For the first time in recent history, the Residence Hall Association will host a murder mystery dinner with a cast of 15-20 volunteer actors.
“It’s just going to be really fun, it’s something new,” said Kendra Buell, RHA programming chair. “Because we haven’t done anything like this before.”
The holiday-themed event dubbed Ho, Ho, Homicide begins at 5 p.m., Dec. 5 in the quiet room at Bob’s Place. The murder mystery dinner will end at 7:30-9 p.m. Attendance is on a first come, first serve basis, and the maximum occupancy of the quiet room is approximately 60-80 students.
Volunteers will be assigned a role from a list of holiday-themed characters including Santa and Mrs. Clause, Connie Clause and all of Santa’s reindeer. Once assigned their role, volunteers will receive notification of what outfit and props they need to coordinate for their character.
Those who volunteer will privately receive a list of objectives their character must fulfill both before and after the staged murder. The murder will be executed with the lights turned off so as to maintain an air of mystery. Afterward, a series of investigations — during which, multiple clues will be found to fill in the details — will be conducted. Throughout the night, actors will mingle with audience members.
Buell said there will be fake money provided for in-character actors so they may bribe audience members to give them information and clues that their character would otherwise not know.
Attendants are not required to eat a meal at the event, but those that do eat will be required to pay a fee. According to Buell, volunteers may potentially have their meals paid for if they do not have a housing meal plan.
Buell did not design the murder mystery, and instead purchased a 97 page package from Night of Mystery — a website for hosting murder mystery parties — that contains all the information for the event.
Buell said coordinating with residence hall community volunteer actors will be one of the hardest parts of the event.
Buell said actors will be given awards in various categories — the Smoking Gun Award presented to a sleuth of “cunning wit,” who uncovers the murderer, and the Dressed to Kill Award for the actor with the best costume. The best actor or actress will receive the Drama Queen Award.
RHA adviser Amanda Mollet has coordinated a murder mystery before at Radford University in Virginia and is looking forward to its introduction at UI.
“Honestly, I’m really not concerned (about the event),” Mollet said. “I feel like Kendra has done such a great job of doing programs.”
can be reached at