In pictures: ISES creates immersive Halloween experience

The International Special Events Society's (ISES) UK chapter transformed The Vaults underneath London's Waterloo station last night (29 October) into an immersive sensory experience.


As part of its Talks series, ISES themed the experiential event around the fictional Institute of Sensory Exploration Studies with the help of Reuben Feels, an immersive theatre and trans-media storytelling company.

Event professionals, who networked among patients and doctors from the fictional institute, were divided into groups and ushered into a room to meet professor Cornelius Lomas, president of the institute, who explained the drug-free alternatives it offered to cure addictions, insomnia, personality disorders and manic depression through sensory deprivation.

Guests embarked on a journey around the venue beginning with a group therapy session with one of the institute’s doctors, followed by an introduction into sensory deprivation, which involved delegates blindfolded and wearing headphones.

In the Wolowitz Wing another doctor introduced attendees to Nicholas, a patient at the institute for six months, who shared his disturbing story in a terrifying twist of events.

After the interactive experience, Jane Hague, president of ISES’ UK chapter, welcomed new members to the association including Bournemouth University, the University of Surrey and the University of Westminster.

Kieron Vanstone, director at The Vaults, told guests the event space opened in April and has already been used by Movember and Moonpig for events, as well as a photo and video shoot for British rap artist Dizzee Rascal.

Isabel Soden and Adam Johnstone, directors at Reuben Feels, also talked about their bespoke theatre company. The pair highlighted a few examples of recent work including the ten-minute Shenanigans experience at this year’s Bestival for Tourism Ireland, working with agency Carat.

Entertainment in the latter part of the evening came from Fotofantasies, which provided green screens, props and outfits for guests to create eerie Victorian scenes, while Viva Live Music performed a series of spine-tingling tracks.

Hague said: "More than ever event organisers are integrating sensory experiences to deliver meaningful event experiences. Reuben Feels is a great example of how immersive theatre set in an ambient environment can be successfully integrated into a networking and education format to create a unique and memorable event."

The Recipe provided catering throughout the event including canapés such as ceviche of scallop; Asian crab salad in pickled daikon; rabbit rillettes; and ballotine of pancetta wrapped guinea fowl, wild mushrooms and truffle oil.

Bowl food included gazpacho served in a plastic syringe; wild mushroom risotto with quails egg topped with parmesan shavings and shiitake mushrooms; roast rump of lamb with roasted aubergine and pepper salad and romesco sauce; and beetroot cured salmon with beetroot and rye bread.

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