Shannon Kiddell and I created this event for young people called “murder at the museum” at the National Museum of Scotland for the Stories of the World project. As you can guess from the title it involved solving a murder mystery using the clues and dialogue from the characters involved.
We roped in six drama students and one professional actor and let them have free reign in terms of the dialogue, based on characters created by us. The characters were called Richard Penicuik, Monica Greyfriar, Dean Mossman, Louise Bute, Marie Rossend and Humpfrey Mills and all were suspects in the murder of Dr Charlie Lewis, Scottish History Curator. The names were all based on objects in the Kingdom of the Scots gallery where the victim was found.
The whole night’s dialogue was improvised from the actors’ minds and this helped to create a natural effect of nervousness and reality.
The night started with drinks and nibbles in the Boardroom: the weather was amazing and the windows made a cool effect as the sun went down. We had created mocktails and given them names like “murder she drank” and “Midsomer mocktail”.
The group then went downstairs to the “crime scene” where they encountered a body, cordoned off with police tape. They had to find the clues stashed about and give them to our off duty “police officer” Ronnie Simons. They were then escorted back upstairs where they had to question the suspects and another character was revealed! Dun dun dun!
The group then paused for a break where they had time to discuss what had happened and find the final clues for the night.
After the break, the final character was revealed and all the suspects questioned. The policeman summed up the evidence and then gave the groups time to think things over. Luckily our clues were difficult enough yet not too difficult that the murderer was revealed; only one group got it! They were awarded prizes and then the guests left.
We are very proud of our event and feel that it was a great achievement by the both of us. We are hoping to create more events based for young people and hopefully we’ll be given that chance based on the success of this night.