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Vanguard Reporter Enters the World of Darkfield

Earlier this year, our intrepid student reporter Jackson O’Keeffe attended the Darkfield Immersive Audio Experience at Fringe Festival.

Jackson o'keeffe reports

Realscape Productions teamed up with Darkfield to produce a series of on-site, tech-infused, immersive interactive events.

There were three shows available to the public: COMA, FLIGHT and SÉANCE.

In each show, audiences are confined to a 40ft shipping container where they are subject to intense, 360-degree, binaural audio in complete and utter darkness.

According to the Realscape/Darkfield team, their aim to “to present theatre that inspires creative types, but also intrigues humans that don’t frequent traditional theatres.”

Below is the trailer for SÉANCE:

From my own journey into the shows, I found Darkfield theatre to be a thrilling, one-of-a-kind experience. The way in which they use this 3D audio technology in an environment of darkness allows the imagination to construct a vivid sense of reality.

There were even moments throughout ‘Flight’ where I genuinely feared for my own life. 

Whereas in ‘Coma’, once prompted with the thought of freshly brewed coffee, I found myself perplexed as to whether the smell of coffee was floating around the container or just a figment of my own imagination.

After the experience, I spoke with Nathan and learned that their production team had designed a unique olfactory system, sending smells to each individual to play tricks on their mind. 

“That’s the greatest thing about your brain and imagination there’s some ‘things’ that do happen, and yes, we do have smells,” he said.

“We actually built a specific smell system that could allow us to send smells to each individual bed, which was a bit of a trial-and-error process of getting the right smells.

“Even now we’re always looking to tweak the smells and to get them as rich as we can, to get them to be as close to it as we can.”

During the show, audience members lie down in bunk beds, equipped with headphones (seen in this image behind the text).

However, living in a time of a global pandemic, Darkfield has also developed a new and innovative digital project to allow audiences to enjoy a theatre experience in the safety of their own homes.

It’s called ‘Darkfield’ and it broadcasts immersive binaural sound into your own headphones. It can be accessed via the Darkfield Radio mobile app.

To find out more:


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