Whodunnit? No one has a clue yet, but Wentworth Woodhouse has been left in no doubt about the popularity of its upcoming murder mystery night, which is the brainwave of a group of young local creatives.
An interactive event running throughout the Grade I listed mansion, all 300 free places for the June 21 Scene Of The Crime event were snapped up within hours of a social media announcement.
The murder scene is the grand Georgian Marble Saloon, where a party to celebrate a movie launch is in full swing.
Ticketholders will find actors performing around them, and then must set out for the State Rooms and beyond to work out how to solve the whodunnit via a series of interactive activities, from live scenarios to film flashbacks taking audiences to different movie eras.
The murder-mystery was dreamed up by nine Young Producers who make up the mansion’s 2023 House of Future Creatives team. They will be helping Rotherham to prepare for 2025 when the borough becomes the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture: a year-long festival created by children and young people, for everyone to enjoy.
The team members, who are aged 16 to 24, all either live, work or study in Rotherham. Their 14-week training programme started in February and saw them employed two days a week by Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, thanks to funding secured by the Trust from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund through the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
“We challenged them to produce a one-night event which could be turned into a crowd-puller at the Children’s Capital of Culture festival, and gave them total freedom,” said Steve Ash, the Trust’s Digital Projects manager – who can be found playing the detective on Scene of The Crime night.
“They dreamed up a real-life Cluedo game and worked incredibly hard, arranging everything from hair, make-up and costume to set design, script and timings. Clues and conundrums will need to be found and solved in nine of the mansion’s rooms. It will be good to see the mansion’s spaces used in new ways.”
Added Steve: “Judging by how quickly Scene Of The Crime sold out, it’s clear there is great potential for future Wentworth Woodhouse murder-mysteries. The house is keen to do more ‘experience’ events, having had great success with its Candlelight Tours and its Once Upon A Christmas event for families.”
This is the second time Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust has stepped in to upskill young people in creative arts ahead of the Children’s Capital of Culture.
Last year, Creative Producers took over the house with a two-night event which included a premiere of the team’s very own movie.
Said the Trust’s CEO Sarah McLeod: “We are really looking forward to the murder-mystery event and are proud to be playing a part in the development programme for Children’s Capital of Culture by upskilling young people who will be spearheading activities in 2025. We hope their time with us helps them on their journey into creative careers.”
Children’s Capital of Culture Programme Manager, Sarah Christie, concluded: “The sell-out success of Scene Of The Crime is a testament to the passion and imagination of the young people who’ve created and planned the event, and to the team at Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust who have supported them every step of the way.
“Children’s Capital of Culture is all about helping local young people to develop their skills and talents. We’re delighted to be working with the Trust on this project, and can’t wait to see what brilliant things our Young Producers do next!”