ERIC18 Presenters

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the following speakers, panellists and workshop leaders for giving up their time and sharing their knowledge and expertise to make ERIC18 the success it was.


Chris Lattner and Stella Adami: The Room, Berlin

After 28 years as a professional DJ playing in clubs around the world, Chris (CEO/Creative Director) decided it was time for something different. He played his first escape game in London in 2013 and, together with business partner Jochen Krüger, opened THE ROOM in October 2014. For their third room, Humboldt (‘The Lost Treasure’), they wanted to create something groundbreaking both in terms of set design and technical equipment and expanded their team to include Malte Eiben (programming) and Wilko Drews. All three rooms frequently garner rave reviews from new and experienced players alike.

Stella spent her professional life working in various roles for the e-commerce company Zalando, joining THE ROOM a few months ago.

Changings: refining your games and remaining competitive

Even the most successful rooms shouldn’t stop improving. Chris will use examples from his games to explore how you can improve and refresh your own rooms. He’ll also discuss how you can enhance your interactions with customers, modernise game mastering and implement a more comprehensive story into an existing room.  Stella will share her insights into improving the overall customer experience and what impact these changes have had.



Heidi Richardson is co-owner of Locked in Edinburgh, which started as a Pop -Up in June 2015.  It now operates 3 rooms with a new outdoor game launching in September.

Designing and building new rooms combines her hobby of delving in skips and learning new skills. She loves her dogs, spreadsheets and cheese but not necessarily in that order.

Narrative-led design

Locked in Edinburgh are well know for their narrative-rich experiences, filled with a plethora of varied, fun and challenging puzzles which always link seamlessly to the theme and allow players to delve deeper into story with each solve. Heidi will share their process of designing: how they use the existing environment to help form the narrative, and then both of these elements to shape puzzle design.



Nick Moran is the Game Director of Sherlock: The Game Is Now and the Creative Director of Time Run. Sherlock: The Game Is Now is a collaboration between Hartwood Films and Time Run, the first attempt in the escape room sector to create a permanent, fully immersive, IP based experience.

How To Solve A Problem Like Sherlock?

Games and TV are separate disciplines entirely. The screen is cunning, cutting cleverly between scenes for juxtaposition, shorthand and dramatic emphasis. Games are more linear, with logical cause and effect essential. How do you translate one to the other? How do you render the screen in real life – and create a compelling experience for players, along the way? This talk, from the team behind “Time Run,” details the challenges and conundrums presented by this process – some thorny, others fun – and the various solutions found along the journey from concept to realisation.



Donna Wandt is an international communication major and brand manager by profession. She is making her mark in the industry by promoting collaboration among providers and teasing out joint opportunities with a focus on the bottom line. Some of Donna’s recent efforts include being part-owner of TwistedRooms and consulting on OPOLUM, the new immersive escape-like experience opening this autumn in Hamburg. Concurrently, she assumed a temporary position as Marketing Manager of Hamburg Dungeon before becoming Brand Experience Officer at QuinBook.

Ellen Grell is an actress and director from Hamburg. In 2017 she founded her own escape rooms, ESCAPEDIEM. A labor of love, she developed 4 unusual escape rooms while keeping a close eye on budget. These impress not only in style and attention to detail, but also in their imaginative narrative and through active participation of actors. As proof of concept, Ellen and ESCAPEDIEM have achieved wide acclaim not only in the high-standards Hamburg environment, but among players from all over the world.

Hamburg Owners Collective:  Working Collectively

Donna wrote the initial email inviting all Hamburg escape game providers to the table. Listen in on her talk highlighting the three years of collaboration that followed and benefit from the knowledge and insights gained in their self-proclaimed ‘Escape Game Capital of Germany’.  Donna and Ellen will report on the achievements of the Owners Collective of this past year.



Clockwork Dog design and build live games. They blend adventure, theatre and escape room styles to create one of a kind immersive events.  They designed ‘Loop’, much lauded by escape room enthusiasts across the country, and a temporary escape room for the promotional launch of the 2018 release of Tomb Raider in collaboration with Warner Bros. Their newest escape room has recently launched on HMS Belfast in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum and runs from July until September. They also develop and license their own game management system called COGS.

Collaborating with clients – IP in other worlds 

The Clockwork Dog team will discuss their experiences working with external clients and their IPs – both the failures that never saw the light of day as well as the successes that made it all the way. Expect stories and lessons learned around the strange blend of creativity and compromise when it comes to building rooms in other people’s worlds.



Before opening Pier Pressure in Brighton, Phil Harris spent 12 years working in corporate events. He kicked things off in event entertainment but worked his way up to a four year stint as senior production manager at one of London’s top event management companies. There he was account manager for several very large corporate clients and organised not just conferences and parties, but also quite a number of teambuilding activities, away days and group excursions.

Optimising offerings for a corporate market

In his talk, Phil will demonstrate how he has used his experience in the corporate world to successfully market his escape room as a top destination for teambuilding activities. Areas covered will include: ‘what to do differently for corporate clients’, ‘the importance of networking’, ‘working with psychologists to provide assessment frameworks’ and the all important ‘how to market to corporate clients’.



David Middleton is the co-owner of Bewilder Box in Brighton and a freelance escape room designer. His most recent project was with entertainment company ‘The Business Creative’ to create a fully automated 30 minute game for travel operator TUI. The latest Bewilder Box game ‘Judgement Dave’ was described by Toby Powell of as “…My new favorite UK escape game”. A high accolade indeed!

How to turn your GMs up to 11: A discussion on the importance of service vs content

The first Bewilder Box game was originally launched in 2016 on a relatively small budget. It has gone on to become a favorite amongst enthusiasts due to its interesting puzzle design and in-character games masters. David’s talk will explore practical tips on how to add stars to your visitor reviews by fully utilising your games masters, and by looking at techniques and ideas from some of the best escape room companies across the UK.



TimeTrap Escape Rooms was founded in June 2016 by Katie Falcon-Uff and Andrew Ingle, both graduates of the University of Reading. Their mission was to create escape room experiences with high quality aesthetics, immersive storylines and unique, themed puzzles for the entertainment-lacking town.  In July, Katie was selected as a finalist for the Start Up of the Year category in the London & the South Regional Forward Ladies Awards 2018.

Pop-ups and socially-conscious gaming: a case study

Earlier this year TimeTrap joined forces with another independent business in Reading to raise awareness and funds for homelessness charity Launchpad. Their ‘Escape for Good’ project aimed to address social issues whilst ensuring gamers still enjoyed the experience.  Their game, ‘The Divide’, highlighted inherent social inequalities and tasked players with balancing these out for the benefit of all. A portion of ticket sales went directly to the charity.

Katie and Andrew will discuss their roots, starting with pop-up games and going full circle back to a very different kind of pop-up game; their motivations and experiences running The Divide, and how they balanced creating a learning experience whilst maintaining the fun and excitement of an interactive game.



David Gale and his brother Peter launched Exciting Escapes in late 2016, and in a little under 2 years they will have opened 22 rooms at 5 new Escape Room sites. Prior to this, Dave had a 25 year career delivering Transformational Change at Blue Chip organisations around the UK and globally, working for the last few years in Latin America, Australasia and Eastern Europe. Dave has a wife, Jo, two amazing kids and a very, very patient brother.

Lessons We’ve Learnt from Growing our Escape Rooms Business

Opening an escape room business can seem daunting enough, but then taking on a second site perhaps even more so. Deciding to go ahead, selecting the right building, dealing with planning, recruiting the right team, and all the hidden extras start to add up! Having done this five times in a little under 2 years, Dave has a few experiences to share and plenty of top tips to offer!



Joe Mills has a degree in computer game design and a masters in acting, which have been meshed into a career as a creator of immersive theatre, specialising in physical puzzle design. He has been working in the immersive theatre/escape game world for the last five years now and in this time has worked on Time Run Ltd, Escape Plan Ltd and is currently working on the new Sherlock Holmes experience ‘Sherlock: The Game is Now’, set to open in London later this year. Joe worked as an Associate Artist on The Lucky Ones with Riptide helping to create and advance a new genre of long-form immersive theatre.

Escape Room Hybridisation: The future?

Joe will be talking about his experience of working on a piece of immersive theatre that involved very clear escape game elements, and how he believes open-world video games can influence the world of escape games and immersive theatre in the future.



Alasdair Willett founded History Mystery to create escape games with a difference; to provide a thrilling hour of entertainment whilst introducing new audiences to historic buildings and subjects. Their team of heritage experts and game designers find historic locations, research their real-life history, then devise game-play around it. Every History Mystery game is a unique story, historically accurate, lovingly hand-crafted, and chock full of fiendish puzzles.

Working with Hallowed Institutions and How Limitation Inspires Design

Accessing historic locations means collaborating with institutions and working within many constraints. Most owners would consider third party involvement in their game space to be a nightmare. History Mystery has formed successful partnerships with the Church of England and Norfolk Museums Service and built games in listed buildings, even a scheduled monument. What others see as constraints become inspiration to design better. Working with large organisations certainly has challenges, but also great benefits that you can’t get working alone, and those benefits far outweigh any problems, leading to sweet dreams, not nightmares.




ClueCapers in Winchester was opened by Kate Surtees in March 2016 so she could avoid getting a real job or doing the housework and be allowed to get creative. Craig Chalmers was then lured in to make things a bit more theatrical and witty and to help keep the place tidy. With their team of fabulous hosts, they are now an established part of the Winchester Independents scene and were winners at the 2018 Winchester Business Excellence Awards. Having recently opened their third game, they are known for their highly creative and unique puzzles and themes.

‘Keeping it Small’

Kate and Craig will discuss running a smallish escape room business: to complement a relatively small city of a certain character, striving to make limited space feel dynamic and all without a plan for world domination!  Acknowledging the influence of personal priorities, they will discuss the balance they have struck between the various opportunities and constraints in keeping it small.



Alex ‘Bones’ Mulhall is a PhD qualified Archaeologist who uses his academic background to inform his highly creative and unique approach to creating escape rooms. Co-Decode opened its doors in July 2017. Their first game, ‘Professor Dunstan and the Search for the Ancient Statuette’, has received rave reviews from new players and seasoned escape room enthusiasts alike and is frequently rating amongst the ‘Top 10 rooms in the UK’.

Using existing knowledge to inform your design

Alex will discuss how he utilises and encorporates his archaeological background into his unique puzzle design methods.



Opening in June 2017, The Escapement are already leaders in their field. Creating fully automated escape rooms with plenty of technology onboard, Pirates of Polaris, Egyptian Exodus and The Pit are games that make careful use of tech to enhance the experience but never dominate it.  Add to that some incredible set design – they sawed up an entire boat to make Pirates of Polaris, used two tonnes of sand in Exodus and over 1400kg of rock for The Pit  – and they’re clearly a force to be reckoned with.

One Year Later…

Since wowing us a year ago with their creations at ERIC17, Lewis Hunt and Dave Davis have come a long way. They’ve learnt so much about the industry, technology and most importantly their players. The Escapement has been a real ambassador of continuous improvement and have implemented some market-leading innovations. From a clever atmosphere that responds to players gaming speed, to an aggregated data set collected from each of its puzzles to work out a theoretical fastest time, The Escapement would like to present a snapshot of some of the crazy inside info they’ve gathered over the last year and what they have learnt from it all….it might not be what you think!

WORKSHOP: The ID in RFID is ‘identification’

Come along for this hands-on session all about RFID. You’ll learn how to code a series of RFID readers to respond to the correct tag and how to turn that into a desired output. Simple and easy to follow instructions with some useful things for you to take home, no tech skills needed – as long as you can use a keyboard you should be fine!



Alex Souter is one of the minds behind The Panic Room who in the space of just 2 years has built and designed 17 unique escape rooms. Taking a unique approach to sleeping, by simply not doing it, The Panic Room now boasts 14 different escape rooms in Gravesend. By thinking as an enthusiast and designing as an eccentric it can open the doors to new and strange ideas.

WORKSHOP: Creative Brainstorming

Alex will be running a creative workshop which will involve a mix of brainstorming, design tips and, of course, plenty of creativity!  Exploring the simple steps he employs to take a fledgling idea and mould it into a full-imagined escape room by applying varied design principles to classic escape room tropes.



Ken Ferguson started playing escape rooms because it was a fun hobby that didn’t take up too much time. Fast forward five years and at least the fun part is still true! When he’s not blogging on Exit Games and The Logic Escapes Me, you’ll likely find him on the Facebook or Slack groups discussing and recommending games.

He’s played and reviewed over 600 games and lent his expertise to charities, advertising agencies, journalists, PR companies and financial institutions. Having taken part in the last Red Bull MindGamers escape room championship, next time round he’ll be joining the dark side as part of the design team.

The Players’ Perspective
Two bloggers join forces to talk about their experiences playing escape rooms. Expect to hear war stories, advice and most importantly why you should never leave Mark unattended in an escape room…

Stats of the Nation
A whistlestop tour of the more interesting data I have on escape rooms, with a focus on how that data can help owners plan for the future.



Mark Greenhalgh fell in love with escape games in 2014. In 2015 he started blogging about escape games and in 2016 launched to carry on talking about escape games, as well as other fun things that take place in real life. He was one of the four members of the 2017 UK Red Bull Mindgamers team, alongside Ken, Sarah and Sharan, and has over 200 games under his belt.

The Players’ Perspective
Two bloggers join forces to talk about their experiences playing escape rooms. Expect to hear war stories, advice and most importantly why you should never leave Mark unattended in an escape room…



Paul Andrews is the owner of Clue Adventures. He started his working life as a professional magician for 15 years. During this time he also got involved in corporate events for team building.  He then moved into working in television and live productions,  first as a consultant, then a producer and director specialising in magic, hidden camera , entertainment psychology and game/hunt shows – so the move into Escape Games was pretty natural.

The Psychology of Escape Games

Using his experience of magic and television production, Paul will discuss how the structure, story and effects within an escape game should be designed to create a ‘feeling’ and you as designer can decide those ‘feelings’ at the outset and create the game to make it happen. Changing one word, moving one object or saying something in a certain way can make things easier or harder for players by using the psychology of perception.



Fred Pedersen is a founder and CEO of Nowescape, the leading UK Escape Room Aggregator. Before setting up Nowescape Fred worked in the financial industry for 15 years, and most recently was running a digital marketing team of 35 people with the exposure to 42 countries and 26 languages.

The Future of the UK Escape Room Industry
The Escape room industry is still growing in the UK but in other counties the industry matured a few years ago. Fred will examine the stages of industry development in other countries and try to answer the following questions:

How much time do we have before saturation?
What is going to happen next?
How will your business be affected?
What are the strategies to survive the turmoil?
What are the best business decisions you can take now?



Charlie Burman studied Fine Art at Coventry. He has worked with a number of community arts and youth organisations as well as small-medium scale touring theatre as a performer, designer and prop-maker. He co-founded a Museum and Exhibition fit-out company. Charlie now works as a freelance designer and scenic artist in Film, Television, Theatre and escape rooms.

Charlie will be running our third workshop which will cover set design and aesthetic techniques:

WORKSHOP: The immersive experience: Making Your Room

  1. Starting with the white cube, some tools/advice to help integrate the narrative into the created environment.
  2. Designing the environment
  3. Creating the environment
  4. Lighting the environment
  5. Maintaining the environment