Something bad this way is coming. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln temple building will transform into Lincoln’s only haunted attraction with the opening of ShakesFear at the Haunted Temple.
Not for the faint of heart, the immersive theatrical experience produced by the Nebraska Repertory Theater will frighten guests on a torturous journey to discover one of Shakespeare’s lost plays. Skilled actors and professional production designers will offer spooky jumping fears and directional mistakes for thrill seekers and Shakespeare fans alike. Created by Andy Park and Kevin Rich, ShakesFear is a haunted house that seeks to bring Shakespeare back to his populist roots while spooking and entertaining a diverse audience. The attraction will open on October 15 and close on October 31 in the Temple Building, which is said to have its own haunted past.
ShakesFear is the only haunted attraction within Lincoln city limits due to strict fire regulations, according to Rick Campos, University of Nebraska and previously City of Lincoln fire inspector.
“For the past five plus years there hasn’t been a haunted house in the city because other people couldn’t meet the criteria,” Campos said.
The ShakesFear team approached Campos early on to meet the requirements, which included a heavy-duty sprinkler system and fire treatment suits and materials.
“From a security perspective, they’ve put a lot of work into this,” he said. “I experienced the performance and it’s great. I highly recommend it. “
ShakesFear immerses audiences in the haunting world of Shakespeare as they encounter gruesome ghosts, a murderous king, and a bloody butcher while working to protect one of Shakespeare’s lost plays.
“You have actors approaching you and they speak in Shakespearean dialogue, and that alone is unsettling,” said Andy Park, co-creator and artistic director of ShakesFear for the Nebraska Repertory Theater.
ShakesFear is also designed for Haunted House fans and Shakespeare fans.
“People who may not also know Shakespeare will still enjoy the experience,” Park said. “They will go to a magical forest, enter a spooky castle, and meet terrifying characters along the way. It could become a wonderful gateway to Shakespeare in a very new and exciting way. “
Shakespeare fanatics will enjoy Easter eggs throughout the experience, such as seeing Lady Macbeth in a window, the ghost of Hamlet’s father, and Brother Lawrence’s chapel from “Romeo and Juliet”.
The ShakesFear team includes professional actors who interact with the audience and guide them through the Shakespearean narrative.
“It’s a great experience for our actors,” said Christina Kirk, executive director of the Nebraska Repertory Theater and director of the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film. “The actors wear full face masks, trigger special effects, and work with technology they might encounter on a Hollywood film set. It’s a lot more complex than jumping out of a dark corner and yelling “Boo! “”
“The idea is to create an immersive environment in which people get involved in the story,” Park said. “We have an amazing decorator, Jill Hibbard, who has created an amazing world that is both scary and beautiful. “
The creative team includes Jill Hibbard, specializing in large-scale puppetry, props and performing art; Michelle Harvey, the lighting designer, who recently finished lighting a magic show in Las Vegas; Jason Hibbard, technical director of the project and of the Glenn Korff School of Music; and Jeff O’Brien, CTO of the Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, as a sound and systems designer.
These professional credentials contribute to a high quality haunted house experience with masterful experiences every step of the way.
“The production values we bring to the experience can exceed what most haunted houses do,” Park said. “The experiment uses a variety of pneumatic devices, animatronics, and other special effects like smoke and lasers. Most importantly, the show features a cast of skilled actors who bring a chilling unpredictability to the experience.
Park and Rich created ShakesFear as a way to bring Shakespeare back to his populist roots.
“I think at one point Shakespeare got elitist,” Park said. “Somehow it turned into something that wasn’t for everyone, but if you look at Shakespeare’s roots it was populist entertainment, like” Game of Thrones “.”
This isn’t the duo’s first attempt to repopulate Shakespeare. Park and Rich have hosted an immersive outdoor Shakespeare event for several years at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and the show has sold out several times. This experience inspired them to create a new take on the show and emphasize the haunted attraction aspect.
To prepare, the team participated in one of the biggest haunted attraction conferences, Transworld, where they learned well-kept trade secrets and were inspired to create the one-of-a-kind ShakesFear experience for Lincoln.
“Halloween is all about being scared, having fun, and sharing your fears with friends and family, and we’re going to make it happen,” Park said. “I think it’s scary, but I also think it’s beautiful. It’s beautifully designed, and I’m really excited for people to see and experience it.
ShakesFear is not recommended for people under the age of 13. Tickets can be purchased online in advance for $ 15 to $ 20.