School in Bedford transformed into promenade theatre - and the audience come face to face with Jack the Ripper

From a classroom to a dungeon - on a cold dark evening, performing arts production students at Mark Rutherford School transformed part of the building into a promenade theatre.

The experience was based on the popular London Dungeons attraction, and the audience was required to travel around the school in groups meeting characters including Al Capone’s gang during the Valentine’s Day Massacre, Jack the Ripper, Henry VIII breaking from the Catholic Church, Dracula, Macbeth, Anne Frank, Maggie Dickson and finally Dr Knox and Burke and Hare.

Around 200 people witnessed the Dungeons performance and feedback has been outstanding, from people wanting to learn more about the various characters they met, to wanting to see it all again.

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Technical theatre and drama teacher Mr Doughty, who led the project, said: “This is the first time we’ve attempted a project of this scale and the response from the performing arts production students has been fantastic. All the actors involved joined the project as an extra-curricular activity, and without them the evening wouldn’t have been possible. All involved in this project have learnt a lot about the process, had a lot of fun and have shown what we can do at Mark Rutherford School.”

Headteacher Richard Millard said: “The unique Mark Rutherford learning experience extends far beyond a conventional classroom, ranging from a portable planetarium to a makeshift dungeon! Most of all it is simply a superb example of how a whole school can work together across a wide range of stakeholders to deliver an experience that can make learning much more exciting than traditional methods.”

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