Beloved : An Immersive Theater Experience

Date of Award


Document Type

MSU-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


College of the Arts


Theatre and Dance

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Elizabeth McPherson

Committee Member

Kyle deCamp

Committee Member

Apollinaire Scherr


As a veteran immersive theater performer, I recognize the field has been rapidly evolving over recent decades. The research for this thesis traces the American roots of immersive theater as it currently exists in the United States, acknowledging the Canadian and British influences that have shaped the genre since the 1980’s. As the term immersive theater becomes a broad catch-all phrase to describe any form of theater or dance theater that may utilize environmental, site-specific, or interactive performance, I consider a stricter definition of the term to understand the roots of the genre.

Beloved, a 60-minute immersive work developed for this thesis, investigates an audience-centric model of immersive theater where the audience not only inhabits the created world but also is a necessary entity that drives the work forward. The work stemmed from my 2019 production Of Others that served as a workshop for this larger endeavor. Because of the outbreak in New York of the COVID-19 global pandemic, my collaborators and I were unable to complete Beloved, but I describe the creative research in anticipation of a future premiere.


The performance video is restricted to the Montclair State University community but the PDF file of the thesis, which is located at the bottom of the screen, is available to anyone interested in reading it.

File Format


Dutton-Reaver, Caitlin_Redacted.pdf (6118 kB)
PDF file of thesis

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