What is theatre? That is the question at the heart of DARKFIELD: Arcade as it sets up camp in Norwich this month.

Breaking down the preconceptions of what makes a show a show, Arcade welcomes its audience (and arguably its leading actor) from the outside of a shipping container near the Forum. 

There are no arrival drinks, no programmes, no ice creams, or polite whispers of ‘excuse me’ to get to your seat. 

Instead, you are ushered into a box where there are rows of 1980s-style retro arcade machines. This is your stage. 

Eastern Daily Press: DARKFIELD: Arcade presented by Norwich Theatre

While this may not be for the claustrophobic, it is for everyone who has ever wanted to experience an immersive theatrical experience.

The best way for me to describe it is like an escape room meeting a computer game to produce a completely new way to enjoy the theatre.

Without giving too much away, you are submerged in darkness throughout a 30-minute show.

Eastern Daily Press: DARKFIELD: Arcade presented by Norwich Theatre

There are choices to be made (by you) that trigger a different outcome almost every time depending on whether you say yes to new experiences or no to play it safe.

The designers describe it as: “An interactive narrative exploring the evolving relationship between players and avatars.

“This choose-your-own-path experience will fully immerse players in alternate environments in a completely dark shipping container, using 360-degree binaural sound, sensory effects, and a bespoke arcade machine for each player.  

“Players will be asked deep existential questions about free will and consciousness in a world where some may win, and some may lose.” 

My husband will never forgive me if I don’t include here that he did, indeed, become a “winner” while I ended up inside a potentially more sinister “higher level”.