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Audiences start on a ghost tour and end up playing ghost hunters (in person) or play the role of the recently deceased (online). 60 minutes of fun, puzzle and murder-mystery solving, where audiences work out ‘who done it?’
Meta vs Life
26 January – 17 February 2024
Award-winning professional theatre company Hijinx, known for its exhilarating, subversive theatre in which artists with learning disabilities and/or autism are involved in every step of the creative process and performance, has created its most innovative production yet for the start of 2024!
Hijinx’s Meta vs Life is a fascinatingly unique, hybrid live theatre – online gaming experience that will unite far flung friends and colleagues to join in person and online – simultaneously. Together, audiences will embark on a spooky exploration of the afterlife via an eerie and innovative mix of traditional storytelling, live performance and interactive problem solving that’s part murder mystery, part escape room and part online gaming.
Meeting at the front of Morgan’s Arcade in the centre of Cardiff, the in-real-life audiences meet with Tom Leer, founder of Cardiff’s Ghost Hunters and committee member. Tom shares a little history about the area and takes the audience on a ghost tour which may go awry!
The in-person audience will play alongside actors as the ‘ghost hunters’, interacting with the ‘recently deceased’, played by their friends online. Only by finding ways to work together will players solve the mystery of how the dead met their grizzly end. Ideal for pairs of friends (or bigger groups) to maximise the fun of the event as it unfolds as well as the chance to swap notes on mysterious details afterwards.
Hijinx’s Artistic Director and Co-Director of Meta vs Life, Ben Pettitt-Wade said:
“What I find really exciting about Meta vs Life is the potential to bring people together that may not see each other often, through offering an experience that will take place in person and online simultaneously. So, if you live in Cardiff, but have friends, family members or even work colleagues that live in other parts of the country or overseas, we offer the chance for you to connect in a fun and interactive experience. We encourage you to book in pairs, or as groups, both in person and online. There will be moments during the performance when your stories will connect, and moments when you will be on a different path, so part of the fun will certainly be being able to compare notes afterwards.”
London based theatre practitioner and fellow Co-Director of Meta vs Life, Matthew Blake added:
“I’m absolutely stoked to be teaming up with Hijinx once more, this time diving into the wild world of ‘Meta vs Life.’ Co-directing a project that looks to combine real-life interactive performance and online gaming, wrapped up in a spooky narrative, feels like the perfect antithesis to the cold winter nights. I can’t wait to be part of such an innovative experience that pushes the boundaries of traditional storytelling with an equally boundary-pushing theatre company.”
The heart of Hijinx’s work is always its learning disabled and/or autistic artists, who constantly challenge perceptions of what theatre and film can be and how they should be made. This production is no exception with the initial concept of using a séance and themes of the supernatural coming from Hijinx actor, Lindsay Spellman during a research session for Metamorphosis. Lindsay added:
“Hijinx is the most entertaining but hard working theatre company I am lucky enough to be a part of. This is the seventh show we have made together, and definitely the most ambitious. Meta vs Life is all about the unknown, the afterlife and what that might be like. The show will be both fun and scary…..but not too terrifying. I like to think that if you come to see this you will leave spooked, dumbfounded, entertained and want to tell all your friends about it.”
The online ‘dead’ join the event from their homes or workstations, in a 90’s inspired game console afterlife, forever stuck in a pixilated 2D limbo. Online participants will be sent a link to access the afterlife portal, which is called Gather.town, with full instructions of how to play.
Hijinx has partnered with American online escape room specialists, Raid the Room, to help deliver a seamless interactive event.
Raid the Room’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Wong said:
“We are thrilled to be working with Hijinx on their innovative project using our Gather Town API expertise to help bring their vision to life. As an official Gather Ambassador, we see many experiences on the platform, but we are always happy to see teams push the platform to its limits with such ambitious and creative projects. Hijinx’s online and in-person hybrid experience is truly unique, and we are sure participants will find it to be an amazingly fun!”
Further information about the in person and online experience can be found at https://www.hijinx.org.uk/meta-vs-life/ including how to guides and FAQs about what to expect with the unexpected.