Blog: Transforming education through immersive learning with Punchdrunk Enrichment

23 October 2023

photo credit Stephen Dobbie
photo credit Stephen Dobbie

Immersive learning has its roots in immersive theatre which invites the audience to move through a theatrical world as active participants. In stepping through a door to another world, the audience can feel anything from awe to excitement.

Since 2008, Punchdrunk Enrichment has been using immersive theatre techniques in educational settings. This approach aims to give real purpose to learning, developing positivity and engagement while harnessing children’s imaginations and opening up a world of possibility.

Imaginate have been partnering with Punchdrunk Enrichment to deliver their fantastic projects in Scotland since 2019. We're excited to be delivering their newest project The Wishing Cupboard in 2024, which is open for booking now! This is a magical project for Nursery to P1, which helps children build creative stories around found objects. 

What is Immersive Learning?

Immersive learning is an approach to education that involves placing learners within a fictional or fictionalised real world, casting them as characters in a story, with their actions and work integral to the progression of the narrative.

They may need to write stories to help characters return to a book, learn about their local history to return a mysterious creature to a travelling museum or find out about local geography to save a fictional island, but in all cases their work is essential to the resolution of an identified problem.

Learning is enhanced when it is embedded within a narrative, and immersive pedagogy transforms the learning environment in a way that reinforces the reality of the fictional world and the learners’ place within it.

What is a Teacher-led Adventure?

A teacher-led project celebrates the role of the teacher in the classroom: giving the tools and training to transform their school into a place of wonder.

Led by the teacher in a classroom, A Small Tale, The Vanishing Land, A Curious Quest and The Wishing Cupboard offer intensely absorbing and immersive narratives which support the delivery of curriculum objectives. The projects aim to inspire and develop imaginative teaching practices for literacy by placing the teacher at the centre of the creativity.

How to get involved

We invite schools and nurseries to sign up to take part in The Wishing Cupboard, which will be delivered with support from Imaginate and Punchdrunk Enrichment:

  • Dates: January-April 2024, including CLPL on 26 January
  • Age range: nurseries to P1
  • Cost: £360 +VAT.

You will receive online training and a kit which includes handmade props, posters and materials for simple design installations that bring The Wishing Cupboard to life in your school. Read more about the project here.

To express your interest in taking part, email Anna Broomfield (Schools & Communities Project Coordinator) by Wednesday 13 December.