Shiverpool is putting on ghostly family-friendly free tours for half term
3 weeks ago
Families can get a haunted history holiday treat this half term with special tours from Shiverpool including three free daytime performances.
The award-winning Shiverpool specialises in theatrical experiences bringing Liverpool’s history to life (and death) with storytelling street tours around the city centre.
With half term coming up this month, it’s offering parents something different to keep kids entertained during the school break.
There’ll be three regular Hope Street Shivers Ghost and History Tours, plus a Wicked Wednesday Auld City and Dead House tour and early evening Sunday Service Hope Street Shivers tour at a reduced price.
And, as an added bonus, anyone wanting to dip a toe into the unknown and try the Shiverpool tales can join a tour free, on Saturday February 17.
The free sessions, taking up to 40 people on each one, will be led by one of Shiverpool’s up and coming guides supported by old hand Indiana Bones, aka Will Goodwin.
Theatre graduate Will launched two new tours for the team last year and now he’s keen to help another young guide do the same.
He’ll join 17-year-old LIPA student Joshua Griggs, who’ll be in character as James Vagabond, as he takes groups on daytime 90-minute Hope Street Shivers tours, at 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm.
This tour was the first ever theatrical guided walk of Liverpool and was voted the best guided tour in England at the prestigious Visit England awards.
The experience takes in both of the city’s cathedrals, the crooked smile of Rodney Street and the mysterious story of Will McKenzie’s blackened pyramid tomb as well as the faded grandeur of the old Wellington Rooms and the shadowy opulence of the Georgian Old Town.
Each tour ends in the grounds of Liverpool Cathedral in St James’ cemetery, the city’s former necropolis and a resting place for nearly 58,000.
Lucy Carew, artistic director of Shiverpool, says the family-friendly experiences give young people a unique way to learn more about Liverpool’s fascinating history with just the right amount of thrills and chills.
And having free sessions means young guides can hone their presentation skills in front of a live audience.
She explains: “We’re always thinking ahead around half terms and summer holidays because we want to have a bit of extra availability for families at that time.
“We’ve launched Wicked Wednesday and the Sunday Special, and it’s been nice to expand the schedule and to offer people the chance to come and see Shiverpool at a slightly reduced cost. It’s also great for the guides as it gives them the space to work together, generate extra income and do what we love best: showing off our amazing city, celebrating all the businesses we pass on the tour and delivering the very highest standard of family-friendly street theatre.
“The free daytime tours give access to audiences who might not normally do Shiverpool maybe because it’s in the dark and they think it could be scary or they won’t like it.
“They’re only a £1 booking fee, so people can come and get a little slice of what happens, maybe bring the kids, and be in the safety of daylight because our tours are about so much more than just being in the dark and being scared. There are ghost stories but it’s about the general history of the city as well and about that performance on the streets and storytelling.
“Joshua, who is James Vagabond, is only 17. He’s been working with us for six months since Will introduced him so the free tours are a great opportunity for him too. We see them as a chance for the guides, once they’ve worked alongside myself and other members of the team, to then be able to have a bit of freedom.
“It’s their time to hold it together, with support, deliver the stories and have that responsibility.
“The standard of the tour will be high but it’s important for Joshua to have this experience as the last stage of his apprenticeship.
“We want these three half term free tours to allow him to really flex his performative muscles.”
Lucy says Shiverpool’s tours are all suitable for young people, with a recommended age of 9+, and they have elements for every age.
“That’s one of the reasons Shiverpool works so beautifully because you’ve got something for adults, so you can have a bit of gallows humour, something for the teens and for the younger kids. The younger ones really enjoy the action on the street and the animations we arrange around the tour because it’s like being in an immersive outdoor museum, so it really does hit every age.
“Everyone likes that sense of being a little frightened, it’s why people love gothic ghost stories because it lets you explore all of that darkness from a distance. Our tours have that but always with humour; we can deal with some dark stuff but have a laugh at the same time which is crucial.”