A multi-sensory immersive experience

The realms of immersive experiences have been explored in many different ways, from the sublime to the plain bizarre. We’ve been taken into virtual paintings, followed demons and monsters though derelict warehouses and gorged on sensory themed feasts while watching films and theatre. This immersive experience by BitterSuite takes it to yet another level – and this time you have to entirely put your trust in the performers. It’s dance, music, a bit of theatre and all the senses are engaged – all except sight, as you are blindfolded throughout.

BitterSuite was founded in 2014 and its team includes experts in the fields of music, art, theatre, movement, food, perfume, psychology and neurology. Its ethos is to get people to surrender to music.

Bodies Tilted is its latest work and is part of the Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival, this year curated by Christine and the Queens. You can participate in Bodies Tilted as either an Experiencer (which I tried) or as a Witness.

Not knowing what to expect is part of the thrill. So no spoilers here, I promise. The premise is this though – you are led as a small group into the Clore Ballroom and paired with a similarly sized dance partner. Music is played. You watch an incredible dance sequence by the deft performers, and then blindfolds are donned. There is a range of music, touch, smell, taste (allergies are checked in advance) and a joyful ending. The latter was my response to it anyway – others have been overcome with emotion or even let out screams of delight.

I’m not naturally a touchy-feely person and it also takes me a while to get into the zone of a new experience – I would have liked to have been there for longer and to try more elements of taste. I imagine for others though that 20 or so minutes in a blindfold is probably enough. I left smiling. It’s fun, different and has clearly captured people’s imaginations… the short run has sold out of the Experiencer tickets, although you can still attend for free as a Witness (book in advance).

Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre until 18 June

Image: BitterSuite at Wilderness by Olivia Williams