The Tape Escape

Created by Vanessa Smythe, Mitchell Cushman and Nick Bottomley

“the most ambitious project yet for the endlessly inventive immersive theatre company – The Toronto Star

Outside the March gives QUEEN VIDEO a re-birth with an immersive escape room experience that invites you to PUT YOUR LIFE ON PAUSE.

Most video stores let you take the movies home. But at THE TAPE ESCAPE, the rentals happen to you, pulling you deep inside its collection of thousands of VHS Tapes. Disappear back into 1999 with this love-letter to the lost art of browsing. See if you can escape into (and out of) some of your favourite movies by selecting from our collection of “in store rentals”.    

Rent Any of the Following:
Love Without Late Fees  
A Grown-Up’s Guide to Flying 
Yesterday’s Heroes 


Rentals Available on the Hour


Love Without Late Fees
Six Tapes to Find the One

More than just a video store, The Tape Escape runs its own matchmaking service—pairing up movie-lovers in its customer date-a-base. Two single renters jumpstart their relationship by sharing six video rentals. Because, as we all know, watching the right movie, at the right time, can ensure that ride off into the sunset. So many tapes to choose from, so many possible futures. Can you rent your way to happily ever after?
Capacity: 8 customers.

Rent this if you like: When Harry Met Sally, Sliding Doors, Run Lola Run

 *Rated BN for Branching Narrative


A Grown-Up’s Guide to Flying
Second shelf on the right and straight on ‘til morning

Gene may be the shortest kid in her class, but you’d never know it, given her sophisticated taste in cinema. On the auspicious occasion of her 8th birthday, Gene’s favourite person leads her on a treasure hunt through the nooks, crannies and shadows of the neighborhood video store. Before she’s finished, Gene will soar in ways she could never have imagined, and experience the world of film through a whole new lens.
Capacity: 4 customers.

Rent this if you like: Hook, Scent of a Woman, Singing in the Rain

 *RATED X for Marks the Spot


Yesterday’s Heroes
Embark into What Was

Some say that physical objects have a better memory than a hard drive. Buried somewhere inside the walls of The Tape Escape, a whispering voice calls out to you again and again. Venture on a quest through shelves overflowing with stories, to find the one that can’t be recorded over. There’s something deeper in store, but you might have to uproot the past to unlock the future.
Capacity: 4 customers.

Rent this if you like: Groundhog Day, Fern Gully, 12 Monkeys.

 *Rated DV for Deja Vu


*Movies are meant to be shared. Get in touch about group rates for THE TAPE ESCAPE:

THE TAPE ESCAPE is part of The Popcorn Double Feature. Also be sure to check out OtM’s upcoming production of Annie Baker’s THE FLICK

*This project received development workshops and public showings in 2017 and 2018 in partnership with The Kick and Push Festival in Kingston, Ontario.


  • Opens July 4, 2019

480 Bloor Street West
(former home of Queen Video)

Creative Team

Co-creators: Vanessa Smythe, Mitchell Cushman and Nick Bottomley

Production Designers: Anahita Dehbonehie and Nick Blais

Producer: Katherine Devlin Rosenfeld

Dramaturg: Griffin McInnes

Creative Technologist: Daniel Oulton

Assistant Video and Puzzle Designer: Allie Marshall*
*Thanks to Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program, funded by the Ontario Arts Council.