Natasha Ciesielski
23rd Nov 2023

With sold out sessions earlier this year, over 32,000 Sydneysiders experienced DARKFIELD. Luckily for us, DARKFIELD has returned to Sydney and this time there are more shows to thrill visitors.

DARKFIELD is a collection of immersive sensory experiences that take place in complete darkness. There are four different encounters (FLIGHT, COMA, EULOGY and SEANCE) to choose from (or you can do them all). Each takes place inside a purpose-built shipping container and uses binaural audio, sensory deprivation and special effects to place the audience at the centre of a narrative, within an alternate reality.

Warning, the experiences are intense. If you’re scared of the dark or avoid horror movies like the plague, then this probably isn’t something you’d enjoy.

Most of your time you’ll be in complete “I can’t even see my hand in front of my face” darkness which immediately makes you feel disorientated and unsettled.

In the darkness, suspense and anticipation quickly build. The COMA experience involves lying down on a bunkbed and I found myself with my arms crossed protectively over my chest, holding onto arms in desperation as a creepy nightmarish voice whispered in my ear, questioning why on earth I was putting myself through this terror!

If you’re keen to try DARKFIELD but sceptical you’ll be able to handle it, rest assured, you are given the chance to leave the experience at the start of the session, and the first time the lights go out. After that you’re in for the ride. Each experience runs for approximately 20-35 minutes.

DARKFIELD is the creation of Realscape Productions, a Melbourne-based company that specialises in tech-infused, multisensory, theatrical productions and interactive events. Experts in the experiential field the team use smell, temperature, motion and sound to enhance each experience. But it’s the audio that takes the experience into reality. Participants are given a set of noise-cancelling headphones, featuring 360-audio technology. You’ll hear voices and sounds coming from just one side making it seem like someone is actually whispering in your ear. During SEANCE, I’m not sure if my fear was heightened or the Realscape team were working their magic but I swear I felt a creepy warm breath on my ear as a voice told me frightening things.

This year DARKFIELD have partnered with award-winning distillery Archie Rose, running a pop-up bar and creating fun cocktail mixes inspired by each of the experiences. My pick is Flight with double malt whisky, Aperol, Amaro Nonino and citrus ($16). A drink between shows was highly needed, as I did walk out of the experiences rocked, feeling the need for a beverage to soothe my nerves.

The experience is different for everyone. My companion was totally chill. Enjoyed it, really wanted to know the secrets behind the magic and was eager for the next one. I was the complete opposite; anxious, frightened, and grateful for the drinks between sessions!

Do I recommend it? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Only if I can hold someone’s hand!

If you are eager for something different with friends or keen to test your own bravery, then embrace the darkness with DARKFIELD. Four stars. This is a unique, well-done, exhilarating experience.

DARKFIELD is live at Harbour Park in Barangaroo from 22 November 2023, to 21 January 2024. Tickets to all four DARKFIELD experiences can be purchased online via darkfield.com.au/sydney or events.ticketbooth.com.au/events/realscape/tag/sydney  (prices range from $22 to $30 plus booking fees). There’s also an option for Christmas gift vouchers.

Note: DARKFIELD experiences are suitable for ages 13 and above. 13 to 15-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult. Audiences are encouraged to check content warnings before purchasing tickets.

Photo courtesy of Realscape Productions in association with Darkfield.