Stella Artois: The Black Diamond

What follows is an explanation of a wonderful idea, in concept and execution, which I was lucky enough to experience last night.

My cousin’s husband works for Unit 9, which built the website for Stella Artois’ Black Diamond, a unique immersive theatre experience celebrating and promoting Stella Black. I was one of only a few thousand invitees and attended the 8:10pm performance with my cousin last night.

All we knew upon arrival was that it was some sort of street theatre. The ticket told us to meet at the underground public phones at Old Street tube station. Having met the stage manager and confirmed that we were ready to start, we noticed that it was only the 2 of us there, i.e. we were the entire audience.

At that moment, one of the phones started to ring. The stage manager said, “I think that’s for you”, so my cousin answered and a man on the end of the line told her to look in the change compartment of the phone for further instructions. There was a note, which read ‘leave by exit 3 and keep walking down Old Street’.

We did as we were instructed and suddenly 2 guys came out of nowhere, one grabbed my cousin and one grabbed me and we were taken in opposite directions. I was told to hurry and not to make a scene. He took me to a garage and made me go in and pushed me up against the wall, urgently wanting to “make the deal” – then he showed me the black box (containing the black diamond).

I had to convince my kidnapper that I didn’t have any money to make a deal, so he disappeared and I was left alone. Then a voice from the car parked in the garage, which I hadn’t known was occupied, told me to get in the back.

The car left the garage and I had no idea where we were going. The driver told me that there was a file on the back shelf and that I should study it. It was on a woman named Lola Coeur, a singer.

The car stopped suddenly and the man warned me that he had to lean into the back to tell me something very important, but that he musn’t be seen so I was instructed to put my head between my legs and to close my eyes. He whispered in my ear my challenge and critical role to play in the next part of the story.

I was dropped at a bar where there was an attendant to meet me who took me upstairs and led me into the back room, where I was to wait for Lola. I managed to execute my task in good time before Lola came in and I had to help her change for her performance!

She showed me the black box before going on stage and I watched the performance from a small hole in the wall.

When she returned she was crying and she thrust a note into my hand from someone named Joseph telling her to forget him. Her attendant yelled at me to get out, that he wanted no part in what I’d done and to take the car waiting for me outside.

At this point, my cousin joined me in the car (she had her own story to tell later!) and we set off again. The success in my challenge provided us with the details of where we were to go next. Upon arrival, my cousin and I were tasked with finding something in the house, which belonged to Lola and which was plunged in darkness. We were given tiny torches and told to hurry as Lola was only in the next room! We found what we were looking for in the nick of time, just before Lola burst into the room as we were escaping out the back door onto the street.

We were then taken to meet Jacques, who the black diamond belonged to and from whom it had been stolen in part 1 of the story (which had taken place at another time). He took us to a café and asked me to go in and ask for something to drink and to light the candles. A woman was in there, serving and after the candles were lit and she’d gone into the back, Jacques came in and placed what we had brought to him on the table before hiding behind the counter….

This was the end of our story and in case you are able to take part, I won’t ruin it for you!

The characters are all exquisitely fleshed out for so short a duration of involvement with the audience/participants and when there are so few of you involved in the experience, it is easy to lose yourself in the plot, making this a thoroughly enjoyable and not a bit cringe-worthy way to spend an hour. I thoroughly recommend it!

Due to the first round of tickets selling out, the show now runs until 1st September, so click here to go to the website and apply for tickets now!

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