"I make sure it smells like rotten meat at all times." Blackpool Tower Dungeons show manager tells us why it's all part of the job

Making sure his workplace smells rancid and spraying the walls with fake blood is all in a day’s work for Jamie Humphrey.

By Claire Lark
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 4:50 pm

He’s the Blackpool Tower Dungeon performance manager and with a rich history in stage and acting, the 35-year-old has landed himself the perfect job.

Heading a team of 25 actors, Jamie’s unique role means he oversees the live immersive shows which grip audience after audience every day bringing laughter, a touch of fear and a glimpse into the most well-known historical stories in Lancashire.

Now is the peak time for the Dungeons, as the main summer season gets underway, and they have just completed their first major weekend of the year.

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In the driving seat - Jamie Humphrey

"Over the Easter weekend we were performing to 34 people every seven and a half minutes,” said Jamie, “it was certainly busy but we have a great team of people.

"There are breaks throughout the day but at this time of year each actor plays every character at some point.”

Part of Merlin Entertainments, the Tower Dungeons are one of six dungeons across the UK. They have a core of cutting edge historical plays which are performed at each one but in Blackpool, they also delve into Lancashire’s darkest past.

"Aside from watching guests step into a whole new world and experience the horror that is the Dungeons,” said Jamie, “my other favourite part of the role is the localised history aspect of the attraction. “Implementing some truly gruesome historical stories into the Dungeon, such as Meg Shelton, the infamous Witch of Woodplumpton and the history of Lancashire in the dark ages, means myself and my team have to go away and research the history of Lancashire.

Jamie Humphrey’s Dungeon Performance Manager, Blackpool

"But my favourite is where I play a character from the Great Plague - there are hearts and lungs and we get to spray the audience with fake blood!

But how do people react to the blood, gore and grim tales?

Jamie, who trained in performing arts before working on cruise ships and five years at Disney in Paris, says it’s a bit like Horrible Histories and the kids tend to love it.

"We get a mixture of people but it’s all based on family scary fun.

"I used to act at Pasaje Del Terror at the Pleasure Beach which is aimed at scaring people but its nothing like that.

"The kids generally love the gruesome stuff. You can get a five year old who loves it and a ten-year-old crying so it depends on the kids.”

When he isn’t writing scripts and delivering some of the best historical plays Blackpool has to offer, Jamie has to make sure the attraction is at its best and training new actors.

He needs to make sure all the special effects are running efficiently – the smell pods which bring a rotten meat smell to the senses, lighting and the all important sound.

Feedback to the actors is also paramount. They cover a plethora of characters such as The Jester and The Torturer making each day exciting, and with help from senior actor Alex Latimer, he ensures the team are giving the best production possible.

Jamie has worked across the Merlin attractions in Blackpool since March 2021 and is working on a wicked new show for the summer, Body Snatcher, which starts July.

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