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The Séance Experience at Lakeside Arts: Interview with Artistic Director, Glenn Neath

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

On Tuesday 21st of March, Lakeside Arts held a premiere for Séance by Darkfield. I was honoured to have attended with Her Campus and to be part of the first group to experience the Séance simulation. I can honestly say that I have never seen or experienced anything quite like it.

Séance was created by Darkfield, and it consists of a 24ft shipping container that the company have transformed to imitate the interior of a traditional Victorian Séance room. The whole experience happens in darkness but plays on the audience’s auditory and tactile senses to feel as though they are part of a real Victorian séance. The performance lasts approximately 20 minutes, but it will certainly be the only thing you will talk about for the rest of your day!

I was lucky enough to interview the Artistic Director of Séance, Glen Neath, and ask more about how they came about creating the experience.

My first question was about the original idea for this theatrical representation of a Séance.


This was our first show in a shipping container, and we thought, what is the best way to explore anxiety? – by creating a very short and intense show. We had two longer shows in the dark previously, and people were quite scared of the dark, so we thought we would work with darkness but in a shorter space of time.

We never start with a story; we always start with the parameters of where the show will be. We knew it would be in a shipping container so our question was, how will we get audiences sitting?

The seating configuration itself suggested that people would be sitting opposite each other across a table, then the idea that people would have their hands on the table, finally resulted in our idea of a séance.

Originally, we weren’t sure about the idea but then we realised it would allow us to create something short and people would bring stories with them, as everyone has their own ideas of what a séance will be like.

When we arrived, I was surprised with how small the shipping container was. The capacity allowed for about 15-20 people, I asked Glenn ‘WAS THIS PARAMOUNT FOR THIS EXPERIENCE- TO BE A CLOSE AND INTIMATE SETTING?’

Well, we wanted to take more control of space, as previously we tried this experience with different sized rooms and there was no real set, but you could still tell that the audio was not recording in the setting of the séance.

The shipping container allowed us to control the space and importantly, control the blackouts and complete darkness which was difficult to achieve in other settings.

From this, we were also able to allow for design elements and special effects such as the moving and vibrating table, imitating people walking on top of it.

The shipping container model also helps us to tour with the experience and for 3 performances an hour to take place, allowing lots of people to experience it, whilst keeping the show and the space quite intimate.

I was really interested in the interaction of senses in the experience. I asked Glenn ‘with this multi-disciplinary approach of sound and touch that is used in Séance, is this an approach that you have used in the past.

Yes, with all of our shows we experiment with darkness and sound technology. Vision is primary – when you go to a cinema you look at a screen and attach everything to the image.

So we thought, what if we take away vision and rely on the experience of sound?

You might feel like you are the only one in that room experiencing the Séance.

By relying on sound, it allowed us to put every audience member at the centre of the drama – so it felt that everything was happening around them.

We wanted the audience members to feel like the central character – the protagonist of the story.

That only really works using sound and ensuring we are in complete silence so it feels like everything is happening around you.


I don’t know – immersive drama is a real interest for students at the moment. But I’m not really interested in telling stories, all of these are made with the audience in mind. We want to play with ideas that centre around audience experiences. Previously, we wanted to create the experience of the inside of a plane inside of a shipping container, so we had to find a narrative that fitted that. Or in Coma we wanted people to be lying down next to a headboard so we could feed smells – hearing someone make a cup of coffee and then being able to smell it. Timing and detail is paramount in this form of drama.

It was an absolute pleasure going to Séance and talking to Glenn about the pre-production and their inspiration for the performance. It is open until Sunday 2nd of April at Lakeside Arts and student tickets are £5.

Beware, Séance is a one-of-a-kind experience and not something you want to miss out on!

Priya Joshi

Nottingham '23

Hi I'm Priya and I'm a 3rd year English student at the University of Nottingham! Lover of all things filmmaking and mental health activism <3