Petrichor (in-theatre)

★★★★ "Gripping, immersive VR viewing... hallucinogenic hi-tech dystopia." The Guardian
★★★★ "A dazzling array of effects and never fails to fascinate and terrify...mind-blowingly vivid." The Scotsman
"A captivating piece of escapism. For a company to come out of such an artistically stifling period with such striking ambition is remarkable." A Younger Theatre
"Deftly delivered... Proof that you don’t have to be in a theatre to be in a theatre." The Stage

We are thrilled to invite audiences to a 360° immersive virtual reality experience, set in a dystopian society where happiness has been traded for a world without pain. Combining live-action theatre and animation, PETRICHOR explores the hopes and fears of our current and future existence. 

You can enjoy PETRICHOR in person at Stratford East in our socially-distanced space or online from the comfort of your own home (click here for information about the Online experience). Please note, that in the event of building closure, all in-theatre experience bookings will be transferred to online experience bookings so you can still enjoy the show from home.

A MATCHBOX production by ThickSkin 
Created by Jonnie Riordan, Jess Williams & Ben Walden

Welcome to Petrichor. Thousands applied and you have been selected. This is a new beginning, a clean slate, a second chance. You are an important part of this machine. And that’s all you need to think about.

Step into a new world. A world where every single day is exactly the same. Petrichor is a dystopian reality, where every moment is muted, managed and monochrome. Nothing bad ever happens. Nothing good does either. Excitement and happiness have been traded for a world without pain and suffering.

A chance meeting brings two unlikely individuals together and offers a small glimpse of what life could be. Their newfound connection sends ripples through this ordered world. They begin to question every decision, every step and every thought they’ve ever had. Could there be something more than this? 

PETRICHOR is a MATCHBOX production for ThickSkin. Supported by Arts Council England, Backstage Trust, November Productions, Oculus from Facebook and Waterside Arts & Creative Industries Trafford. Developed with support from Lawrence Batley Theatre, Tron Theatre and Glasgow Life.

If you would like to receive information about ThickSkin, sign up to their mailing list here.

Thick Skin logo  Matchbox logo

See It Safely

Rehearsal Photos: Ray Chan

Runtime: Approximately 40 minutes (no interval) - please note that you cannot stop the VR headset once it starts. Latecomers will not be admitted.
Age Guidance: 13+ for in-theatre experience.
Content Advisory NoteThis production contains flashing images, moments of darkness, loud music.

The PETRICHOR in-theatre experience will take place at Stratford East from Tue 08 – Sat 12 Dec 2020. To book your tickets, select the date and time from the options below. We will be providing a completely safe VR experience for all audiences and staff. In keeping with COVID-19 guidelines, we are taking every measure to ensure the safety of our staff, performers and audience members, including:
- Staff and audience members to wear face coverings unless exempt
- Temperature checks on arrival
- Contactless tickets
- Cashless payments
- Hand-sanitising stations
- Social distancing
- Seating, headsets and toilets cleaned before and after every performance
- One-way systems throughout the building
- We are unable to admit latecomers or allow readmittance once the performance has started
- We are collecting audience data for track and trace, and customers are encouraged to also report their visit using the NHS track and trace app
- In the event of building closure, all in-theatre experience bookings will be transferred to online experience bookings so you can still enjoy the show from home.?

What is VR?
VR stands for Virtual Reality and uses computer technology to create a simulated environment. To enjoy the experience in-theatre, you will be seated (socially-distanced) and given a VR headset to wear.

Booking Enquiries – FOR ONLINE EXPERIENCE 
You can experience PETRICHOR from the comfort of your own home without the need of a VR headset. Click here to find out more and book the ONLINE EXPERIENCE.

If you are a school or education group then take a look at ThickSkin’s DISCOVER PACKAGE, where you can access the online experience for your students along with behind-the-scenes films and education resources. Find out more here

Created by Jonnie Riordan, Jess Williams and Ben Walden

Ayesha Fazal 
Ayesha trained at Falmouth University. Performance credits include Passage for Par choreographed by Rosemary Lee (Groundwork Festival), Boomtown Springs (Boomtown Festival) and Ladylyke (Fledge Festival). Ayesha also founded undergraduate contemporary dance company, Company Nexus, for which she choreographed and performed 7 feet below.

Dominic Coffey
Dominic trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds. Upon graduating Dominic gained a place on the Jasmin Vardimon Professional Development Course where he had the opportunity to tour as a part of JV2. Dominic has worked professionally with Gary Clarke, Hawk Dance Theatre, Carlos Pons Guerra, Cahoots NI, Joe Garbett, Urban Conceptz, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, Joss Arnott and more. He has performed nationally and internationally including throughout China, India and USA. Dominic is also an Educational Facilitator for Jasmin Vardimon and has taught at Salford University and Chorlton High School.

Ayesha Fazal by Ray ChanDominic Coffey by Ray Chan

Direction & Choreography: Jonnie Riordan & Jess Williams 
Animation: Ben Walden 
Music and Sound Design: Neil Bettles 
Editor/Visual Effects: Jim Dawson for TripleDotMakers 
VR Photography: Keith Myers 
Photography: Ray Chan 
Executive Producer: Laura Mallows 
Producer: Steph Connell 
Production Manager: Hannah Blamire 
Assistant Producer: Lauren Townsend 
Marketing Consultant: Rhea Mehmet 
Press Consultant: Simon Thompson 

Access & Events

PETRICHOR incorporates creative captioning and is suitable for deaf audiences. The show contains flashing images, loud music and moments of darkness. It may not be suitable for audiences with sensory disorders or people with an autism spectrum disorder. If you have any access-related questions or queries, then please contact

Trailer and Videos





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