The Nothe Fort in Weymouth will breathe life into abandoned dungeons with an audio-visual experience this half term.

Voices from the Walls will look to re-purpose dungeons and tunnels at the fort for visitors.

Visitors will be able to hear voices in the walls of real people who died in and around the fort during its construction and operation in the Victorian period.

The first of three exhibits will be open to the public this Halloween half term starting Saturday, October 21 featuring the spooky Nothe Fort Ghost Tunnel.

Organisers said: “It promises to be a truly thrilling experience which will test your fear but also tend your curiosity this Halloween!”

Dorset Echo:

Weymouth-born artist and sound designer Joe Butcher has collaborated with the fort on this project, which was funded by the Arts Council of England.  

Mr Butcher’s sound design studio Dark Age Audio will re-tell some of the more grizzly tales featured in local Historian Sue Hogben’s book The Nothe Fort and Beyond: In defence of Weymouth and Portland, combining Victorian architecture with modern acoustic science.

Mr Butcher said: “Growing up in Weymouth, the indomitable stone features of the Nothe Fort have always fascinated me. These impressive structures represented the height of industrial progress and military prowess in Victorian Britain.

"Since I have been alive, the fort has become a museum. The disorientating nature of the underground rooms and passageways is unique and exciting for visitors.

“It was here as a child, listening to my voice echo in these tunnels, that I first began to think about how sound reacts in a space and the magic this can create,” he added.

Mr Butcher said that when Britain's economy shifted, the 'cavernous' spaces of closed factories and mines were abandoned and ready for a new purpose. 

He said: “It is my intention to innovate new ways for these acoustically rich rooms to be experienced using modern sound technology.”

The artist also said that he would like other sound designers to come and join him in displaying their work, with a plan to open unexplored sections of the fort.

Mr Butcher said the cavernous ‘Water Tank’ was originally used as a well in case the fort was put under siege and the occupants needed drinking water to survive.

Dorset Echo:

He said: “Using Impulse Response technology, not dissimilar to that of sonar used on submarines, I have recorded data from three empty spaces within the Nothe Fort including the ‘Water Tank’.

"I am using this information to create a digital representation of the space, allowing me to test how creations will sound in the museum from my studio in Bristol.”

The Voices from the Walls exhibition will start Saturday, October 21, with admission included in tickets to the fort.

It will be open daily from 10am to 4pm until November 1 when the fort will only be accessible on Saturdays and Sundays between 11am and 3pm.

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