Category Archives: Wisbech Castle

One Thing, Then Another Thing

One Thing, Then Another Thing

I’ve had very little time to blog recently and so all sorts of stuff has passed by without comment on this page.

The Christmas Light Switch On went perfectly, despite a few hiccups behind the scenes, the whole event was fab and the turnout broke records, again.  Each year we have to move everything up a notch and more and more people come along.  Yes, there was the usual handful of whiny political moaners, but they did nothing to dim the success of this amazing event.

Meanwhile our MP became Brexit Secretary sparking a great spectacle of emotion, opinion, joy and fury.  From the point of view of Hard Brexiteers like myself, its disappointing.  But I’ve known Steve Barclay a long time and I just don’t buy the idea that he’s “sold out.”  I hope and believe that he is playing a long time, smiling along with the Prime Minister while knowing full well this ridiculous deal will never get through Parliament.  If this is how things go then he’ll be an important man, negotiating our way through the inevitable No Deal situation.

Tomorrow, we have royal visitors.  Prince Charles and Camilla will be coming to Wisbech to visit St. Peters Church and meet representatives from many local voluntary organisations and heritage organisations.  Wisbech Castle has a stall, as do many others.  The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are, of course, VIPs on a massive scale and preparations are well underway for the big day.  I won’t personally be meeting them, I ceded my place on the stall to allow an extra volunteer to go.  But I’ll be outside the Castle at the appropriate moment with other volunteers, hoping to catch a glimpse.  A great day for our Town.

I’ve got to get my November newsletter out this week (running out of days in November) and we are still wall to wall meetings and planning for Christmas events so there’s really no spare time before Christmas at all.  Never mind, who needs sleep? :)

Castle Of The Dead – Finished!

Castle Of The Dead – Finished!

After three huge, sold out nights of Castle of the Dead, the event is over.  Time to move on to the next thing!

Wisbech Castle team would like to thank Tony Reader for all his hard work with our lights and electrics. Pam and Roger Rawson for being briliant with guests who needed help recovering from the fear and Unknown Beauty (Nicole Handley) for her brilliant make-up work. https://www.facebook.com/UnknownBeautyOfficial Finally we must thank Nine Lives Theatre company https://www.facebook.com/ninelivestheatrecompany/ for their incredible performances. Also Ben Prest Photography https://www.benprest.co.uk/ and David and Jess Oliver for their First Aid support. We could not have run Castle Of The Dead without these people and all the other amazing volunteers.

Most of all thanks to our incredible actors and volunteers, too many to list, who made such a fun show possible.

 

Castle of the Dead – Day One

Castle of the Dead – Day One

I’ve been going to scare attractions with friends for a few years now and I’ve often wondered if we could put one on.  I’m a game designer by trade and occasionally a writer and I’ve mulled over lots of ideas over the years.  But the first time I was able to play with them was Halloween 2017, where the Town Council brought in a haunted house fairground attraction and we upped the ante by opting to put live actors and a “story” into the mix.

Luckily, there are a fair few talented Councillors and friends of the Town Council because otherwise the idea simply wouldn’t have progressed.  But we were able to make the event work and Sorrow House was born – the story of a group of escaped lunatics who had holed in up a HMO and really didn’t want to leave. :)  One of the characters, “Big Baby”, was played by Sam Hoy who was far and away the most terrifying actor.  So much so that when we bring the same haunted house back this weekend, the plot is a sequel called “Sorrow House 2, the Revenge of Big Baby” centering on that characters continuing spooky story.

But Sorrow House is just a bit of fun.  The real opportunity to get our scare on came this year via the Wisbech Castle.  I’ve been thinking how great a scare attraction had the potential to be and working on the plot and script for some time.  What really made this possible was simply having such a lot of dedicated volunteers with a wealth of talent.  I genuinely thought we could make this a special event and provide not just great entertainment for the town but also be a cool fundraiser.

And so Castle of the Dead was born.

Preparations for Castle of the Dead have taken over a month.  Volunteers putting in their energy, skills and imagination to help develop the plot, the props, the property.  It’s been quite a journey, made no less difficult by the fact that we had to simultaneously do all the normal work around the Castle, and open it for its public tours, and open the new Cafe.  But somehow, thanks to a tireless group of very dedicated people, the project took shape.

It appears that the Town was hungry for something like this because by the time the week of the show came we had all but sold out of every timeslot.  We had space for a handful of walk-ins but otherwise there were no more tickets available.

Tonight the Castle of the Dead open its doors for its first evening (of three) and the guests – or should I call them “official observers” – began to arrive.

Our team is as varied group from teenagers to pensioners, from every walk of life.  Three members of the team are autistic in one form or another.  Two are disabled.  Yes we do also have a few more experienced actors, but many of our volunteers have never ever done anything like this before.  In fact quite a few never imagined they WOULD do anything like this.  And yet – wow.  They just knocked the ball out of the park tonight.  The opening night could not have gone better.  It really couldn’t.  You could hear the screams for miles – but when the survivors of the Zombie Onslaught emerged from their final encounter with Wisepenny the Clown and moved into the Castle for hot chocolate and cake, it was all laughter and smiles.

I am so proud of the team.  You can feel when something just goes well – the buzz, the click, the feeling that there’s an energy to what you are doing.  Yes, we were scaring people – in the best possible way.  But it was a whole lot of fun and everybody said so.  Tonight the Wisbech Castle Working Party, volunteers and Friends Of the Castle put on an incredible, sold out, blockbuster of a first event.  Not a penny of public money was spent, rather we have raised a considerable sum for Wisbech Castle.

Not only that, but I feel we may have a new annual event on our hands.  Because when you have this much fun doing something the first thing you begin to think about it “how can we make it better next year…”

We still have Thursday and Fridays shows to get through.  I can’t wait.

Castle Cafe Opens

Castle Cafe Opens

Nice article in the Fenland Citizen

 

Castle Cafe Grand Opening Day

Castle Cafe Grand Opening Day

Do You Want A Balloon?

http://wisbechcastle.org/castle-of-the-dead/

Castle Of The Dead

Castle Of The Dead

Reserve your tickets NOW right HERE.

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Wisbech Castle Update, 5th September 2018

Wisbech Castle Update, 5th September 2018

Having spent a few hours at the Castle today its exciting to see that it remains a hive of activity.
 
We are moving into the closing stages of a preparations and we expect the house and Cafe to be open to the public later this month, with the Vaults to follow a month or two later.
 
Today we had the alarm people in revamping and upgrading our security and checking all our Fire Alarms Precautions (all have a clean bill of health.)
 
We had workmen in quoting on some of the jobs our volunteers can’t do, as well as volunteers in painting, repairing, cleaning, gardening and setting up the Pump House for its future use as a Cafe and Tourist Information Centre.
 
There is a real feeling of anticipation as we can see the end in sight now. The number of completed jobs are stacking up behind us and the queue of future jobs is shrinking in front. More and more areas are “finished” now. Things that seemed very distant not so long ago; the Gift Shop, the Vaults Refurb, some other wishlist projects, are becoming imminent.
 
Wisbech Castle has already had its first couple of commercial bookings, despite not being “officially” open yet. We have some exciting events planned for the next three months, and we hope to have our “official opening” ceremony of the entire project in November sometime, that being the point where all the main tasks should be complete.
 
We remain dramatically under budget, although costs will rise once the place is open and being used more regularly by the public – but we feel that we have the budget well under control.
 
Once everything is “done” and we have had the house, gardens, cafe and vaults open to the public for a few months we will begin to look at “phase 2” of the Project, which will be developing its use as a venue, adding more value, enhancing the historic, heritage and educations offers, and making improvements to the site which will benefit the town for years to come.
 
Once again, huge thanks to the incredible volunteers who have done so very much, despite the occasional setback, and continue to be soul of the project. Without them, we would be nowhere. Together, we have blown all predictions out of the water and there’s lots more to come.

Walled-Up Secret Room Uncovered in Wisbech Castle

Walled-Up Secret Room Uncovered in Wisbech Castle

We have some EXCITING NEWS.

Wisbech Castle have discovered a walled-up secret room in the Castle grounds.

This room is not on the current maps and although we did wonder if there might be something there we had not confirmed there was … until now.

Two test drill holes have revealed a complete underground room, in good condition, which has been hidden away for a very long time indeed. it appears to be empty, but clear and mostly dry.

Now we will need to do some checks to see if its safe to open the room up and once that it confirmed we’d like to do so.

More news to follow on the Wisbech Castle Secret Room in September.

UNBOSI Off To Pastures New

UNBOSI Off To Pastures New

Well that was a crazy four days at Wisbech Castle.

Hosting the UNBOSI team and helping them deliver their grand experiment was certainly an experience.

Thank you to all the Castle volunteers who gave their time to put the event on.

Thank you particularly to UNBOSI for bringing such a lot of fun, inspiration and enjoyment to our town.

But most of all, thanks to the hundreds and hundreds who paid a visit to be amazed, aMUSEd and astronished on this voyage of discovery.