Thursday, February 19, 2015

To Host A Murder Mystery, The Game Is A Foot So You Might Need A Shoe

So you would like to host a murder mystery event but really don't know where to start. Here are some basic tips and ideas to get you started and point you in the right direction.

The first thing you will need is to cover the 3 P's:

  • Product - what type of event would you like to host? A play? A Game?
  • Place -where you can host your event?
  • People - who will help you and participate?

  • Deciding on what type of event you want to host will help narrow down your other choices. If you would like to host Murder Mystery Play, it will require a good size place and extra people to perform. If you wish to host a Mystery game, you can host in your own home or find a small venue that will not require many extra people to help you.

    What are the differences between a Play and a game?
    A Play is a theatrical performance with actors, a set, props and a script.
    A Game is generally an outline or scenario with participants .

    Hosting a Murder Mystery Play

    You can find many resources for play scripts on line. My own site, Play-dead is one of those resources. It is very easy to purchase performing rights for a play. A play of course will require a group of people ranging from actors, to a director, costumes and props. If you do not have a theatrical group,here are some ideas:

  • Local Community Theater group- Check in your area or search on line. Most communities have amateur theatrical groups. The benefit of community theater groups is that it's a volunteer based organization.
  • Local Colleges and High schools- Most schools have theater departments or personnel that may be willing to stage a play for you.
  • Create your own Group- You may have a theatrical background or know someone who does.
    If you don't wish to stage a play yourself, you can also find groups on line that supply their own acting troupe and Murder Mystery Plays.

    Hosting A Murder Mystery Game

    You can find Mystery Games on line that come in all shapes and sizes. Some are set for dinner parties with elaborate plots which include kits with all the material you need. Others are very simple with a set of rules and basic plot. Most Murder Mystery games involve everyone, much like a role-playing games. You will not need any theatrical performers, just yourself and your guests. Each individual Mystery Game site will explain how the game is played, what you need etc..

    Resources for Murder Mystery Games:

  • Murder Mystery Games

  • Mysteries On The Net

  • Free Form Murder Mystery Games!

  • Finding a Place

    If you prefer a more theatrical Murder Mystery or don't wish to host a game at your home, you will need to find a venue. Finding a place is really not difficult. My home group started out performing Mysteries at a local Historic Mansion, moved to a Community Center and finally found a home at Banquet Facility. Many popular Murder Mysteries are based in a Dinner Theater setting. The idea of a dinner and show is very appealing to audiences.

    Venue Ideas:

  • Local Community Center / Theater - check your local area most Centers have a theater or large room for rent.
  • Local High School - many will rent theater space to you.
  • Local Historic Homes - many Historic Homes in large cities host murder mystery plays.
  • Banquet Halls - sure, their main business are weddings and reunions but they offer ample space plus most have their own kitchens or catering services so Hosting a "Dinner Theater" would be perfect.
  • Hotel Conference room - many large hotels have conference rooms perfect for hosting a play.
  • Restaurants - some restaurants have "party" rooms that supply enough space to host a dinner theater.

  • If you choose to create your own theatrical troupe you will of course need a place to rehearse the play. If you have secured a location that will let you perform the show, they may also let you rehearse there. If not, there is nothing wrong with a good old basement or garage. My local group spent years rehearsing in basements.

    Promote Yourself

    Local newspapers have calender sections strictly for Theater auditions and performances. Smaller local papers and publications are always looking for interesting stories, so call the paper and see if they would like to do a story. If you have a website, Blog,  Facebook, or twitter by all means, promote your performance. Best yet make a short video and post it on youtube to attract attention - (here is an example )

    Extra Bonus idea Contact local businesses in your area to see if they would like to purchase an ad in your program. Leave a few pages free in your program for his purpose. Selling advertisements will generate added revenue. Another idea is to see if the businesses would like to donate any items, gifts, coupons etc.. as prizes for your play. At the end of the evening whoever guesses the "murderer" will receive a prize from a local business plus this business gets a free promotional plug. Hopefully these tips will get you started in the wonderful world of Murder Mystery Hosting!

    -Lee Mueller

    Play Dead Murder Mysteries

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