What? Immersive theatre is a style of theatre that removes the fourth wall of traditional theatre turning the audience into participants and engaging the five senses such as sight, sound, touch, taste and smell; a concept applied equally to multi-professional, human factor-based simulation. Peter Brook, one of our greatest theatre directors, says, ‘Drama is exposure; it is confrontation; it is a contradiction, and it leads to analysis, construction, recognition and eventually to an awakening of understanding’. This is without doubt what we do in simulation. We create scenarios, ‘the drama’, we create managing deteriorating patients, the ‘confrontation and contradiction’ and we enter debriefing, the ‘analysis, construction and eventual awakening of understanding’. Using the concepts of immersive theatre and drama, creating more realistic environments and authentic interactions, we can offer the participants a greater sense of reality in which to practice vital inter-professional medical care. High-fidelity simulation encompasses more than just a technological top of the range manikin which often comes at a premium cost. High-fidelity simulation is an attack on all of the senses, visually sick patients, noises and smells of the environment, even touch and taste. The soundscape of an emergency room, smells of humans, drugs, equipment, tastes of stewed tea and warm water, the touch of a sick patient or a disruptive relative in a visually authentic space creates the perfect setting for an immersive simulation experience.
So what? By implementing psychological, sociological and physical fidelity, we offer a unique way of practicing essential skills of interprofessional working not only to enhance patient care and safety but also to allow a greater understanding of ourselves and others in stressful, urgent and critical situations. Applying ideas from the world of drama and theatre, creating authentic immersive environments can give participants the freedom to be in the simulation and steer them away from acting in the simulation.