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Request: What are 3-4 examples of immersive performance companies?

INSIGHTS

- Cirque du Soleil incorporated other forms of performance art to the circus and is still
having global tours after 40 years.
- Punchdrunk has provided completely immersive theater performances and is still
expanding its vision worldwide.
- Fulldome.pro incorporated virtual reality to its existing projection technology with the
aim of providing immersive performances to people globally.

In this study, we found that three case studies of immersive performance companies are Cirque
du Soleil, Punchdrunk, and Fulldome.pro. Below is a detailed explanation of our findings.

MAIN FINDINGS

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
Cirque du Soleil was known to the public as Les Échassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (The Stiltwalkers
of Baie-Saint-Paul). This company started in the early 1980 in a small town on the north shore of
St. Lawrence River where its eclectic show included jugglers, dancers, fire breathers, and
musicians. In 1984, it brought its road show across the province. Cirque du Soleil then toured in
the U.S. for the first time in 1987. The company toured Europe in 1990. In 1993, its first show
called “Mystere” started in Las Vegas, and is still being performed at present. This has been the
longest running show in Las Vegas. Cirque du Soleil also expanded its mobile troupe in 1993
starting from South America to Asia and the rest of the world. The company distinguished itself
by its unique show on a circus since it was animal-free, arresting, dramatic, stunning, and
reflective. Its performances greatly attracted its audiences with the performers’ outrageous
costumes, magical lighting, and original music.

Guy Laliberté, the main motivation for the troupe’s growth, dubbed the company’s new mobile
troupe in his own words, “The sun symbolizes youth, energy, and strength”. In Cirque du
Soleil’s first tour, the company promoted itself as “We Reinvent the Circus” that made the
people of all ages want to see the new circus. Its detailed set design, stage with seating on all
sides, and active audience participation physically and imaginatively was the sample project that
formed the refined template, which has been the foundation of every new Cirque du Soleil show.
An article published by The New York Times in April 12, 1991 showed how Cirque du Soleil
formed its audiences. The company continued to be a performing troupe worldwide. It has
currently 23 shows: 12 shows on tour, one show in Mexico, and 10 shows in permanent homes in
the U.S. Overall, the company has been successful by creating a new product that incorporates
“the Circus” with other forms of art.

PUNCHDRUNK GLOBAL
Punchdrunk Global LTD is a London-based firm formed in 2014 and founded in 2015. Since
2011, an interactive performance called “Time Out” has been running at the McKittrick Hotel on
West 27th Street in New York City. However, it was recently closed, but was opened in
Shanghai. A particular review of Time Out mentions that the performance’s dark, smooth, and
gorgeous installation is astonishing both in size and detail. Audience members who are silent
have been given scary white masks and sent off into in a six-floor warren of vignettes, while
attractive actor-dancers who are roaming around act out mysterious scenes that were inspired by
Macbeth and Hitchcock. “There are more than 90 different spaces to explore, ranging from a
candy shop to a cemetery.”

Punchdrunk distinguished itself in immersive theater through different avenues. Successful


theater performances have been broadened with a book chapter on “Redefining Visceral
Performance” in 2009 and a book with 130 pictures taken in one of its performances named “The
Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable”. It has also built a name and recently expanded into custom
immersive experience for artists and corporate clients including Rihanna’s kick-off party for her
last tour, TBS launch of Season Two of Search Party, and a virtual reality experience for 2016
Cannes Festival. Overall, the company has become successful in a short period of time through
creating “theatre”, and breaking down the fourth wall to enable its audience members to touch,
feel, and smell its performances.

FULLDOME.PRO
Fulldome.pro is a relatively new company that utilizes virtual Reality, 360-degree projections,
and dome facilities to provide immersive performances. One of the company’s signature
installations is Wisdome LA (an immersive experience park in Los Angeles, with five domes,
that provides virtual reality and 360-degree audio and visual performances). It has regular and
special musical performances that are scheduled until the end of 2019. Fulldome.pro
distinguishes itself by the dome-shaped installations it uses that get the people’s attention, and is
still expanding its market by: 1) going where there are large groups of influencers (installation at
Coachella), and 2) involving itself into accepted art displays (middle of the art museum in Los
Angeles).

The company is expanding its scope in different homes and corporate events with the help of its
14 different sized domes that can hold one person to 1,200 people from any place. It has also
provided domes for cocktail parties to Comic Con. Furthermore, Fulldome.pro is expanding
worldwide with current events in different countries like Thailand, China, Australia, Russia, and
Africa. Overall, the company has been successful by adapting to a new technology, virtual
reality, and incorporating it to improve the entertainment experiences of the people.