THE York Dungeon is set to reopen next Easter ‘‘better and bolder than ever before’’ after a £2 million refurbishment in the wake of devastating flooding.
Two-thirds of one of York’s biggest – and certainly its scariest – tourist attractions was inundated when the River Ouse rose to more than five metres above normal summer levels in September, following heavy rain.
Owner Merlin Entertainments said the flooding left it unfit for operation but provided an opportunity for the venue to be updated.
General manager Helen Douglas said: “We are taking things up a level. There will be more authentic theatrical sets and new scripts to provide guests with a dramatic and unique experience.
‘‘By creating new scripts that are funnier than ever and more authentic styling, we want to ensure The York Dungeon is better than ever before.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors back to something fresh and dynamic that’s laugh-out-loud funny and scream-out-loud scary all at the same time. This is an exciting new chapter for The York Dungeon.”
She said the dungeon would bring 2,000 years of authentic York history to life with a unique mix of talented live actors performing in 11 scarily funny shows, stunning special effects and new surprises.
“Guests can expect the return of all their favourite characters including gunpowder plotter Guy Fawkes, infamous highwayman Dick Turpin and Viking King Eric Bloodaxe, plus a full supporting cast of colourful characters, including the friendly torturer, crazy plague doctor and a judge that you might class as bonkers.”
She added that recent times had been ‘‘challenging’’, but she wanted to thank the local community and businesses for their support.
She said seven people had been made redundant following the closure. During consultation, the company had sought alternative career and development opportunities for those leaving and, when the Dungeon reopened, they would be invited to take part in the recruitment process.
Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York, said: ‘‘York Dungeon attracts more than 160,000 visitors every year and is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
‘‘This new investment is fantastic news and will help us to ensure York continues to be at the top of its game when it comes to offering a quality experience for our visitors.’’