There is a small doorway on one side of London’s Playhouse Theatre. In addition, names are checked and low-key black wristbands are distributed to a handful of people. The guests are led through a labyrinth of corridors until they reach another doorway. It’s the portal to the Kit Kat club; a 1930s-accented playground within London’s already intensely clubby Cabaret experience, in collaboration with Moet & Chandon.
As regular stage performers take their seats, these guests – a maximum of 26 per performance – are treated to canapés and champagne before joining the rest of the theatergoers (who return to the Kit Kat Club during intermission for more treats and – of course – Champagne). Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, the production at the Playhouse Theatre, is one of London’s most popular tickets and this partnership adds a new layer to an already immersive experience and a new direction for theater sponsorship.
Theatergoers benefit (even if you don’t opt for the Kit Kat club option, there are ticket options that include food and a bottle of Moet & Chandon), an experience that’s a far cry from the usual less-than-curated wine, packaged snacks available in most theaters, too there are advantages for the sponsor. Cabaret bagged seven Laurence Olvier awards in 2022, including Best Director for director Rebecca Frecknall, Best Actor and Actress, plus Best Musical Revival.
As Simon Ward-Nicholson, Group Director of Food & Beverage at ATG says: When our audience enters the Kit Kat Club to see cabaret, everything they see, touch, eat and drink is specially curated and a representation of the Berlin of the thirties. authenticity is key. We are making great strides across all 58 locations in the UK, US and Germany, with Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club inspiring the change.”
Punchdrunk, Britain’s leading proponent of immersive theatre, responsible for a collection of award-winning productions including 2017’s Masque of the Red Death and Sleep No More, staged in both London and New York, and 2013’s The Drowned Man, always in non-traditional spaces, where every theatergoer has a different experience.
Punchdrunk’s The Burnt City, the first production in eight years, is housed in two Grade II listed buildings in the heart of Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal in London. Based around the fall of Troy, the luxury car company has Porsche as its main sponsor. In keeping with Punchdrunk’s pioneering ways, the manufacturer has entered the production in ways that are both subtle and inventive.
“Porsche has been an extraordinary partner,” said Felix Barrett, artistic director and founder of Punchdrunk. “With Porsche, we’ve been working on subliminal, dream-like references, which are ‘Easter eggs’ for those already aware of the brand,”
“Pioneering spirit, creativity, innovative design, ambition and playfulness are values shared by Porsche and Punchdrunk,” said Sarah Simpson, CEO of Porsche Cars GB. main partner of ‘The Burnt City’, we have enjoyed helping to bring to life the sheer imagination of the Punchdrunk team’s incredible immersive experience.
The Punchdrunk X Porsche Experience was recently launched. Guests – one pair of tickets per month, won through an online lottery, will be driven to The Burnt City in the all-electric Porsche Taycan sports car. Enter the show through a private entrance through a mechanic’s garage, with a reserved VIP table where they can attend cabaret at Peep, The Burnt City’s very own bar. When guests are ready to leave, their personal driver will deliver them back home.
“I hate to use the word ‘synergy’, but that’s what sponsorship deals like this offer do. With theater makers having to source funding wherever they can, it makes sense to work with brands that are thematically related to the performance in question,” said Nick Curtis, chief theater critic for the Evening Standard. “Especially when we talk about productions like Cabaret and The Burnt City, which involved a lot of upfront costs – rebuilding or reconfiguring their venues – and large casts. Of course there’s a certain irony involved in paying a premium to drink Moet while watching a musical about a hedonistic society with no regard for impending doom: but that’s really the point.’