After winning the Innovation Award at last year’s Festival, Exit Productions return to VAULT 2019 with the world premiere of Fight Night – their most ambitious immersive project to date. Fury, excitement and tension build as two boxers enter the ring and it is up to the audience who is crowned the champion. Director Joe Ball joined us to tell us more.
Fight Night is at VAULT Festival 30th January to 17th February 2019.
You’re bringing Fight Night to VAULT Festival, what can you tell us about it?
Fight Night is an interactive show where the audience get to go behind the scenes meet the people behind the personas of professional boxing. As a games based theatre company, we wanted people to be able to alter the outcome of each performance depending on the choices that they make. This is realised fully in giving audiences currency and the opportunity to place bets on the outcome that they think they are influencing it towards. With a percentage of that performance’s box office income being paid out at the end to the audience member with the highest return on a betting slip.
How can audiences expect to be involved?
This all depends on how much an audience member wants to be involved. We have created an environment that gives space for people to be completely immersed, becoming the cornermen for a boxer, a VIP/investor in the promotional company putting on the fight or a medical officer checking out the fighters. But have also given the chance to just be an observer soaking up the story, placing a bet and enjoying the spectacle of the fight. As well as any level of interaction in between.
What are the challenges of creating an immersive piece of theatre about boxing?
One of the main challenges is choreographing a boxing match in the round that adapts to the audience’s choices so that each night the outcome of the entire performance is still in the balance. This was really important for us to keep the “live” feeling that any sports contest has. Hats off to our Fight Director Jonathan Holby and the two performers for creating a changeable fight that still manages to capture the narrative of each of the characters. In our unbiased opinion, it all looks dope.
What inspired the theme of live boxing for a theatre show?
We at Exit have two main aims with the interactive theatre we make: how to create a community and how to make a night out into something you couldn’t get anywhere else. So, when Chris Neels (writer and co-director) came to us with the prospect of creating an original show built around the spectacle of a boxing match we got very excited. The drama, the characters and the opportunity for the audience having an authentic involvement in the outcome all sent our heads into overdrive with possibilities.
Why is VAULT Festival the ideal place to stage Fight Night?
After winning the Innovation Award (and a Spirit of the Festival Award for another show by Exit’s director) at last year’s VAULT Festival, we know there is a warm reception of our work at the Festival. VAULT Festival is the place for the newest and most adventurous shows in London so it’s a joy to have our most ambitious work to date as part of this year’s line up.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Fight Night?
This is a game changer. Literally, you change the game. Come for the narrative, the game or the experience – it’s all a knock out.