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Ride Profile

shows from the 1970s. It’s very scenic; we want you go to away and remember the images.”

Now sitting at Blackpool inside a purpose- built structure, the starting point for the ride was a Ghost Train track acquired from a British showman. That, however, is where the fairground expertise stops, and Carnesky admits being a bit naïve to begin with. “I designed it together with a theatre designer and we didn’t really have a blueprint,” she explains. “We did talk to people that build rides, but decided to go it alone and just made it up as we went along. We made a lot of mistakes but in the end I think we came up with something that is really original.” The ride’s creator has also learned to simplify certain elements to make operation easier, while ensuring a consistent level of performance from the actors inside.

An earlier poster for the ride

Art Meets Amusement “We have got it down to an art,” she says. “Originally we had a girl flying over people’s heads, which was fantastic, but she can only do that for an hour without getting terrible backache. We couldn’t keep that up so we had to find things that were spectacular, entertaining and shocking for the audience without comprising the performers. Now we have people on a three hour shift rotation, with a 15-minute break in the middle.” The ride started life in as a standalone attraction on London’s trendy

Brick Lane in 2004, with financial backing from the Arts Council, and has since appeared at events such as Glastonbury Festival, all places you’d expect visitors of a suitably ‘arty’ frame of mind. After a couple of guest appearances in Blackpool in 2008/9, it was relocated to Flagstaff Gardens near the Pleasure Beach – where it opens weekends and holidays during the season. Now managed by the council-owned Sandcastle waterpark across the road, it does still receive some public funding. “It’s not a conventional way to run a business,” concedes Carnesky,

“but it covers its costs and gives jobs to young graduates from the drama school. Years ago we people would have said Cirque du Soleil was a load of rubbish but now it’s one of the biggest and most corporate circuses in the world. If a big theme park wanted to do something like this, I would love do more rides. I think the art form has huge potential.” For the time being, Carnesky’s Ghost Train is entertaining the down-

to-earth day-trippers in Blackpool: “People want a good experience for their money, no matter where they are,” concludes Carnesky. “In Blackpool we get the most unpretentious, un-arty, normal kind of people … and they love it.”

Words by Owen Ralph, images courtesy AtmosFear! Entertainment/Mark Copeland

HALLOWEEN HIGHLIGHTS Here’s how a handful of leading

parks around the world are scaring their guests this October…


HALLOWEEN ’12 PortAventura, Spain

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS Universal Orlando, California OCTOBER 2012 45

HALLOWEEN NIGHTS Heide Park, Germany

MAGIC HALLOWEEN Gardaland, Italy

HORROR NIGHTS Europa- Park, Germany

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