View Full Version : New haunt starts construction

07-01-2009, 10:53 PM
Woo hoo! After a false start last season (our event space wasn't constructed in time) we are under way building our new haunt at Western Oregon University. The funding is secure, the scene shop is constructing walls and the scenic painters are just waiting for something to paint. We've got a story, characters, music, sound effects and special effects. I've seen some of the initial designs from the costume designer (way cool!) and the props and set dressing are starting to pile up. Last week I spent some time in a Level A hazmat suit just to get in the mood (wow - those things are going to need some fans built in!).

Anyway, so far, so good. Its a small haunt, but a good size for our first effort - 900 sq ft or so. We have the benefit of some real seasoned (theatre) pros lending their talents and their equipment. We've got a large actor pool and a whole lot of excitement. We could use a bit more haunt experience, but I guess that we'll be getting that soon.


Allen H
07-01-2009, 11:31 PM
Id love to hear the theme of your show, best of luck and keep us updated on your progress.
Allen H

07-01-2009, 11:40 PM
Yeah, good luck to you, and keep us posted on how it goes.

07-02-2009, 09:57 PM
I gave a fair amount of thought to a theme that I could afford to stage our first year and that would still be entertaining to me as a designer. A lot of renovation and construction is going on all over campus right now (that's how I got a gymnasium to work with) so I came up with the idea of a door discovered behind an old brick wall. Behind that, well, that's the story. An old medical lab from the '50s, cold-war propaganda, psychic research, tragedy, ghosts, government cover-up, etc.

I have access to a fair amount of old stored stuff on campus, as well as the State Surplus warehouse which receives odds and ends from all the government agencies, including the miltary; so far I've packed off Level A hazmat suits, body bags, old medical furnishings, truly magnificent hospital-style curtains and some pretty cool electrical gauges.

Oh, and the portion of the building that I'm not using for the haunt is now a high-tech nurses training program (for real)! I don't know if they are going see the humor in all this or not. We'll find out when they see my undead nursing staff for the first time....


07-02-2009, 10:40 PM
That is such great news! We all love hearing about new haunters who are so excited to succeed in their exploits. One hitch here is having done the right amount of research into the workings of the show before the moment of truth comes because proper knowledge is the ultimate key to success. Also be sure to get some nice pics and vids so you can show off your baby to the rest of the industry.

07-03-2009, 02:58 PM
Well, in an ideal world I would have liked to have worked at some other haunt for a year or two before staging our own, but my work schedule won't allow for it. This haunt counts as a class (two, actually) so it fits into my teaching schedule. So to help fill my knowledge gap, I went to Transworld two years ago, subscribed to industry magazines, have been reading posts here steadily, and went through as many haunts as I could get to last year (14, I believe). Folks have been gracious enough to tell me about their work and give behind the scenes tours. I also will be relying on folks we know to answer questions as they arise.

I've been talking with our campus safety officials regularly to keep them apprised of the plans and they communicate with our Fire Marshal whenever there are questions. I have a good relationship with all of the above due to previous years of theatre and they're used to me presenting thorough designs in advance so that we can talk through safety issues. I'm still working on the complete safety plan, but the preliminary stages have met with approval. One of the very first things we purchased were the exit lights!

07-06-2009, 10:13 PM
Here are a couple of picts of the new space. Everything is painted black (wow its dark in there when the lights are out!), high ceilings, wood floors, a nice lockable room in the corner with an upper deck that is right at my 10' haunt wall height.

Right now there is a play in rehearsal in the space - that's what the furniture and tape lines on the floor are for. A few of my new haunt walls can be seen leaning in the corner though.

Lets see if I can make a picture load....



07-07-2009, 02:44 PM
Very exciting!!! Keep the pictures coming!

07-08-2009, 11:44 AM
Wow....I can see that deck having a LOT of potential for scares. I can't wait to see how your first haunt comes along. I'm sure it will be an inspiration for me seeing someone start from scratch!