A school hall with a stage makes the perfect venue for a murder mystery night. Make sure there is enough room for your guests to sit around tables, as well as having a performance area for the 'action'.
Employing the services of a specialist supplier is recommended – although it means you'll have an initial cost up front, it will be worth every penny. The format can differ from company to company - some will simply put on an interactive play where your guests are the detectives, while others will spend the day working with a cast from among your number to perform in the evening.
Consider whether to provide food or ask guests to bring their own. Discuss how the play will be broken down so that you can plan food and refreshments around intervals. If you plan to run a bar, you will need to obtain a Temporary Event Notice from your local authority, for the sale or supply of alcohol.
Sell tickets in advance and adopt a ticket-only policy on the door. Make sure the ticket price covers your costs and provides a reasonable profit. Source prizes for the winning team - the table who guessed the murderer and motive. If guests are wearing fancy dress, appoint some judges to offer a prize for the best outfits.
Publicise the event well in advance on posters, in the local press and via social media. Generate a buzz of excitement and ask any local shops or businesses if they will display your poster. Get editable posters from PTA Print Shop. You'll need a few volunteers to check tickets on arrival and to help set up and clear away.
Choose which murder mystery play you want and use this to theme the rest of your event – this could vary from a 1920s gangster game, a 'killer' reunion, or 'murder on the dance floor'. Use your theme to help define the dress code.
If you can, check reviews of the murder mystery company you hope to use, or ask around for recommendations. You want to make sure the actors are good at getting everyone involved, and holding their attention.
Sell individually-priced tickets, as well as group tickets (i.e. a table of eight) to encourage people to invite their friends along.
If you're feeling ambitious, you can save costs by writing and performing your own murder mystery party. Give yourself plenty of time to work out the logistics, recruit actors and polish your performance. Local amateur dramatics societies or secondary school drama students may also be able to provide a cost-effective solution.
The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a school, based on the guidance provided.