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Behind the scenes

The female faces of UK horror

Team behind Alton Towers Resort's Scarefest

The Technician side of the theme park industry tends to be male orientated, yet this year’s Scarefest team at Alton Towers Resort is breaking the mould. The scenic construction team alone is 55% female and they can ‘geek it up’ with the best of them - in their own words!

This incredibly talented team of women work behind the scenes at the UK’s biggest live Halloween event, starting preparations five months before and are responsible for create something truly horrifying, bringing your worst fears to life.

Known as ‘scaresperts’ they are the respected scare experts in scenic construction, set design, costume creation, special effects and more, using an array of skills from sewing and prosthetics, carving and sculpting, carpentry, mould making and scenic painting, to graphic design and programming.

Collectively, they create the stuff of nightmares - 360 degree multi-sensory experiences that have won industry awards.

They’re responsible for making the unimaginable a reality – from getting you to believe you’re in a room that is suddenly ablaze and you’re about to be burnt alive, to being on board a sinking ship from the 19th century whilst being chased by creatures of the deep with no way out, or that you have just come face-to-face with a character you only thought existed in your darkest nightmares and is now very much beside you.

In 2019 alone the team has had to build five world-class scare mazes, create 40 costumers per maze with no two the same, fit 350 lights to illuminate the Towers, pathways and everything in between and compose 3 brand new sound tracks.

This October their work will be experienced by hundreds of thousands from across the globe as they experience Scarefest at Alton Towers, the UK’s biggest live Halloween event.

The changing landscape of the industry has also led to a larger remit and scope of work – it’s no longer just gigs or theatre productions. People want more and more multisensory experiences, causing more demand for technical experts in the leisure industry.

Head of Entertainments at Alton Towers Resort Chris Carter, says that roles in this area are becoming more IT driven, making it more appealing and accessible to a wider talent pool, regardless of gender. It is more about the media mix, vast array of skills and breadth of knowledge required to make a complex maze experience come to life.

The team have to work in geographically complex spaces, from inside intricate horror mazes, to creating fully immersive experiences in listed buildings that can subsequently be removed without trace – which is incredibly complex. They spend time split between the workshops and in the construction sites across the Resort and behind the scenes at Alton Towers.

As well as using specialist skills, the team are also sometimes found experimenting with everyday household and recycling them into the weird, wild and wonderful from old timber, to books and dolls!

October 2019

Merlin Entertainment