View Full Version : Are we a Theatrical Production

The Asylum House
02-16-2010, 08:52 PM
Hey All,

We are in a 'fight' with the state labor board. the issue at hand is whether or not we can be considered a 'theatrical production'.

I know haunts run the entire gamut of home haunts to million dollar productions and from high throughput/high startle to the more elaborate and detailed haunts that employ the use of actors for an interactive experience.

The Labor board follows the thought process that Theatrical only includes: film, tv, radio, or stage play. We feel that since we are a haunt that employs over 60 actors in highly detailed rooms (sets) that put on an interactive show, we should be considered a theatrical production.

Has anyone else had any similar experience, or can give any advice on what makes a haunt 'theatrical'?


The Asylum Haunted House
Asylum House Productions

Jim Warfield
02-16-2010, 09:10 PM
"William Shakespere" Use some scary lines from some of his plays, give him credit and now what's the difference between your work and a theatrical production?
Don't be afraid of the old english wording and archaic terms, it will serve to weird-out the customers because you will all be so strange and "new" doing this, speaking in a strange language that takes some mental effort to figure out.
People will be scared. Think about it, consider this , all the old horror movies, the strange, rich family that can own a mansion or castle, they must be weird and know things we don't know! Right?
That is where and how it can begin.

02-16-2010, 10:04 PM
Off hand I would argue it point by point.

Haunted house uses make up and make up artists same as a theater,
You use actors, same as a theater,
people pay to attend your show, same as a theater,
your actors recite and memorize line, same as a theater,
people watch scenes take place same as a theater,
you have elaborate sets and props like a theater.
Youpeople present a ticket to attend your show, same as a theater
If a dinner theater or murder mystery troupe can be considered a theatrical production, why cant you?

Maybe shoot me a PM and let me know why you trying to be recognized as such

Twin Locusts
02-17-2010, 11:47 AM
The thing about codes, statutes, and laws is there is no such thing as an objective metric, everything hinges on the interpretation of the person or entity with jurisdiction - except when there's presidence in a ruling of a similar nature.

Without getting a lawyer involved I'd seek out a reputable 'expert' in your state; a large market theatre director, university drama dept chair etc. They may help you find language that will help your case.

As always, it will come down to the person [people] your dealing with, if it's a little person with a little power, good luck; challenging them will only ensure you don't get what you want.

What 99 haunters on the wall think, is immaterial, take one down pass it around, and they'll still deny your request. Get an authority on the subject from the perspective of the ruling body, then you may have a chance.

Best, O' luck!!!

02-17-2010, 07:35 PM
I have visited state univerities, talking with the dean's of fine arts about haunted houses and such. The first person that they always forward me to, is the head of the theater dept.

We most definetly are! Interactive theater!

Posting my now hiring flyer at the local theater center is where I get my best help.



02-17-2010, 08:45 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but what's the advantage (or not) if you are considered a 'Theatrical Production' and why is the Labor Board disputing your claim?

The Asylum House
02-20-2010, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the input: to answer the why do we care...

We were visited by the Department of Child Labor this year. They told us there had not been any complaints, just that, for no particular reason, they decided to check out the four largest haunts in the metro area.

While the inspector was there, one of the owner's daugher happened in and told me the ticket office needed some paperclips. The inspector went through the roof demanding the paperwork on her and insisting she was an emplyee just because she was on the property, and that she had 'done work' by telling me about the ticket office request. Needles to say the inspection was royal pain in the rump. Our main problem was with dotting the i's and crossing the t's in our documentation.

Granted, we do have a handful of actors under 18. All are kids of adults, often families, that have worked for us for years without any problems. IE: when mom and dad are at the haunt, the kids come with and hang out. Not that we mind following the rules, but if we can get classified as a theatrical production we are exempt from most of those rules, and the hassles of the paperwork and inspections that go with them.

Per the Department of Labor, there is no legal precedent or specific code in our state pertaining to any of this. They just made a decision within their office that haunted houses did not qualify under the theatrical production exemption. We have a hearing to dispute their decision and are looking for examples of other haunts around the country that have a strong argument for being a theatrical production.

Asylum House