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Department of Theatre and Dance Brings Thrills and Chills with Performance-based Haunted House at UC Davis

Contact:  Janice Bisgaard

530.752.5863 or


Promo video

Oct. 10, 2012

–The Department of Theatre and Dance kicks off its 2012-13 season with “The Haunt at Wright Hall.” This inaugural performance-based haunted house and dance party provides a spine-tingling way to celebrate the Halloween season. This year’s theme, A Twisted Fairy Tale: The Handless Maiden, includes seven performance stages with start times every 30 minutes and costume dance that runs from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. “The Haunt at Wright Hall” plays Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 25-28, and Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 30-31. Rated PG-13, all tickets are sold only at the Main Theatre, Wright Hall box office before the show.

Upon arrival at “The Haunt at Wright Hall,” visitors will be led in groups of 15 by a Guiding Spirit to the first of seven performance stages. Be prepared for terror of every dimension as the Department of Theatre and Dance employs its considerable talents and special effects hosting guests through eerie scenes of mayhem: The Bargain without Knowing; The Dismemberment; The Wandering; Finding Love in the Underworld; The Harrowing of the Soul; The Realm of the Wild Men; and The Wild Bride and Bridegroom. Audience experiences are intimate and immersive and include two mazes where demons and goblins dwell in and around shattered mirrors and dense, foggy marshes. Other ghoulish elements created by production designer and Master of Fine Arts candidate Travis Kerr include the Devil’s Forest, haunted castle and tree of tears.

Professor Jon D. Rossini’s students have written scripts for four of the scenes performed by the graduate and undergraduate student cast of 40. One script has been written by Professor Bella Merlin’s Master of Fine Arts acting class. The characters, including the Devil, King of the Underground Forest, Handless Maiden and Magician, wear elaborate masks and costumes. Their ingenious prosthetics and make-up are designed by Master of Fine Arts candidate Loree Sweger.

Direction of the various scenes has brought several UC Davis performance groups together. Studio 301’s Marisel Gabourel directs The Wild Bride and Bridegroom while Micaela Cirineli of the Dead Arts Society directs The Harrowing of the Soul. Professor Bella Merlin directs The Dismemberment while artistic director and doctoral candidate Josy Miller directs The Bargain without Knowing and Finding Love in the Underworld.

A visitor’s journey through the haunted environments at Wright Hall culminates in A Twisted Fairy Tale: The Handless Maiden’s wedding celebration where guests may dance the night away in the Arena Theatre. Guests may also skip the haunted house and solely enjoy the dance party.

Although dressing up is optional for  ”The Haunt at Wright Hall,” this offers an extra layer of Halloween fun. Costumes can be rented in advance or through 7:00 p.m. on performance nights at Wright Hall’s The Enchanted Cellar. For costume rental appointments and information, contact The Enchanted Cellar at 530.752.0740 or


Artistic Director Josy Miller is a theater director, scholar and educator whose work focuses on the utility of beauty and empathy in performance for social change. After working for five years as chair of the Oakland School for the Arts Theatre Department, Miller founded Hapgood Theatre Company, an Equity theater in the Bay Area. As artistic director, she led the company for five seasons, directing more than a dozen productions, while simultaneously doing freelance directing work with organizations such as Marin Theatre Company, the Eugene O’Neill Foundation and AtmosTheatre in San Francisco. Miller was a 2011 recipient of the Center for Cultural Innovation’s Emerging Arts Leader Award.  She is currently pursuing her doctorate in performance studies at the University of California, Davis, where she will direct “The Dogs of War,” her adaptation of Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses plays, in the spring of 2013.

Production Designer Travis Kerr is a second-year Master of Fine Arts candidate in dramatic art at UC Davis. His background is in scenic and lighting design. He recently worked on “Under My Skin” at the Pasadena Playhouse, “Twelfth Night” at Shakespeare Santa Cruz and “The Death of the Novel” at San Jose Repertory Theatre.

What: “The Haunt at Wright Hall,” a performance-based haunted house and costume dance party, rated PG-13.

When: Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 25-28 and Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 30-31; Haunted house: 7:30-10:30 p.m. starting every 30minutes; Dance party: 7:30-Midnight.

Where: Main Theatre, Wright Hall, UC Davis.

Tickets: $15 (or $10 for dance only) sold only at Main Theatre, Wright Hall box office before show.

More information including costume

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