Many times when we talk about immersive experiences, we think AR, VR, and cutting edge technology. The Cooping Theory forwent augmented reality, and brought attendees into an experience with talented actors which engaged with the audience, and further brought the performance and the experience to life.
Attendees were checked in, given information from one of the event managers which laid the background for the story, and were then told to knock three times on a heavy door. From there, the experience began.
Attendees were greeted by a bubbly young woman who shared her excitement that the new attendees were joining the underground 'Poe Society', which was hosting a cocktail party to remember and commemorate the mysterious death of Edgar Allen Poe.
From there, attendees experienced a number of surprises from spirits, to fights between cast members arguing about the causes of Poe's death, and further entered an evening of paranormal experiences. Attendees were able to pick their journey, following actors into different rooms to hear their stories and engage with different parts of the performance. No attendee experience was the same.
What does this mean for Live Events?
As mentioned earlier, oftentimes when we think of 'immersive experiences', we think of experiences created with technology like AR, VR, and more. While these technologies are new, exciting, and promising, The Cooping Theory reminded us that immersive experiences with talented actors like the ones from the performance, are impossible to replicate.
A commonality between many immersive experiences, is the ability for the attendee to choose their own path, and create their own story. Technology allows this possibility, but so does having actors performing among attendees, and allowing attendees to follow the actors around the experience itself, and even engage with them verbally. While technology is getting better, there is still no replacement for human connection and interaction. As more brands are activating and creating experiential events to connect fans to their brands, it will be interesting to see if they create experiences with actors like what we saw in The Cooping Theory.
The reason why many people enjoy theater performances, compared to movies or television, is the performance and the experience, by definition, is never identical. Theater creates completely unique experiences for attendees, meaning from one night to the next, the experience for attendees will be different. The Cooping Theory assured that even on the same night, each attendee had a completely unique story, further immersing attendees and creating immersive experiences. If at attendee has agency in their own story, they will be more engaged, and the conversation afterwards with other attendees is even deeper as attendees compare their different experiences.