Behind the scenes of The Great Escape Game in Leeds ahead of its partnership with the Royal Armouries

An escape room games business is targeting further growth as other visitor attractions look to add another dimension to their offer.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 9:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 9:15 am

The Great Escape Game has agreed a strategic partnership with the Royal Armouries in Leeds that will see it create the first ever escape room for the museum.

Hannah Duraid, managing director of The Great Escape Game, told The Yorkshire Post: “Part of the brief was that we had to encourage people to go around the Armouries.

“It begins with a way of exploring the collections, which are amazing, and then it ends in a boss battle where you actually get to use the weapons. It’s fun for all.”

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Game time: Hannah Duraid, managing director of The Great Escape Game, is looking forward to the strategic partnership with the Royal Armouries museum.

The business, which has around 50 staff at its three sites – one in Leeds and two in Sheffield – says it could potentially work with more museums as demand rises. Even Buckingham Palace hosted an escape room game last year.

The game at the Royal Armouries will see players go through the exhibits in the main museum. They will have to navigate a puzzle trail before culminating in a ‘boss battle’ at the end.

The game, suitable for everyone including families, is currently undergoing testing but the business hopes that it will be ready in the next couple of weeks.

It’s the first external partnership that The Great Escape Game has been involved in and Ms Duraid says she was surprised at how well it has worked with the Royal Armouries.

She added: “Given the nature and size of their operations, I assumed that they wouldn’t be as dynamic as they actually are.

“Never assume. They’ve been so good and so forward thinking. I’ve loved working with them. It’s been great.”

The strategic partnership came about after Ms Duraid met the museum’s head of commercial and IP Adam Lumb through networking.

Ms Duraid said: “He was really into what we were doing. Business is all about relationships. We had similar ideas and thoughts. We’re quite similar in many ways as businesses. They were wanting to really push boundaries.”

The escape room will complement the museum’s Make: Believe exhibition, which displays arms and armour from cult and classic movies and television shows.

“Royal Armouries has a long history of collaborating with the film, TV and video game industries,” Mr Lumb said.

He added: “Partnering with the fantastic team at The Great Escape Game to bring this world to life for our visitors will create a new museum experience incorporating their hallmark of immersive set builds and game play.”

The games will run from Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. Currently, the business won’t be taking bookings in advance. Players can instead turn up on the day and pay at the desk.

The Great Escape Game is also testing to see how many games it can optimally run in a day.

Ms Duraid says the business enjoyed its best ever Christmas with bookings from industries such as retail spilling over into January. This month The Great Escape Game has also been able to take stock of its sites.

She said: “We’re going for growth. We’re in the process of really consolidating and fine tuning what we have already. We’re in the process of creating new games as well.

“This year we’re putting lots of structures in place. We’re making sure that we’re in a great place to progress.”

The Great Escape Game is celebrating its fifth anniversary this January.

“I really want to create a business that breaks normal barriers and people enjoy their job in a professional way,” Ms Duraid said. “We’re really achieving that.”

Popular games with famous faces

The Great Escape Game has become popular with celebrities, attracting everyone from footballers to actors.

Hannah Duraid said: “We sometimes get people ringing up and saying I don’t want a fuss can you put us in a back room. I just want to come low key.”

The business has hosted comedian Jon Richardson, snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan and actor Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films.

Pop group Little Mix also took a break from one of their tours to visit The Great Escape Game, taking on the Underworld Conspiracy, Submerged and Abducted rooms.