Interview: Trapped In A Van @trappedldn

You’re normally so careful. Or, maybe you’ve just been lucky up until now. You never thought you’d get caught. And yet, here you are, on your way to Pentonville. Prison_Escape_the_Room_bpyl1yWell, you can’t have that, can you? Prison orange really doesn’t suit you…

First step: Stop the van.

Second step: Escape.

Third step: Retire to the Bahamas.

You and your gang have been arrested and found guilty. A life sentence at HM Prison Pentonville awaits you all. Can you stop the van and escape within 60 minutes or will you be trapped forever behind bars?

The Trapped in a Room team’s most recent room sees you trapped in a refurbished prison van (don’t worry, you aren’t really detained or arrested) Currently located at Bunker 51 near North Greenwich, they’re moving to a more central site in the former athlete’s village in Stratford and I am lucky enough to be going when that happens.

Creative Manager, Gillian Lawther co-designed the game with Hannah Goodwin-Sharman, the Events and Creative Coordinator, alongside a team of in-house builders. Between them, they have a lot of experience in creating adventures having already created Trapped In a Room With A Zombie  ( and Trapped Undercover (

So, until I get to go to experience it myself, I interviewed the creative team about how they came up with this most recent “Trapped”

PP – What made you decide to start creating escape room style experiences? 

We have been running recreation experiences in London for 14 years, from paintball and laser tag to VR gaming and immersive theatre. Room escape experiences were on our radar and seemed like the next logical step for us. When the opportunity of taking on Trapped in a Room with a Zombie in the UK presented itself, we couldn’t resist! Our sister company Apocalypse Events run immersive zombie experiences so it could not have been more perfect.

PP -Escape rooms have become increasingly popular over the last few years.  How did you go about creating something a bit different which would peak people’s interest? 

Our main aim with Trapped in a Prison Van was to make it as authentic as possible. From the moment you are met by our guard character the experience begins, you even have to find a way of getting rid of them so that you can begin your escape attempt! We want people to get to experience something they would never normally do and become a character in their own experience.

PP- What can we expect from being Trapped in a Prison Van? Is it different to your previous trapped in/with experiences?  

The immersive thread is really strong in this experience and is something we are looking to build upon in our new rooms. Taking place in a real prison van really makes the experience, although I have to say it was a real headache to design!

PP – I have been to a number of escape rooms and some of them have hit the nail on the head, while others haven’t been so good. What, in your opinion, makes for a really good escape room? And – for that matter – what makes an escape room not so much fun? 

For us, it is all about the immersive aspect of the experience. We take this really seriously in our games as having immersive actors in the games is how we have differentiated our brand from the many out there. However, even in classic escape rooms, there needs to be an immersive element, solid storylines/missions, clues and puzzles that fit the theme and a well-designed environment. Some games we have played have fantastic technical clues, but it feels as though they are jumbled together and don’t fit the story of the game, which ultimately makes me stop caring if we succeed or not.

PP  – You’re moving venue soon. What’s going to be different? 

Trapped in a Prison Van will be getting a new briefing room, allowing us to add further immersive elements to this part of the experience. We are re-building our popular Trapped in a room with a Zombie game, taking the opportunity to update some of the puzzles within the room, and re-vamping our mobile Trapped Undercover experience which will soon be running open sessions at our Stratford home, in addition to being available for full day hire where we can come to you!

You’ve done Trapped in a room with a zombie, trapped undercover and now the prison van. What’s next? 

That is the big question. We have space to launch another room at the new site and we have lots of ideas for themes and games – our problem is deciding which we want to do most! There is currently an ‘idea’s cup’ in our office where we pop any brainwaves we have before we forget them!

More details of the move will come soon. In the meantime, take a look at their website and why not try getting trapped?


Published by Playhouse Pickings

Theatre blog run by Rhiannon; a civil servant, D&D player, sci fi fan, immersive theatre lover and gin enthusiast

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