2014 • Co-Creator, Director, Producer • Interactive Live Event (London)


HEIST was an Off West End-nominated interactive live experience with a simple premise: for one night, live a life of crime. I created the show with Jon Cooper as part of differencEngine along with Dean Rogers of Rogue Productions, where I led concept, production, technology, story development, narrative arc, and operations.

Audiences of eight began HEIST by entering a shady bar, where a mysterious figure contracted them to plan and execute the perfect crime: an underworld art heist. The experience was one of the very first to give its audience full control over their own story, merging elements of gaming, immersive theatre, and live performance. Originally slated to run for three weeks, we sold out the initial run in just two hours and received rave reviews from The Stage, Time Out London, and Exeunt Magazine. HEIST carried on for nine full sold out months before literally bringing the house down — closing only when our venue was demolished as part of a larger-area renovation.

As co-creator, I co-led the experience design and development of 15 rooms’ worth of puzzles, challenges, and interaction points; co-directed the performance and dramatic elements; and led live direction of our cast of 13 for our first run as well as the creation of our run book for our subsequent live directors.


HEIST pioneered the innovative use of technology to deliver an experience like no other. In addition to backstage radio and CCTV operations, we made radio communication an essential part of the experience. Up to three simultaneous audience groups operated at once inside the experience, each with their own dedicated radio channel. Participants with radios could use them to communicate with in-world characters and each other to evade the CCTV and security guards. They could even (ahem) acquire a guard radio and eavesdrop on the security team.

We also employed our 16-camera CCTV system both in-world and out. Our production team used the monitors to track the group's progress and call show moments, but CCTV monitors were also placed prominently in certain areas of the experience — including the post-show bar, allowing people who had just completed Heist to have a drink and watch how other groups tackled the challenge.

The radio system gave participants another layer of immersion into the experience, all while providing a valuable connection point with the production team: behind the scenes, our performers and live directors could listen in on the audience's plans, coordinate over their own private channel, and adjust moments on the fly depending on how the audience was progressing.

From a narrative perspective, HEIST was also one of the first theatrical live experiences to offer true audience agency. Every action and choice was registered by the experience, and reflected back to them as if the world was a living, breathing entity. If the audience never showed up, it was just another boring night for the guards patrolling. If they were stealthy and cautious, they made slow and unobserved progress; if not, they had better be silver-tongued and stick to their cover story. The world reacted to however participants wanted to attempt the heist: On day one, we had eight possible ending states; by the end of the run, we'd developed over 40, each addition thanks to an enterprising group who tried something new — and made the world richer for it.