Gatecrash – An immersive theatre experience using Silent Disco


Gatecrash-Web-Image_6Audiences of young people become gatecrashers as they infiltrate an intimate gathering, using Silent Disco headphones to either listen to the variety of simultaneous conversations happening around the room or just dance to the music. 

In a custom built living room, partygoers have complete freedom of movement to eat, drink, look through the bookshelves, join in the games and make as much noise as they like as they add to the chaos of Sam’s disastrous birthday party.

With his parents on holiday, Sam is having a house party. Nothing big, just a few close friends… until his sister invites the audience. Throwing out the theatre rulebook, audiences can join different parts of the party at the press of a button, choosing whether to listen to Jonno as he tries to chat up everything that moves, Imogen as she gets increasingly drunk, Sam’s sister Jazz as she vies for popularity, or poor Sam himself as he attempts to regain control and find his wayward hamster.

Gatecrash toured widely in 2014, and now returns as part of the Strategic Touring initiative from Arts Council England. At each venue, Zest Theatre will deliver eight performance and fourteen workshops at local schools, using the unique attraction of Gatecrash to engage young audiences with the venues beyond the company’s residency. In the lead up to each residency, Zest’s Artistic Director Toby Ealden will also work with groups of young people in each venue to help organize, produce and promote the performances.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Midlands, Arts Council England, said: “One of the Arts Council’s ambitions is to give children and young people opportunities to be creative. Gatecrash has been designed with teenagers and that’s why we’re investing in Zest Theatre’s plans to take the production on tour. It will be a fantastic opportunity for more young people to get involved with the theatre-making process.”

Writer and director Toby Ealden said: “Using Silent Disco headphones, not only can we make actors’ voices audible over the noise of the party, but it brings the exciting addition of performing dual content simultaneously. This means that whilst the 60 people in each show attended the same party no two people’s experience will be the same.

“Following the success of our national tour, we are delighted to be gatecrashing venues across the country again. Gatecrash puts young audiences in the centre of the action and let’s them control the experience theatre on their terms. It’s fun, energetic and sometimes just very messy. We can’t wait to harness the excitement the show creates to inspire a new generation of young audiences in each venue.”

Lincoln based Zest Theatre, established in 2007 by Toby Ealden, creates theatre for, by and with young people. They aim to make theatre accessible through dynamic productions and participation projects inspired by the needs, lives and imaginations of those aged under 25. Last year around 19,000 young people access their work either as audience members or participants in a range of dynamic productions suitable for theatres, schools, community venues and public spaces all supported by exciting participation projects.

Toby Ealden has been making theatre for young audiences for over ten years including youth theatres, school tours and national touring. His past work includes working as the youth theatre director for Nacro, the national crime reduction charity. During his time there, Nacro toured with young people across the country, including to the National Theatre.

@zesttheatre | #gatecrashplay |

Running Time: 1hr | Suitable for ages: 14+

9 – 12 Feb – Lyric Hammersmith, London