Insight | The Emerging Chinese Market for International Immersive Theatre
It was the summer of 2015, Li Dian went to London for theatre performances. His friend Xie Yi took him to see Alice’s Adventures Underground. It was raining in London at that time, which did not hamper excited audiences lining up in front of the theatre gate. Disparate from traditional shows, it welcomed a group of audiences to enter the theatre every quarter hour. The play provides different routine and scenario for audiences to explore, as well as two different versions designed for families and adults respectively, Li Dian was told so when waiting in line. Audiences are very likely to come back to the show multiple times to fully explore the charm of Alice’s Adventures Underground.
As an experienced drama producer for many years, Li Dian has been looking for a unique breakthrough of the industry, that’s why the innovative form of performance excited him. It was the second half of 2016 when Li Dian and Xie Yi have established Yi Dian Tong as an immersive Theatre Company, Alice’s Adventures Underground was the very first international play that they have introduced to Chinese market.
Off-line Immersive entertainment may be a new concept for many people. However, it may sound familiar when it comes to the English originated Sleep No More, as well as Living Digital Forest and Future Park produced by teamLab, the Japanese digital art group. These art events, known for their off-line activities and intensive involvement with young consumers, have enjoyed a boost of population over the past two years.
In the mid-2017, an interactive exhibition on Marvel's The Avengers in Beijing Chaoyang Park has drawn the Huang Jing’s attention to off-line immersive entertainment. Huang works as the vice president of Beijing Zuoyu Investment Management. She has been doing research on dozens of projects this field afterwards.
From Huang Jing’s view, off-line immersive entertainment refers to the non-internet-based activities with a focus on experiences and participation. The key to success of the type of entertainment is the instant interaction, which activates multiple senses of the audiences to fully take part in the products or services. Accordingly, the individually tailored entertainment has met the rigid demands from two perspectives. For customers, young consumers are willing to pay for the entertainment with more attractions; for merchants, they have noticed the huge content-based demands of commercial and tourism real estate, thus making endeavors to cultivate cultural consumptions that draws large traffic of population.
Based on the estimation of Fortune, comparable to the performance and film industry, with assessment of 46 billion and 45 billion RMB (7.3 billion and 7.1 billion US dollars) respectively, the potential market of offline immersive entertainment may mark another industry of dozens of billions dollars.
In the light of the bonus generated by mutual rigid demands, some Chinese startups are on their gold-mining adventure on the offline immersive entertainment. Starting from various perspectives, they are making attempts to grasp opportunities on the emerging market.
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