20 April 2023

The Story Behind The Burnt City

As one of the best London theatre shows to date, The Burnt City is a masterpiece by immersive theatre experts, Punchdrunk. Step back in time to the Trojan War, and discover two armies locked in a ten-year battle. Mortals and gods collide in an epic adventure that’ll have you wanting to discover more immersive theatre in London. But did a city really burn and did the Trojan War happen? Let’s delve deeper.

The Trojan War Explained

Fearless warriors, love triangles, divine intervention and a giant wooden horse - the Trojan War is undoubtedly one of history’s greatest stories. It provides the backbone to The Burnt City, a story dedicated to exploring the decade-long conflict between Greece and Troy.

Put simply, it all began with an elopement - or an abduction, depending on which version of the tale you read. That part of the story is always a little murky, but what all storytellers agree on is that Queen Helen of Sparta ended up leaving Greece with the Trojan prince, Paris. Of course, this infuriated her husband, Menelaus, who dedicated his existence to seeking revenge. His Menalaus’ brother, Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, joined him, gathering a huge army and sailing over to Troy. It’s well-known that over a thousand ships crossed the Aegean Sea to launch one of the biggest and most ferocious attacks in Greek mythology.

Alongside Menelaus and Agamemnon, many Greek heroes sailed to war including Achilles - who was eventually killed by an arrow fired by Prince Paris - Odysseus, Nestor and Ajax. The war raged for ten years, and much blood was shed. But eventually the Greeks came up with a cunning plan. They feigned a retreat, and before sailing away, they left a huge wooden horse as a parting gift and to mark their surrender. Despite warnings, the Trojans took the horse into their walled city, not knowing that some of the best Greek soldiers were hidden inside, free to launch a fresh attack.

Meanwhile, the Greeks at sea had silently sailed back to Troy and were admitted by the warriors hidden in the horse. They sacked and burned the city, taking treasures and slaves before leaving. The Greek heroes then slowly returned to the mainland. It’s said that Helen also returned to Sparta with Menelaus following Paris’ demise at the hand of rival archer Philoctetes.

Is the Trojan War a True Story?

So is the Trojan War a true story? Archaeological evidence shows that a city located in the same place as the legendary Troy was indeed burned down. But the deeds of war heroes and their fate once the war was over can only be speculated upon.

With all this in mind, it’s easy to see how the Trojan War can be turned into epic interactive theatre in London. Book your tickets to see The Burnt City today and enjoy an immersive experience like no other.

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