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Daily interviews with a local focus airing at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Northland Morning.

Community Connection: Matthew Wagner and the Limitless Possibilities of Immersive Theater

A man in a sad-clown mask stands next to a skeleton wearing a bow tie
Matthew Wagner

Matthew Wagner owns a local escape room and loves getting participants more involved in the art of immersion. "Not only are [participants] seeing, but they're touching, sometimes they're smelling, sometimes they're tasting, and, of course, they're hearing this environment," says Wagner.

Immersive Art is not new, but it is growing. Live performances that demand more of its audience (such as choosing what room to go into, what to touch, who to talk to, etc.) have become a large part of the art world over the past few decades. For Wagner, this growth is a point of high interest. "What is exciting to me now is how can I bring that feeling of discovery and exploration... to live performance so that you're not a passive audience member, but an active participant."

The future of escape rooms, theater, and even haunted houses is changing and it's possible that this change is a natural reaction to a deeply human need. "If you have what may not feel like a really exciting or engaging day-to-day experience... I think this work is really trying to make us active participants in the world around us."

A 2018 episode of "Making it Up North" offers a brief snapshot of Wagner's work at Solve Entertainment.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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