The Independent London Newspaper
23rd August 2017

Fancy a lock in? New 'escape game' attraction planned for former Camden Town pub

    Mary Portas and friends try Escape Plan at its current base in Kennington

    Published: 30 November, 2016
    By ELLA JESSEL

    A “LOCK-IN” usually means a few naughty after-hous beers in a backstreet pub with the blinds pulled down

    But operators of a new attraction planned for Camden Town are set to give the term a whole different meaning by transforming a long-closed pub into a new “escape game” experience, in which people race against the clock to free themselves from a locked room.

    Escape Plan Limited want to bring their Second World War-themed game, which they describe as “alternative activity to drinking”, to the old Camden Pub on the Curnock Estate in Camden Street.

    It follows the growing popularity of live escape game centres across London, including HintHunt in Eversholt Street, Euston, and Mission Breakout, which recently opened in a converted sauna in Kentish Town.

    They are often booked by friends and families, or work colleagues looking for team-bonding exercises.

    Escape Plan are looking to move from their current site in Kennington, which featured in a Channel 4 documentary in which retail expert Mary Portas investigated where disposable income is spent in the United Kingdom. 

    In Camden Town, players will get the chance to step back into the barracks of a prisoner-of-war camp in 1946, and work together to escape by solving puzzles and cracking codes.

    Alternatively, a second game will be based in an RAF bunker with “re-enactors”. Those who wish to dress up in army uniforms or clothes from the era are welcomed. 

    The rooms would have some “quiet ambient audio” to enhance the experience, but would not be of a volume to disturb neighbouring properties, the company said.

    Brendan Mills, co-founder and director of Escape Plan, works on the room designs himself and said the company would prove “good neighbours”. The conversion plans – at the bottom of a block of flats redeveloped after the pub closed more than five years ago – are currently on the desks of planners at the Town Hall.

    Mr Mills said: “I think there’s a couple of things that make escape games so popular: it’s about social interaction. 

    “A lot of our down-time can be quite insular, so people want alternatives to passive entertainment, in the same way you can do things like laser-tag and paint-balling. It gives you a role to play. It’s a step on from immersive theatre, it’s about the participation.”

     

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