Immersive. Site-specific. Horror Theatre.
In 2018, I was awarded a research grant from Northwestern University to investigate horror theatre and its relevance to 21st-century audiences. Horror theatre started in the 19th century in France and was very popular until the advent of film made horror theatre look kitschy and unrealistic. Horror theatre quickly fizzled out. Today, it is a genre that is nearly unheard of to theatre novices and professionals alike. During my research, I poured over dozens of plays and hunted down the few theatre artists who have made this their life's work. As my research went on, it became clear that horror theatre is a viable genre for the 21st century. After all, millions of people pay to watch horror movies and attend haunted houses every year. The real question became not if but how. How do you scare audiences in a live performance space when high-tech horror films exist? How do you revive a genre that has been dead for a few hundred years? I had a vision that could be the answer to those questions. That's where Witch Hunt Theatre really begins.
After that summer of research, I became obsessed with putting horror onstage. More than that, I became obsessed with what this could mean for the future of theatre. If I could play with unconventional genres like horror then how else could I subvert expectations and redefine what it means to be an audience member? Live theatrical productions as we know them have been around for thousands of years. We are long overdue for a change. Witch Hunt Theatre is one iteration of what I think that change could look like. I want audiences to experience theatre in a way they never have before. I want to remind audiences that in a live performance space, anything can happen.
I invite you to be immersed. I invite you to be scared. And, as always, I invite you to
Lean in. Engage. And maybe die.