Halloween thrill-seekers in north Mississippi will have many haunted house options this year, but one of the most popular recurring attractions in the area is Tupelo Community Theatre's Haunted Theatre in the Lyric on Broadway. The historic Lyric Theatre, built in 1912, is home to an award-winning production troupe, and its eighth annual presentation of Haunted Theatre promises to out-spook all previous productions.
Every year, according to Steve Miller, the Tupelo Community Theatre goes all out on their Haunted Theatre, and this year will be no different. The Lyric boasts over 11000 square feet in its interior, and the production company is using every available inch, including the massive auditorium. The crew for this year's production includes over fifty people, every night. The majority of these people, Mr. Miller says, are young adults and every one of them are volunteers, but a large portion of them will not be seen by patrons. "The Haunted Theatre is not just people in masks and costumes popping out from behind a prop. Although we do have professional make-up artists on staff, we also have a full staff of carpenters and engineers working on these attractions. There's some very elaborate machinery in play here."
In 2012, Haunted Theatre reported to have eighteen separate scenes, and all guests were led through the attraction with a guide. This year, Mr. Miller says that they have added to that, making it twenty-two individual scenes, and changing up the pace a little with a semi-guided tour, making the experience a little more intense. "Every year," he says "we put out something big, but we never repeat ourselves. Last year, the 50 foot tornado was such a huge hit, we decided to bring it back."
Mr. Miller declined to go into detail about most of this year's surprises, not wanting to give anything away, but did hint at a horse-drawn hearse and an 18-wheeled freightliner. "It's going to be really scary," he laughs "and that's all I can really say." The Haunted Theatre this year is not recommended for children under ten, due to the high intensity, although all ages will be admitted with adult supervision. The attraction should take about half an hour to walk through, and no groups larger than six will be admitted at a time. The Haunted Theatre, Mr. Miller stresses, is a No Touch presentation, "No one is going to try to grab you, or poke you, or anything like that."
Last year, Haunted Theatre had an attendance of over two thousand people in six nights, and they hope for even higher numbers this year. Tickets for this event are $15 per person, and opening night is October 17. It will run from the 17th through the 26th and then open again on Halloween night. The hours are from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. though the week, and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. All proceeds go to benefit the Tupelo Community Theatre.
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