Coming this Saturday to Shrewsbury: Prison Escape

Channel 5's Jailbreak title card

We’ve talked about SCRAP’s many-teams-at-once events, often taking place in hotel ballrooms and the like; more originally, Immersive Events are staging a mass escape game called Prison Escape at the former HM Prison Shrewsbury, known locally as the Dana Gaol, next Saturday and twice more on Saturdays in July and September.

Prisoners have the day to attempt to escape, the first challenge will be getting out of your cell. If you managed this you will then have to navigate around the site, avoiding ((actors playing prisoners, prison governors and prison)) officers and any prisoners who might ‘grass you up’. You will need to use all of your cunning to decide which is the best route out of the prison site and timing will be the key to success. Go too early and you will get spotted, go too late and another prisoner may beat you to the finish. ((…)) The first person to successfully escape and reach the ‘contact’ will win (although there is no guarantee anybody will escape).

I’m being a little loose with the image above, but that’s far more because the event reminds me more of the Channel 5 one-off reality show from the year 2000, Jailbreak, than anything else. The event will be likely necessarily be somewhat convoluted to permit anyone the chance to escape at all, but likely not to be nearly as convoluted as the show. Jailbreak wasn’t a huge hit, but I remember it fondly and am delighted to see firms try large-scale events like this. Players who do not escape in time will not be locked in the actual prison overnight… unless they’ve paid an extra £35 per head for the chance to do so! (Bring your own sleeping bag and foam Karrimat, or similar, otherwise you’ll be directly on a cold hard metal bedframe or the floor.)

In the past I’ve wondered whether sites might host large-scale events, and for my money, this completely fits the bill. It’s much more specifically a large-scale escape than most of the other large-scale events that there have been. The fact that it’s at least nominally a solo event, rather than a team event, makes it only the more intriguing and distinctive. More power to the Immersive Events team, and I’d love to know how it plays out from an escape enthusiast’s perspective!

And yet it’s far from the only interesting thing happening this Saturday…

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