Bodiam Castle is an incredible place – a beautifully preserved 14th-century fortress that looks exactly how you would imagine it should, complete with moat, portcullis, and imposing stone towers.
But inside the exterior walls, very little of the original building remains – making it hard to picture what it must have been like 600+ years ago. To give visitors a sense of life at that time, the National Trust called in the ‘architects of extraordinary adventures,’ Splash & Ripple.
I had already worked with S&R on Ghosts in the Garden, and this was another site-specific interactive adventure with audio at its heart. Visitors to the castle were given an echo horn – a medieval hunting horn fitted with a Raspberry Pi, an RFID reader and a speaker.
Placing the horn near one of the special wax seals in the castle walls triggered the playback of a scene from an audio drama set in 1385, when the castle’s lord Sir Edward Dallingridge was hosting a grand feast. Little did he know that he was also the focus of an assassination attempt – which the audience had the chance to thwart if they chose the right path around the castle.
I wrote the story after a good deal of historical research, extensive playtesting, and far too many flowcharts. That complexity is all carefully hidden. The audience just needs to walk, think and listen.