Over forty pupils from Painsley Catholic College were treated to a private Alton Towers ‘Dungeon Experience’ before the new 2019 feature and the park was opened to the public.
Work began on transforming what was ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ into the Alton Towers Dungeon in September 2018 and was completed in just six months – 45,000 man hours. The 23 actors employed as part of the experience wanted to perfect their performances with feedback from their target audience and so invited Painsley to send a select group of students to the park.
The trip was an ideal fit as part of the Mastery Programme led by Painsley’s English department designed to improve the pupils’ communication skills and boost their confidence.
During the ‘Dungeon experience,’ the pupils engaged with characters and stories as they journeyed through a variety of different scenes connected with Alton Towers and the local area. These stories ranged from Dick Turpin to Molly Leigh, the infamous witch of Burslem. The students were then interviewed by the team about their experience, which gave them a chance to practice their spoken language skills whilst providing valuable feedback to enable the actors to fine-tune their performances.
“Listening to the ghostly stories told by the Alton Towers performers has helped the pupils to better understand the use of dramatic language as well as inspiring their imaginations. They all really enjoyed this experience; it was a fantastic opportunity to engage with local stories and provide a stimulus for future work. Because it was so interactive, it really brought the students’ learning to life.” commented Mrs Hopkinson, Head of English at Painsley.
Pupils and staff were selected to participate with a variety of the stories, including being locked in a cell, being put on trial and being subjected to treatment for the plague.
Pupil, Cara McCarney (Year 8) said, ‘It was fun and scary at the same time – we also learned about torture and its place in history.”
The new Alton Towers Dungeons Experience opened to the public on Saturday 23th March.