An immersive theatrical experience is taking over part of Geelong’s old Eureka Hotel this summer 
27.10.2021

An immersive theatrical experience is taking over part of Geelong’s old Eureka Hotel this summer 

The new performance venue.

Meet The Dream Laboratory.

A multi-sensory, immersive experience right in the heart of Geelong. Intrigued? So are we.

After more than two years in the making, The Dream Laboratory is taking summer entertainment to a whole new level, bringing Geelong residents and tourists a unique interactive live experience like nothing we’ve ever seen before. 

The key takeaways

  • A new immersive theatre experience is coming to Geelong inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • The performance is experienced by moving through the venue as the story plays out around you.
  • The show premieres in January, running from the 5th to the 23rd.

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Described as part narrative, part roaming, part “choose your own adventure”, The Dream Laboratory invites guests into a labyrinth of magic and adventure where reality and dreams collide, entirely poignant after living in a world of limited travel and human connection has left most desperate for experiences that escape the mundane.

A reimagining of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” ignites this live experience and propels the story that is The Dream Laboratory. What awaits you on the other side of the door is completely up to your imagination. And what we mean by that is, don’t come expecting to sit down and watch actors on a stage – The Dream Laboratory unfolds all around you, with guests encouraged to explore every nook and cranny of the space.

Delivering an all-encompassing experience; from the moment guests enter the building, they will feel transported. There may be the opportunity to follow characters or other guests into smaller rooms and spaces if you so choose. You need only interact as much as you are comfortable, or if you prefer to observe from the sidelines you are most welcome to do so. Every choice you make will be the right one.

Sounds pretty cool, right?

Spawned at the height of the COVID pandemic, The Dream Laboratory comes from the masterminds at Geelong based professional theatre company Essential Theatre – Amanda LaBonte and Sophie Lampel.

These two driven and passionate women have worked tirelessly to see this independent company reach their twentieth anniversary in 2022; a milestone many self-funded theatre companies across Australia do not achieve. The company is best known for Shakespeare in the Vines, a national tour of Shakespeare’s classics to wineries and gardens across Australia. Essential Theatre re-interpret classic texts for today’s audiences and the results are nothing short of vibrant and engaging!

The Dream Laboratory is just one more notch to their belt, and was a direct response to the situation the creators found themselves in as artists in 2020.

“We asked ourselves the hard questions- what will our work look like on the other side of the pandemic? How will we continue to be story-tellers and do what we do best?” LaBonte says. 

The Dream Laboratory evolved on zoom, pivoted with each lockdown and blossomed in quite an unimaginable way. Whilst many of the creative team have been stuck in metro-Melbourne, a small community of Geelong friends and family have rallied to ensure the show stayed on track, working hard to transform the rear of 96 Little Malop Street into the home of The Dream Laboratory.

Nestled in the heart of Geelong amongst some of the best bars and restaurants in town, many will remember the building as The Eureka Hotel (memories!). After years of being a bustling hotel, the space was left dormant and became reclaimed by pigeons, while the front half of the building evolved into the magnificent Westend.

With entry via Shorts Place – the reveal of this newly designed performance location will blow your mind! 

“As we face a reemergence of the arts sector, we celebrate that we have not only survived, but developed and created this amazing piece of theatre to share,” says Lampel. 

The Dream Laboratory will launch on January 5 2022 and run through until January 23 2022 with two performances daily. Attendees are encouraged to book quickly, with the audience capped at 35. 

You can purchase tickets here