“THE pleasure would be entirely mine if you might attend my little party this evening,” says Jay Gatsby, as indeed he said this time last year, as played by Oliver Tilnay for The Guild Of Misrule in the now much-missed pop-up arts space of The Fleeting Arms in an empty pub for sale in Gillygate, York.

Alexander Wright's free-form immersive stage adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel returns to York from tonight, this time in the refurbished 41 Monkgate, where Pick Me Up Theatre artistic director and designer Robert Readman has been overseeing a steady upgrade of the building both in the John Cooper Studio Theatre, the stairwells, and even the garden area. He has now designed the Gatsby set too, spread throughout the theatre's rooms.

The Guild Of Misrule, working in tandem with York Theatre Royal and Theatre Delicatessen, are staging their installation-based production in Sheffield too, with a separate cast under Wright's direction at the Moor Deli in an old Woolworth’s building, such has been the impact of last year's show.

The Press will focus on York and the returning cast, who once more will plunge dandily dressed audiences into the world of Fitzgerald’s seminal jazz age tale. They will be performing in a theatre transformed into a myriad of bars, boutiques and bedrooms, where guests (yes, you, the audience) can expect a night full of red hot jazz, bootleg liquor and more than a little scandal as they chase, follow and infiltrate one of Gatsby’s infamous parties.

No stranger to immersive theatre with his Stillington company The Flanagan Collective, Wright says: "Creating this production of The Great Gatsby is hugely exciting. It was a real passion project last year, creating a show with very little precedent in York. York is home to some wonderful and remarkable theatre, but I think The Great Gatsby was the first bit of free-form immersive work the city has seen and the reaction was quite amazing."

Once again, audiences are invited to dress up in Twenties' garb, bring their dancing shoes, sample some local gin and dance the night away in Fitzgerald's infamous tale of jazz, sex and tragedy, for which 41 Monkgate will be transformed into 1920s' prohibition America, where audience members might find themselves in a secret board meeting with Gatsby himself. Or they might wind up giving financial advice to George Wilson as he tries to climb out of the ash heaps; or they might be in Daisy’s bedroom, arranging a secret date with her new lover.

York Press:

Oliver Tilnay as Jay Gatsby in The Guild Of Misrule's The Great Gatsby. Picture: Ben Porter

Crucially, the audience are free to choose their route and journey through the two-and-a half-hour show, which combines spectacular set pieces with intimate encounters and countless possibilities of who, where and what to follow next.

The likes of Thomas Maller, Michael Lambourne and Holly Beasley-Garrigan learnt plenty from participating in last year's premiere cast. "Every night was a useful tool for us as actors, such as experiencing audience members' intuition when the main scene might have been happening in another room but still feeling they could explore the space," says Thomas.

"We structured what we had very well so the whole thing felt free but as an audience member you felt safe because a structure was in place," says Holly. "That meant the show could be very different every night but all the cogs were always turning in the same direction."

"It was quite strict for us and rigidly scripted once we were in a scene, and as we were using such an established, well-written text, we had no need for a lot of modern-day fudge as we had Fitzgerald's words as a bedrock," said Michael, who once more will play the narrator, Nick Carraway.

"The story takes precedence over everything else, as although everything feels free for the audience as they move around the building, our job is to steer the story," says Holly. "I learnt that they liked to be involved...

..."And the more they listened and reacted and responded, the more they got out of it," adds Thomas. So the message is clear to any first-time partygoers for this Gatsby party season. Look, listen, take part, dance!

"I found that as many as 95 per cent of the audience went along with it all last time, wanting to be told stories and to dance late into the night," says Michael. "We all felt they bought into the magic of the evening, maybe by playing a character they invented; they even gave themselves names, an American accent and a reason to be at the party, and chose which side to be on: Nick's side or Gatsby's."

You are invited to do just that, maybe for the first time or maybe again, from tonight, through Christmas, to the New Year, and as last year, the production run will end with a spectacular New Year’s Eve party. "And after Gatsby, who knows where the next immersive experience will pop up," says Alexander. "We’ve got some ideas but that would be telling."

The Guild Of Misrule presents The Great Gatsby at 41 Monkgate, York, from tonight until January 7; doors open at 7pm each night. Visit yorktheatreroyal.co.uk for show dates and to book tickets. Alternatively, book on 01904 623568.