The Crash of the ElysiumBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 7 June 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Immersive theatre producers Punchdrunk are to create a new interactive experience for the Manchester International Festival based upon Doctor Who.

Aimed for children between the ages of six and twelve, The Crash of the Elysium is based around the wreck of the steamship and an exploration inside the remains. There are two tie-in websites that provide more 'background' to the adventure, the Northwest Historical Society's coverage of the crash, and a blog by salvage diver Daryl Christofi and his plans to visit the wreck.

The experience is written by Felix Barrett, creative director for Punchdrunk, and Tom MacRae - who wrote Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel for the 2006 series of Doctor Who - and the story is based on an original idea by series head writer Steven Moffat.

As with a number of associated projects in recent years, there's an introductory video on the site from the Doctor himself (see below for more on this)

Message from the Doctor, BBC/Punchdrunk, via YouTube

The performances will take place at the BBC's new MediaCity UK building at Salford Quays as part of this year's festival, running from 30th June to 17th July.

The production is around an hour in length, and the audience walk throughout the performance. The show is restricted to children in the age range 6-12, with a version just for them and another which is aimed for younger children of 6-8 accompanied by a parent. Full details including booking information can be found on the festival event page.

Punchdrunk are known for their projects to convert old buildings into theatrical experiences, and as their site explains:
We focus as much on the audience and the performance space as on the performers and narrative. Our designers occupy deserted buildings and apply a cinematic level of detail to immerse the audience in the world of the show.

The video above has also appeared on the BBC website itself as part of a 'hidden messages' game played over the first few episodes of the last series.
The hidden messages seen on the BBC website were found by looking for words in italics in the Fourth Dimension section, and revealed the following:

The Impossible Astronaut: All the secrets you seek can be found here on the Webb.
Day of the Moon: We found your message! You're alive! But what secrets do you mean my friend?
The Curse of the Black Spot: I mean I glimpsed him! And may the gods help him or perhaps you can.
The Doctor's Wife: To see what I saw click on the spot beyond the Doctor's home planet.
The Rebel Flesh: Message interrupted.
The messages led to the full stop after "Gallifrey" linking to the video, entitled "Analysis Lessons"; this is turn is an anagram of a possible adversary: Lonely Assassins.

FILTER: - Doctor Who - Special Events - Theatre