Murder at the Ice House Theatre fundraiser set for January 15

The Visalia Players join the rage of Murder Mystery games, parties, and performances, with Murder at the Ice House Theatre, a fundraiser, on Saturday, January 15, 2022. The evening of participative, interactive theatre is written, directed, and produced by Jen Masters, the current president of the Visalia Players.

Although murder mysteries have become popular in the 21st Century, their origin stems from the early 1800s. Versions of the entertainment include those that are scripted with the outcome predetermined; those that are improv with even the originator not certain where the plot will go; and those that are virtual either through videos or the Internet.

Masters has chosen a combined format for the Ice House experience. She has written a script with characters, shills if you will, to reveal clues and move the plot along. Audience members will participate in an improv format guessing plot twists and posing solutions based on the revelations. Masters will serve as emcee getting the interaction started and keeping it moving. She is very closed mouth about who the characters/shills will be. Nothing must be revealed in advance!

However, a few details did slip through. Murder at the Ice House Theatre is set in the 1920s and all participants are encouraged to come in attire from the era: think The Great Gatsby, flapper dresses, gangster pinstripes, and zoot suits. You cannot go wrong with any of these. Vintage dress is not required, but opportunities abound on the Internet for both rental and purchase. Just Google “costume rental” and/or “1920s fashion,” and you will be amazed.

As to the plot, Masters noted, “A group of thespians have turned an old Ice House into a theatre.” (Sound familiar?) “It is opening night of the new theatre. Everyone is dressed to the hilt. Suddenly, it is announced that a prominent member of the cast has been murdered. The show cannot go on until the mystery is solved!”

Murder mysteries for large groups – Murder at the Ice House Theatre is limited to 80 participants – can occur in a single room with a fixed stage, in the round with actors moving among the guests, and in multiple rooms with clues scattered. Again, Masters has chosen a mixed format.

The evening will begin with hors d’oeuvres in the Lobby at 6:30 p.m. At 7:30, Masters will “set the stage” for the night’s participation. Everyone will then move into the auditorium. The seating area as well as the stage will be the venue for the evening, but no one will be allowed back stage. The events leading to the murder will be revealed as time progresses.

The participants are limited to 80 so be sure to make your reservations early. Masters indicated that patrons with limited mobility will be included so do not be concerned if standing and walking can be problematic. You might become the holder of secrets!

Concerned about participating? Don’t be! All ideas for a solution will be welcomed and participating will make the evening more enjoyable. You may find you have a knack for solving mysteries!

Murder at the Ice House Theatre is one night only Saturday, January 15, 2022. All tickets are $30.  The proceeds from the evening will go toward the ADA improvements for which the Visalia Players are responsible once the purchase of the Ice House from the City of Visalia is complete. The Ice House is located at the corner of Race and Santa Fe in Visalia.

To purchase tickets, visit our website at, visit our Facebook page “Visalia Community Players”, or call 559-734-3900.

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