Advanced Television

Sky, HBO collaborate on live, immersive drama

February 13, 2020

By Nik Roseveare

Sky Studios, HBO, production company Plan B, theatre company Punchdrunk and writer Dennis Kelly are collaborating on The Third Day – an immersive TV drama with an innovative live event staged as part of the series.

News of the unique mix of TV and live drama was announced at Sky’s ‘Up Next’ content showcase, alongside the release of first look images for the series, which stars Naomie Harris and Jude Law.

Created by writer Kelly and Felix Barrett, artistic director of Punchdrunk, the project will tell three, standalone but interconnected stories, not only on screen but also in a live, immersive event.

The first part is Summer. Told over three episodes, which will air on Sky Atlantic and streaming service Now TV, Summer follows the story of Sam (played by Law), a man who is drawn to a mysterious Island off the British coast where he encounters a group of islanders set on preserving their traditions at any cost.

Following Summer, viewers will get the chance to become part of The Third Day world at a major immersive theatre event. Created by Punchdrunk and directed by Barrett, audiences will inhabit the story as it happens, live.

The Third Day concludes with Winter: told over a further three episodes on Sky Atlantic and Now TV. It follows Helen (played by Harris), a strong-willed outsider who comes to the island seeking answers, but whose arrival precipitates a fractious battle to decide its fate.

Each story can be experienced separately, with Summer and Winter working together as a complete series – but all three parts together describe a larger narrative, creating a unique experience for those who seek it.

Barrett explained: “To tell a story that spans TV and live action has been a long held ambition of mine. The Third Day will be both a TV show and a world you can enter, giving viewers the chance to live and breathe the narrative”.

Kelly added: “I wanted to make a series that was unsettling and disturbing but that also spoke to fears that ran deeper than horror. The themes of the Third Day have long been obsessions of mine – it is about loss and hope and how both of those things can distort the mind in surprising and brutal ways.”

Cameron Roach, Director of Drama, Sky Studios, commented: “The Third Day is an imaginative and truly innovative series. The unique approach to storytelling is ground-breaking and we’re so proud to be able to share the compelling world created by Dennis and Felix with our audience and to invite them to truly experience the show in a game-changing way.”

The series will air in May in the UK and Ireland on Sky Atlantic and Now TV, and in the US on HBO.

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