Royal Court brought To life at new Great Tower Attraction in Dover Castle
‘Pepper’s Ghost’ characters, sound effects and scents create immersive new visitor experience at major English Heritage site
Audio-visual specialist Integrated Circles has brought to life famous 12th century historical figures including King Henry II to tell the story of the Great Tower at Dover Castle, as part of a major project by English Heritage to transform the Castle’s visitor experience.
Advanced virtual-image projections of period characters, audio soundscapes, and scent generation from equipment installed by Integrated Circles enable visitors to ‘meet’ historic characters and hear stories of courtly life in Dover Castle’s Great Tower, giving a rich and educational experience.
The Great Tower was built for Henry II’s court and important guests and is one of the largest and most elaborate keeps ever constructed. The new experience evokes the Tower’s appearance in the 1180s with three floors dressed in the period style, including the King’s Hall with throne, the King’s bed Chamber, and the Great Hall, used for dining and entertaining.
Within these areas, Integrated Circles’ VideoStore HD high definition solid-state video players are used to generate ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ characters – moving hologram-like figures – which are projected in front of visitors, with dialogue and audio effects driven from the company’s SoundStore units. Characters include King Henry II, his steward William FitzAudelin, the King's court jester, Roland the Farter, armourerers and many other members of his court at the time.
Dirk Bennett, Interpretation Manager for English Heritage said: “Dover Castle is one of our flagship sites, and we wanted to bring the history of the Great Tower to life to make it truly engaging and immersive for visitors. With the characters visualised using Integrated Circles’ solutions, and the meticulous research and recreation of the room interiors, we truly believe that people will feel like they have entered life in the court of Henry II.”
Simon Beer, technical director of Integrated Circles said, “This was a technically challenging installation, with complex projections, lighting, audio and effects that had to be seamlessly integrated with the period decorations in the confines of a listed medieval property. However, we feel the attraction really does evoke the history and significance of the Great Tower.”
Integrated Circles was awarded the contract for the work by English Heritage following a Europe-wide tendering process. The company’s experience in delivering Pepper’s Ghost projected characters for several clients, including the award winning “Untold Story” at Blenheim Palace.
Integrated Circles has over 30 years’ experience of working on sympathetic audio-visual installations in listed buildings and properties, such as Hampton Court Palace, Chatham’s Historical Dockyards and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.