Producers of immersive production Variant 31 have revealed they were forced to evict two audience members who were “physically aggressive” and intimidating towards members of staff.
The incident, which occurred on October 3, raises fresh questions about people working on immersive theatre productions, following increased scrutiny over the conditions in which actors are required to work.
The Variant 31 Twitter account stated that the incident had involved “several audience members”, two of whom were removed for “attacking and intimidating” staff.
Executive producer Dalton Dale told The Stage that the audience members were removed for failing to follow the rules and verbal instructions given to them, before becoming “physically aggressive”.
“We operate a strict no-tolerance policy for this type of disruptive behaviour. As the experience is intense and intimate, any time someone is seen not to be following the rules, we absolutely reserve the right to remove them,” he said.
He added: “The safety of my staff and cast is of paramount importance. At no point will an audience member that is being verbally or physically abusive be allowed entry.”
Dale said the company’s safety measures “worked tremendously well” and that the audience members concerned were removed before being allowed into the experience.
He added: “Immersive theatre must be a safe space where we can blur and often remove that line between audience and performer – the key to which is of course knowing that there is a mutual respect for the established rules and protocols.”
Audiences at Variant 31 are required to sign a waiver that includes a code of conduct and outlines its rules.
Last year, producers of The Great Gatsby were forced to ramp up safeguarding measures after two incidents of sexual assault at its London production.
The genre has since come under increased scrutiny from union Equity, which said it had concerns that performers were being exposed to abuse.