After working with their talented members on the Sense & Sensibility at the Bluecoat Gallery, our next collaboration was about as ambitious as immersive theatre gets; we wanted to turn the entire city into a physical gaming environment.

The aim was to create a film noir world that participants could experience first hand. Liverpool was the ideal backdrop with a plethora of century-old buildings that fitted the depression-era storyline. In fact, it was the locations that led the story as we explored the city with director Adam McGuigan and the Hope Street students. From Everton Brow to the Cunard Building, the whole city was to become the background to what was effectively a video game on the city streets. Interactive theatre in Liverpool gets no bigger than this!


Our role was to provide support to young visual artists as they created branding, animation, projections and the film that provided the focus of the entire event. This was filmed across the city and it included drone-mounted camera shots and post-production sessions in Draw & Code’s studio. You can view the movie in all its black and white noir glory below.

The experience began with the premier of the Race Against Time movie, complete with a red carpet entrance for the Hollywood starlets and big time producers. The audience were thrust into the action as the screening was interrupted by the mob who kidnapped the stars of the movie and it was up to those brave enough to find clues hidden across the city.

It all culminated in a finale at St George’s Church on Everton Brow. This is the highest building in Liverpool with views that stretch for many miles around. Inside the building there were animated projections that lead to the final showdown up on the roof. However spectacular this may have been, our favourite part of the evening had to be invading the Cunard Building to infiltrate the mob’s hideout. The only way to get close to the big boss was to play the role of a cleaner and to get to work cleaning his office!

“We couldn’t have found a better partner to realise the vision and ambition we and director Adam McGuigan had for Race Against Time. It was a complicated and challenging project but the whole team at Draw & Code threw themselves into it, being creative, accommodating and brilliant at problem solving! In a very short amount of time they managed to deliver a beautiful film and several animations they projected during a live performance that took place across the city of Liverpool. The final show was a success, highly praised by audiences and participants. We are looking forward to future collaborations!”
– John Leyland & Montserrat Gili, Creative Producers, Hope Street Limited


The entire experience was a big hit with the audience who were left breathless after the city-wide hunt. The main purpose was to mentor the young artists, sharing industry tips and tricks with them. The experienced individuals at Draw & Code were deeply impressed with the talent at Hope Street Limited; the future is in good hands! It was also valuable to ourselves with a truly unique opportunity to be part of a city-wide event and to play with interesting technology including drones.