St Peter's Village Hall, Beach Road, Paekākāriki

11/06/2021 - 12/06/2021

Breaker Bay Hall, 150 Breaker Bay Road, Seatoun, Wellington

16/06/2021 - 19/06/2021

Lōemis Festival 2021

Production Details

Stay safe. Be kind. Trust no one.

… Anything can happen in the dark if you’re not paying attention.

Binge Culture’s new experience couples haunting storytelling with chilling design and a unique immersive performance format – be a fly on the wall or take charge of the situation. Werewolf feels almost like a game by daylight – but takes on a whole new life when plunged into the night.

Are you paying attention?

Put away your phone camera and pack your best silverware – will you be by our side when darkness falls?

Created and performed by incredible, innovative theatre makers, Werewolf features a chilling sound design and a unique immersive performance format – be a fly on the wall or take charge of the situation. However you decide to play it, you’ll become part of a makeshift community coming together to make it through the night. What is hiding in the darkness that is making everyone so nervous?

You must pay attention.  

Stay safe. Be kind. Trust no-one.

Following a successful development season last year, the official premiere season of WEREWOLF is part of Lōemis festival at:

St Peter’s Village Hall, Paekakariki 
11-12 June 2021

Breaker Bay Community Hall
16-19 June 2021
Sun 20 June 2021

Performed by Joel Baxendale, Freya Daly Sadgrove & Karin McCracken

Sound Design by Oliver Devlin
Dramaturgy by Ralph Upton
Produced by Joel Baxendale
Originally produced by Eleanor Strathern
Production Management by Pauline Ward 

Theatre ,

Suspenseful fun

Review by Melissa Bee 18th Jun 2021

Werewolf, a devised immersive experience from theatre collective Binge Culture, brings the audience centre stage in a race against time to survive from the threats that lurk both outside and within the doors of Breaker Bay Community Hall.  

The venue, with its chairs lined in a circle along the walls, seems an odd choice for theatre, but it’s actually a brilliant setting for maximum participation and realism. If there were an actual emergency, communities would normally gather in spaces like these.

As you enter the space, you are given a role card which explains your situation and gives each person a unique motivation/task. If you indicate you do not want to participate as much, you will be given a corresponding card and can simply let the scenes unfold in front of you.

Binge Culture ensemble Joel Baxendale, Freya Daly Sadgrove and Karin McCracken are wardens, in charge of managing the unfolding chaos outside while trying to maintain order within the space as we collectively endure seven days of isolation. They are at times authoritative and playful, allowing for moments of humour in what is otherwise a bleak situation. They avoid the language of the past 18 months – there is no mention of ‘quarantine’ or ‘social distancing’, but the feeling of increasing dread is familiar to what we’ve all just experienced in real life.

The acting is strong and the narrative is simple enough to understand, yet remains flexible to change based on the audience’s appetite for participation. The star of the show is never seen: Sound Designer and technical operator Oliver Devlin expertly uses darkness, shadow and sound effects to help us move through each day, and enhances the level of suspense each night.

If you are uncomfortable with being in complete darkness, participating in theatrical experiences, or are feeling the effects of pandemic anxiety, you may want to wait for Binge Culture’s next offering. However, if you enjoy interactive party games such as The Resistance, improv/roleplaying and horror, Werewolf is a fun evening out. 


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A good idea that needs work

Review by Steve La Hood 12th Jun 2021

Lycanthropy is a belief (or delusion) in which the patient believes that sh/e has been transformed into an animal. Most popularly, a wolf.  

In tonight’s participatory theatrical event, we’re ‘locked in’ to the hall for ‘six nights and seven days’… enough time for the epidemic of lycanthropy that is ravaging the ‘outside’ to subside/pass (as in Passover).  

We’ve got syringes in the first-aid kit so we’re safe, right? We’ve got the authorities instructing us via the radio so we know what to expect and what to do, right?

Even so, something’s not right. Our three most verbal fellow inmates (Joel Baxendale, Freya Daly Sadgrove and Karen McCracken) can’t seem to agree on procedures. Their panic level increases even as they tell us to ‘stay calm’.

When Freya is thrown out of the hall into the dangerous ‘outside’, the true Werewolf reveals itself in a stroboscopic (and quite scary) conclusion.

As audience members, we’ve been given personal cards with actions (howl like a wolf, think of a comforting song to sing, scream, a mantra etc), but no directions as to when, or at what crisis point over the ‘seven days’ we should do these things. The result is a bit unruly – even cacophonous.

Though we’re seated in a circle and we can all see each other’s faces, the opportunity to foster a sense of ‘who is the infected one amongst us’ doesn’t click, so the protagonists have to generate that sensation.

The idea’s a good one but it needs work. It’s quite a challenge to get an audience to contribute to a sense of collective fear and distrust. Dramaturg Ralph Upton is still tweaking the show, building on active participations to refine the way the three protagonists manage the various inputs from the audience.  

No prizes for guessing the parallels with our current pandemic, but the play doesn’t really get to the level of distrust, fear of misinformation, fear of contagion that we’ve all experienced in real life lately – and it definitely could get there, with a lot more work on structure.


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