Soft Touch Arts Fright Nights

I was part of the first A Fright Before Christmas event at the end of 2013 / the beginning of 2014 as one of the actors. I loved it so much I was eager to do it again, but was told it was a one-off unless I took it on and led it myself. They're Soft Touch Arts-run events and the first one took advantage of the creepy vibe of the building they were moving into, before renovations started. By the time of the second one, at the end of 2014, those renovations were now underway: so this time we used an old building which was going to be demolished. The idea, which I take no credit for, is a horror experience which takes a linear path through the building. It follows a loose narrative driven by puzzles and by the actors; the audience enters the building for x reason, each time they move into a new room it triggers an event with the actors and / or they have to solve something to move forward. At the end they get chased out of a separate exit to the one they came through. It's a lot of fun.

The idea which I do take credit for is the spin-off; I applied for funding from The Mighty Creatives for the pilot year of their EMerge Day grants, which I think became for specialist in the following years once properly established. The spin-off was a one night exhibition on Valentines Day 2015. I kept the loose narrative from the 'fright nights', with performers in character throughout. Some wondered around the space and others stuck to specific zones. Everyone involved has their own practice though and so it was an opportunity to show that off: with a combination of existing work and stuff made specifically for the exhibition. The space this time was an entire disused floor above the Queen of Bradgate pub on Leicester High Street, right before they did renovations. Noticing a pattern with how we chose the spaces yet? I met with one of the owners to arrange everything and we were even able to hire out the chefs to make themed food and drinks. STA had loads of mannequins laying around, so me and artist Kieran Walsh collaborated on a series of mannequin lamp works (his speciality).

Kieran assisted me with both the events I led, guiding me with his experience, so that I could stay in the zone without getting stuck anywhere. Not to mention it was his friend at QoB who had offered for ST to use that space. The photos below are my getups in the order each event took place. Love a bit of horror performance art.