Escape the grind in Boggo Road Gaol

15 September 2015

You’re trapped in the Boggo Road Gaol and the only way to get out is to work with the people around you. No, it’s not a bad dream or an episode of Prisoner, it’s the latest tourist offering in Brisbane.

  

Called Escape Hunt, the concept was imported from overseas by siblings Giovanna, Matt, Simon and Paul Shakhovskoy, who stumbled across it during a trip to Cape Town in South Africa.

The four then set up Escape Hunt Brisbane and from their home-base in West End they now offer three different onsite adventures with six game rooms. 

Director Giovanna Shakhovskoy said the one-of-a-kind immersive escape experience used puzzles, hidden items and collective and creative problem-solving.

“It’s a Sherlock Holmes cross Cludo, cross How to Host a Murder … or (the movie) Saw without the gore. But instead of it being every man for themselves, the objective is to get all 84 people out at once. Players have to complete unique and important objectives that add to the overall plan.”

Partnering with Boggo Road Gaol, the experience is designed to get people interacting with this historic site before it closes for redevelopment later this year.

“The gaol has a rich history and we hope to highlight that in an experience that people won’t forget,” Ms Shakhovskoy said

“It’s definitely a new concept for Australia, and as far as we know it’s the first time in the world an escape adventure has been held in a gaol. We see it as a way to put Brisbane on the map, with an interactive and immersive entertainment experience in a heritage-listed site.”

Boggo Road Gaol Tour operator Jack Sim has been excited to watch the idea progress into a reality.

"I am delighted that The Escape Hunts are going to go ahead this September and October. Boggo Road Gaol is an important heritage-listed site. Its future lies with it being used for interesting and diverse experiences such as the amazing Escape Hunt Experience,” he said.

So unique is the offering, it has already started to attract interest from inter-state. Bookings are coming in from a wide cross-section of the community – everything from corporate team-building, school groups, to bucks’ and hens’ parties. 

But it’s not all fun and games. A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes on to get the escape experiences up and ready, and that means jobs for Brisbane. Escape Hunt Brisbane has 13 paid staff, including four full-time. The latest project is set to generate even more positions. 

“We have scope to hire another 12-15 staff for the event at Boggo Road Gaol, plus further work-experience opportunities for design and tourism students,” Ms Shakhovskoy said. 

“We are doing game design internships with QANTUM College, we’re working with students in Buzz around QUT university courses, and we’re pulling students in for game and tourism experience”.

The unique experience is only on offer from September 28 until October 7.

Escape and explore