Press release – Library of Shadows: A Garden of Fear by Bompas & Parr

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We love Bompas & Parr on this blog, and we’ve attended many of their quirky, original and thought provoking events in the past. Having just received the below press release, we thought it might be worth sharing as it sounds as intriguing as ever.

Bompas & Parr

This Hallowe’en, don night vision goggles, explore the darkness and embrace the fear factor. Abandon hope all ye who enter Library of Shadows: A Garden of Fear

Set to appear at the RHS Urban Garden Show, Library of Shadows: A Garden of Fear is a celebration of the wonders of the botanical and biological world after dark. Such is the power of fear that all souls who dare enter will be required to fill in a health disclaimer.

At its centre lies a magical nightmare garden inspired by the witching hour, inhabited by butterflies that pollinate nocturnal flowers and that have tongues longer than their bodies to enable them to source nectar from night-flowering plants. The night garden is designed to focus attention on improving the state of the UK’s bees and other pollinating insects, identified as part of the Government’s National Pollinator Strategy which focuses on monitoring their activity through 2024.

Around these after-dark creatures Bompas & Parr has curated a full night-time experience that dials up the fear factor to 11, creating layers of night terrors perfect for Hallowe’en:

– Before entering guests must fill in a health questionnaire and disclaimer exonerating Bompas & Parr from any adverse effects they experience while in Library of Shadows: Garden of Fear – enter at your own risk!

– Guests enter a space completely devoid of light and accustom themselves to total darkness before The Shadow Keeper, guardian of the Garden of Fear, gives them night vision goggles

– As they get used to this new window of the world, they are led through a population of owl butterflies that will flutter about their faces and learn key messages about their role in pollination

– Next, they don a viscerally decorated headdress inspired by ancient folklore and the ceremonial cult of the primal wild man and Druidism – as they reconnect with savage nature guests take on a gloriously grotesque air

– Guests pass through the Garden Portal and are encouraged to rove about the space, revelling in their new night-vision superpower, but beware! They may find a fully dressed folklore monster wandering around, worthy of the most spine-chilling horror film

– Art direction of the space and build of special features is by Emma Rios and Max Payne Design who have sought to evoke a Gothic-influenced ecclesiastical feel with bizarre and curious interactive features

– A soundscape created by long-time collaborator and composer Dom James lends a vibe most sinister to proceedings. This acoustically inspired soundscape pairs spine-chilling sound effects recorded in intricate detail centred around human teeth biting into pumice with folklore throat droning and super low bass frequencies. “I’ve created an über-dark sound palette designed to channel the mystery and fear of the night,” he said.

– Guests are prompted to decode mystical daubings and to discover the Lair of the Butterfly King, a gloriously shadowy corner of the garden where they must plunge their hands into the darkness – who knows what their hands may pass through to reach a sacred egg.

– However, successful wanderers will find a bar hidden amongst the foliage serving pitch-black cocktails featuring mushrooms, almonds, anise, elderberry and narcissus. Within the bar it will be possible to track the journeys of guests still in the garden via live streaming of infrared cameras

Bompas & Parr Event

Dark secret

The experience is planned as a disruptive alternative to the clichés of Hallowe’en, offering a real-world authenticity about the genuine night-time terrors in contrast to the confected tales of ghosts, goblins and witches that abound at this time of year. Just as the wonders of the deep sea largely remain a mystery to mankind, so too the world of darkness that surrounds us every evening contains just as many intriguing secrets.


£5 for members / online
£9 on the day

Live Dates
26th October 2018 5pm-10pm (Late)
27th October 2018 11am-8pm
28th October 2018 11am-6pm

Royal Horticultural Society Lindley Hall, SW1P 2QW


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