This summer a few lucky Londoners have been invited to a very special immersive experience commissioned by Stella Artois and orchestrated by Felix Barrett and the Punchdrunk Theatre Company to promote their Stella Artois Black Lager. The same partnership produced a similar immersive experience last year called The Night Chauffeur.
In early July, invitations were sent out to people in London to attend a special party. Invitees knew when and where to go but not much about what they were about to experience. Guests arrived at the warehouse is Shoreditch, East London, which had been designed to look like a Paris family home in 1963. Besides the invited guests, the party included a number of actors playing roles within the Black Diamond storyline. It turns out the party is being hosted by a young diamond-cutter named Jacques Ferre, and that night he is set to give his girlfriend Cecile a rare black diamond.
Later at the party a man is chased from the room by Jacques. It turns out that the black diamond has been stolen and Jacques shouts to the crowd of guests asking if they had seen anything. The party is brought to an abrupt leaving the guests in a state of confusion.
A few weeks later the guests are summoned to a secret location in small groups to play out the remaining six scenes in the story. The scenes played over the next hour at several locations as guests interacted with actors playing the various characters in the story. If you’re curious whether there was a happy ending you can read a first-hand account of the Black Diamond experience by the folks at DesignBridge.
For the rest of us not lucky enough to be involved personally in the London experience, we can follow the story at the Stella Artois Black Diamond website. The site was created by London agency Unit 9.