Project Details

Alton Towers Resort
‘Anolis goes DARK at The Alton Towers Dungeon’

BACKGROUND

Alton Towers Resort is located in the village of Alton, Staffordshire and is the UK’s biggest theme park. Originally belonging to the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot family, the grounds at Alton Towers Resort were first opened to the public in 1860, it wasn’t until 1980 with the introduction of the then revolutionary Corkscrew rollercoaster, that Alton Towers Resort became known as a Theme Park.

Alton Towers Resort is now part of the Merlin Entertainments family and boasts a Theme Park with world-renowned rollercoasters, a Waterpark, spa, Extraordinary Golf and accommodation including the fully themed Alton Towers Hotel, Splash Landings Hotel, the UK’s only CBeebies Land Hotel, Stargazing Pods, and the Enchanted Village which includes Woodland Lodges and Luxury Treehouses. Set in 910 acres of land in central Staffordshire, Alton Towers Resort has over 40 rides and attractions designed for adrenaline-pumping experiences and family fun. Set within the grounds, the Resort continues to showcase the authentic stately home and elegant gardens which are maintained to the highest of standards and remain popular with visitors.

In 2019, Alton Towers Resort opened The Alton Towers Dungeon. The 45-minute experience journeys through five shows, a boat ride and six themed areas introducing guests to a real historical person from a key moment in Staffordshire’s history.
Each themed area is led by an actor and typically features audience interaction, sensory and lighting effects to set the scene bringing a sense of discomfort and unease to the guests narrating the story, scenarios, and characters around them. The Alton Towers Dungeon is located next to the Dark Forest behind the Tower Ruins, which fits perfectly with the history and heritage of the Towers.

The attraction aims to provide a frantically funny and seriously scary experience for families who dare to enter! Guests will be sentenced by the Bishop of Stafford, before being condemned to a traitor’s boat ride down the Black River. Guests walk through the dark chambers as they try to survive the plague, endure humiliation and pain at the hand of the Torturer, stop at the local tavern known to be one of Dick Turpin’s hideouts and visit the Witch of Burslem’s cottage. It was vital to source a fixture that offered perfect discretion for the Dungeon chamber environment, whilst not compromising on power and output. The lighting was such an important factor in creating the right ambiance and mood for guests entering the deluge of the Dungeon to be captivated from the outset.

SOLUTION

The Resort wanted to create the perfect environment and bring the Dungeon to life by installing discreet luminaires to illuminate key features, showcase the exhibits and performers in the attraction whilst setting the perfect platform to re-encounter history.

David Reynolds of Holovis was involved in the design work for the attraction and specified ArcSource 4MC Anolis luminaires due to their spectacular performance and seamless colour mixing. This compact small fixture offered the perfect solution for this interior application. 34 ArcSource Outdoor 4MC RGBNW and Warm White in black-housing were specified powered from 3 ArcPower16x6 allowed for individual control, all operated on Cat5. Its versatility offers homogenised colour mixing or fixed white from a discreet, recessed bright luminaire to set the mood, and set the right scene of this popular attraction.

The importance of specifying a discreet fixture by Alton Towers Resort, enabled the ArcSource to be hidden away from view and illuminate key features in the Dungeon as part of the storytelling delivered by actors conveying a fully immersive and interactive experience. Full RGBW and Neutral White LEDs were used for varied individual control and specific lighting of key elements and features in the depths of the dark chambers on the Black River. Ultimately the ArcSource offered high output from a small form factor whilst bringing to life exhibits and performers by creating an exciting and memorable experience. Great lighting was vital for this popular 45-minute visitor attraction as it journeys through 5 shows, a boat ride and 6 themed areas.

The fixtures needed to deliver high durability for the nature of the application and running days through the year so it’s important to have a product that continues to perform over an long-life cycle and excel both fixture mechanics and colour output for a truly immersive experience. Francis Jackson, Operations Director at Alton Towers Resort, said: “The Alton Towers Dungeon has brought something different to Alton Towers Resort. Guests can expect a spine-tingling tour through some of Staffordshire’s darkest and most horrible stories, which are brought to life with great storytelling and theatrics. The attraction is perfect for thrill seekers and families and it’s been great to see how much our guests enjoy the experience.”

PROJECT DETAILS

The Client: Alton Towers Resort

The Integrator: Holovis

Location: Staffordshire, United Kingdom

Product: ArcSource Outdoor 4MC

Industry Sector: Leisure & Tourism

KEY BENEFITS

• Discreet compact fixture. Ideal product to be concealed in the attraction scenario of the Dungeon whilst offering a powerful lighting output to set the appropriate scene
• High-output fixtures for the theme park lighting ensures cost effectiveness and longevity from a small form factor
• Durability of the fixtures due to the conditions of dungeon environment and the duration of the year the park is open and attracting visitors to experience this attraction, which is why an exterior IP rated fixtures was preferred
• Top hats were used on all the ArcSources to reduce glare from the side of the fixtures to the visitors moving through the Dungeon attraction
• Lighting technology providing an experience that stands out in the minds of guests as the fixtures remain invisible and frictionless whilst contributing to the immersive experience
• Utilising the ArcPower 16x6 driver meant that each of the 34 ArcSource lumunaires could be controlled individually for both colour and dimming as well as the driver being mounted in a plant room in a maintainable position
• Lighting was key to the storytelling magic, scene-setting and emphasising intricacies and details of the attraction

Image credits: Alton Towers Resort