EXCLUSIVE: Tony- and Golden Globe-winning production company Playground (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Wolf Hall) is expanding into immersive theatre with a financial investment in Witness, the new theater company behind sold-out New York productions of Noirtown and The Visitation.
Witness was created and is being led by Artistic Director Michael Bontatibus, a former creative executive at Playground.
“What is so exciting about Michael’s work at Witness is that through a brilliant combination of imagination and ingenuity he created fully immersive experiences with both Noirtown and The Visitation that attracted audiences in their droves,” said Colin Callender, Chairman and CEO of Playground. “The success of both productions is proof positive that people are hungry for experiential storytelling that is bold, innovative and entertaining.”
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Callender said Playground will work with Witness “to help them expand the scale and frequency of their extraordinary productions, and to further explore the possibilities of this form-breaking medium with them.”
Next up for is Bontatibus’ Witness is Last Days of the Tsars, set for staging at the historic Stimson-Green Mansion in Seattle from February 25 to March 15, 2020. Audiences are invited to step into the Tsar’s palace and find themselves in the midst of a royal household on the brink of collapse, surrounded by figures such as Tsar Nicholas II, Princess Anastasia, and Grigori Rasputin. The audience members will choose which characters to follow.
Recent Witness productions include Found Footage at Colonels Row on Governors Island, New York, and The Visitation at the Wyckoff House, the oldest building in New York.
“We’re elated to have the support of Playground as Witness embarks on its next chapter of immersive theatre experiences,” said Bontatibus. “Playground’s creative track record and forward-thinking ethos make them the ideal partner to expand the reach and scope of our productions.”
A New York and London based television, film and theatre production company, Playground was founded in 2012 and has produced over 75 hours of primetime television drama, including Wolf Hall, for the BBC and Masterpiece; The Dresser, for the BBC and Starz; The White Princess, a limited series for Starz; and Kenneth Lonergan’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Howards End for the BBC and Starz, among others. Theater productions on Broadway include Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy, Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina and the Tony award-winning revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
In partnership with Sonia Friedman Productions, Playground is currently producing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway and the West End.
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