Escape Realms

“There’s really nothing to worry about… may I see your papers and passport?”

What with meaningful votes, conflicting reports, and divided parties, it’s tricky to predict what the future will look like. Over in Rotherham, young people are imagining how it would feel to take matters into their own hands as part of Chol’s Equal Players project.

There is a form of entertainment experience taking the nation by storm that encourages this kind of planning and problem-solving, and that’s escape rooms! Escape rooms present participants with pathways and options, asking teams to work together to build solutions.

Over the past months, young people from Rotherham, with help from Chol and Grimm & Co, have been busy devising their own escape room experience. The Escape Realms project will be opened up to the public on Saturday 16 March, inviting people to participate in the experience and meet the talented creators.


Last week a team of writers, led by Chol’s Lauren Ash, congregated at Grimm & Co HQ to map out the plot, with dilemmas, obstacles, and hacks. Lauren is a whizz at creating imaginative writing workshops for young people that bring storytelling to life, so it’s no surprise that she works with Chol and Grimm & Co!

Lauren said: “The Escape Realms project asks how we can imagine and shape the future by encouraging young people to think flexibly and creatively, anticipating problems and working around them.”

Pictured: Lauren Ash with a few of the Escape Realms writers (left to right): Chloe Harrop, Imogen Greenwood, and Caitlin Vaughan (photo credit: Rotherham Advertiser)

A deadly virus has infected Rotherham! That’s the scenario that will be presented to audiences this Saturday. How do we escape, saving ourselves and loved ones, and build a new society?

With just a couple of days to go, the mood’s getting…feverish. This week Escape Realms director Sameena Hussain and our team of talented young performers have been rehearsing in the performance space, Rotherham YMCA MyPlace.

Hands have been busy transforming the rooms of MyPlace into the settings of infected Rotherham: quarantines, newsrooms, and hospitals. On Tuesday evening a shrine was erected to pay tribute to the sick and missing…

On Wednesday night we were excited to welcome back filmmaker Wayne Sables who’s been taking Escape Realms from stage to screen (you can watch the trailer here).

Jess Turcanova (16) from Wellgate, Rotherham, said: “If you come to MyPlace you get to be involved in projects like this, which helps us with exams as well as being a lot of fun. I like to dance and I am playing a guard in the show.”

The Escape Realms project has already been a lot of fun. We’re excited to see what happens when the process is opened up to the people of Rotherham on Saturday afternoon. We’ll see you there!

Escape Realms, Saturday 16 March, Rotherham YMCA MyPlace, 1.30pm and 2.30pm. Tickets can be booked online at our EventBrite Page: 1.30pm / 2.30pm

Escape Realms has been created by fabulous local children and young people from YMCA Rotherham MyPlace, Clifton Learning Partnership, and Grimm & Co. Written by Lauren Ash, alongside young people, directed by Sameena Hussain, and designed by Emma Williams. Multimedia by digital artist and filmmaker Wayne Sables and choreography by Jessica Woodhead.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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