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Check Out These GREAT Murder Mystery Themes Available Through The Corporate Event Channel

* Murder At The Penthouse

* Speakeasy
* Mystery of Maltese Falcon
* Mystery of James Edwyn Wakefield
* Murder at Dugan's Reef

Let Us Help You Plan Your Murder Mystery Party

Here is some great information for you on the different "types" of Murder Mysteries

Three Categories of Murder Mystery Events

Commercial murder mystery events - whether for a single evening "Mystery Dinner" or a longer "Murder Mystery Weekend" or "Mystery Cruise" - generally fall into one of three categories, depending upon presentational style, level of audience interaction, and staging considerations.

        * Actor-Staged Murder Mysteries

        * Game-Style Murder Mysteries

        * Fully-Participatory Interactive Theatre

While each of these types can be fun and entertaining, it is important for you, as a hosting venue, to be informed
about the differences when choosing the type of show that will best suit your facility and target audiences.
To aid you in this, we list the advantages and drawbacks of each format.


In this event format, a group of professional actors intermingle with the audience and "stage" a murder, which the attendees then try to unravel.
The audience members may or may not be in costume, and are generally not playing a character in the mystery. An actor/detective leads the investigation;
and clues are presented during the course of the event until the mystery is solved.

You can either hire a murder mystery company to produce the events for you or if you have actors available, you can obtain scripts requiring 8 to 12 actors (you can call us to get a copy - 805-658-8612) A complete production manual describing in detail how to produce a murder mystery play or musical supplements the playscripts.  The production manual is loaned with a refundable $25.00 deposit  - or there is a weekly rental fee. Designed to utilize an entire theatre, each production begins from the moment that audiences enter the lobby. Actors disguised as audience members, theatre staff, detectives, doctors, and killers stage scripted and improvised scenes throughout the theatre. A mysterious master of ceremonies guides the audience from reality to fantasy and back again. Sets, lights, and costumes can be adapted for low and high budget productions to transform the entire theatre to another place and time. For period productions audience members have the option to attend in costume and character. Everyone is suspect. A combination of actual audience members and actors in disguise are interrogated. Audience members interact throughout the performance. They can interrogate each other. The detective guides the action of the play. Every audience member can become their favorite detective  - complete with clue pads provided by the theatre. Evidence discovered by audience members is displayed on a clue table or via slide projection. At the peak of the evening, after several murders, audiences must determine whodunit and why.

We can get you such titles as ""Death Suite," "Knock 'em Dead," End of the Line," "Broadway Babylon," "Murder at Rutherford House," "A Deadly Habit," "Dedicated to the End," " and A Fatal Combination." In addition to paying your actors, you must purchase playscripts and pay royalties for these productions.

ADVANTAGES: Audience members who want to "just watch" are most comfortable with this format; it is more like watching a conventional stage performance. The actors present an integrated plot and create a more immediate and observable atmosphere of mystery. There is usually a single plot with a single predetermined solution to the murder (although some shows may have three or four alternate endings, with the audience determining which ending will be presented on any given evening). Some audience members prefer simple endings with all the loose ends tied up in a neat package. The actor-staged format is more suitable for large audiences. No special materials or props are required for individual members of the audience.

DISADVANTAGES: Avid mystery buffs may want a more challenging mystery experience - one in which they can become personally involved. Creative audience members who come up with imaginative and ingenious solutions may feel that they are being ignored or discounted by the actors when the ideas they come up with don't "fit into the script." You will need a single room large enough to accommodate the entire audience, and people sitting in far corners may have a difficult time hearing and following the explanation of the mystery. Professional actors will require a larger budget for salaries, while amateur actors may not produce the masterful quality of performance that you desire.


In this format, members of the audience are assigned character parts and dress in costume in a structured and plotted scenario. Planted clues may be "discovered" during the course of the event. These clues may be either a prop of some sort or simply a "game card" with additional information. There is a certain amount of role playing in this format, along with a stronger sense of fantasy and escapism. Commercially packaged "How -to-Host-a-Mystery" boxed sets can be purchased ready-made. You generally do not need actors other than a Host or Hostess - and you may be able to perform these duties yourself. The game-style murder format is especially suited for modest bed-and-breakfast facilities with smaller audiences. This format is essentially a live-action equivalent of a board game like "Clue."

How to Host a Murder Party boxed game sets for up to 8 guests includes such titles as "Watersdown Affair," "Maiming of the Shrew,"
"Hoo Hung Wu," "Roman Ruins," "Archaeologically, It's the Pits," and "Class of '54,"

Spilsbury boxed game sets for up to 8 guests (all of whom are suspects) include menus, recipes, shopping lists, invitations, and audio commentary which sets the scene. Titles include "Murder on the Grill," "Pasta, Passion, & Pistols," "Bullets & Barbecue," :Lethal Luau," "Eat, Drink, & Be Married,"
and "A Taste of Wine & Murders."

Murder Mystery Maniacs offers game sets for up to 60 guests that include guest lists, host / facilitators guidelines, rule sheets, individual character roles for each guest sealed in individual envelopes, costume ideas for each character, name tags, solution envelopes, and award certificates for the winners and best actors/actresses.

ADVANTAGES: The audience feels more a part of the action. The events can be reproduced over-and-over with predictable results, so your staff can become proficient at hosting them. The game-style murder format is perhaps your least expensive option.

DISADVANTAGES: These productions are difficult to orchestrate with larger size audiences. You may need to charge more per person and may
consequently have fewer participants. Because there is a standard solution, the avid mystery buff may prefer something less "pat."


In this format, there is no set solution to the mystery  - in fact, there is no predetermined murder. Any participant may live or die. No drama ever ends the same twice because the audience members play all the parts, improvise their lines, and sometimes kill each other while attempting to achieve the goals outlined in their Playbooks. It's more like stepping through a time machine than attending a conventional theatre. Members of the audience each receive instructions on how to prepare, character descriptions, historical background, and slang dictionary for the period, and much of the fun is in planning and plotting in the days ahead of the event. There can be up to ten plots unfolding simultaneously, and each participant may be involved in one or more of these. Because the action takes place in several rooms throughout the hosting venue, the interactive theatre format is well suited for facilities with several small rooms rather than one large one. The atmosphere of intrigue created by the participants is much subtler than in the other formats - drawing participants into a more intense and believable level of suspense. It may not be as obvious to the observer, but it is extremely compelling for the participant. Roles are arranged in order of difficulty, with simple ones for beginners and challenging parts for die-hard mystery buffs. At the end of the event, a cast party is held in which the Master of Ceremonies explains all the plots, the participants tell what they were up to, and everyone gets to find out what was really going on. Prizes are awarded for best costume and favorite character.

Theatre of Interactive Drama, Inc. has more information on this type of show for 20 to 75 guests on their website at
You can also obtain a COMPLETE do it yourself kit through Dinner & A Murder - (931) 987-0196 for only $49.

ADVANTAGES: Interactive dramas are murder mystery events at their most complex and challenging. The experience is equally enjoyable for your novice, intermediate, and advanced patrons. Interactive dramas are best suited for audiences of thirty to seventy people, and can be supervised by a Master of Ceremonies with the assistance of one or two Referees. The events are not exclusively for mystery buffs  - since they also include romance, history, comedy, and drama in addition to the mystery. Customized scripts may be adapted to your Inn's background and local history. Because interactive drama events never end the same twice, you may experience repeat business from attendees who want to try playing a different character or using an alternate strategy for playing the same character. Such props as stage money, vintage newspaper reprints, stock certificates, historic documents, etc. lend a rich feeling of realism to the fantasy mystery experience. Such mysteries may also incorporate treasure hunts with valuable prizes for the winners.

DISADVANTAGES: Interactive theatre events require instruction books and props for each of the audience-participants. This adds to the cost of production. (Once these items have been developed, however, the cost of additional performances is minimal.) This format is not nearly as much fun for
people who want to just sit and watch.

We hope you found this information helpful. If you need more info or would like help planning your event please feel free to call us at:
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