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A haunting we will go

Credit: TERRY FIELDHOUSE

About 20 Fanshawe students from the arts-technical production program will be helping out at Fanshawe Pioneer Village's Midnight Village this year.


Emily Stewart | Interrobang | News | October 3rd, 2016




The Fanshawe Pioneer Village has new plans for Halloween; instead of the Haunted Hayride, there will be the Midnight Village. This year’s edition, A Tragical History Tour, by playwright Jason Rip, involves visitors exploring the Fanshawe Pioneer Village hearing some of the spookiest stories in London’s history.

Marianne Levogiannis, the marketing co-ordinator for the event, said that the Haunted Hayrides were geared towards families in the past. She added the Midnight Village walking tour will be suited for those 14-years-old and over.

“It’s going to be spookier,” Levogiannis said.

Jeff Wilmore, the arts manager, explained the team felt there should be something new this Halloween.

“The village itself in the evening became an important part of the overall effect that the theatrical event would have,” he said.

About 20 students enrolled in Fanshawe’s theatre arts-technical production program will also participate in the Midnight Village, by controlling the special effects, lighting and sound effects. Some will also help with the set up and take down, along with the event’s day-by-day operations.

Chad Croteau, a theatre arts-technical production professor, said that this will be the third year the program will be helping the Fanshawe Pioneer Village put on their Halloween event. He added that the students enjoy the experience.

“Most of our students are big Halloween fans, so they like working on that type of event,” Croteau said.

Wilmore said that the Fanshawe students will gain practical skills, while ensuring the Fanshawe Pioneer Village’s to do list is complete. “The quality of help we get from Fanshawe students has been fantastic. It’s practically professional level,” he said.

Croteau added that for many students, this will also be their first time producing for an outdoor event.

“There’s a big learning curve in terms of dealing with things like power distribution and protecting equipment from the elements and safe so people can’t steal it.”

Levogiannis said that the Midnight Village will be a rain or shine event, and suggested that guests come prepared for any situation.

Croteau explained that if there were light wind and a bit of rain, the show will still go on, but they would take extra steps to make sure the students are safe. Some of the steps are making sure that they’re wearing raincoats and boots, along with personal protective equipment.

“Every time we cancel a performance, that is a considerable amount of money that’s gone down the drain for the Fanshawe Pioneer Village,” Croteau said. “We have also developed and are continuing to refine a bunch of health and safety policies and standard operating procedures that deal specifically with different types of inclement weather.”

Croteau added, “Partnering with our community organizations like Fanshawe Pioneer Village, Ronald McDonald House, Storybook Gardens and all our other community partners, really gets our students linked into the London and Middlesex County community.”

In the past, police foundation students would also volunteer and guide the guests from the parking lot to where the Halloween event would start, along with doing crowd control during the evening.

“They’ve always been a great hand in that support,” Levogiannis said, adding anyone 18 years of age and older can contact the Fanshawe Pioneer Village if they are interested in volunteering.

Fanshawe has also assisted during other Fanshawe Pioneer Village events such as the summer theatre program and the Dickens’ Dinner.

The Fanshawe Pioneer Village is located on 1424 Clarke Road. Midnight Village: A Tragical History Tour will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from Oct. 14 to Oct. 27. Performances happen at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m., with additional 10 p.m. shows on Fridays and Saturdays.

Tickets are $11 plus HST. They can be purchased online at fanshawepioneervillage.ca.

Wilmore described the event as a blend of history and entertainment. “We interpret local history in ways that we hope the public and the community find engaging and fun. An event like this is certainly striking all of those chords.”
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