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Spotlight On: Johnny Campbell

Spotlight On: Johnny Campbell

This week we spoke to the Edinburgh Dungeon‘s General Manager, Johnny Campbell. We asked him about his fascination with Edinburgh’s weird and wonderful history.

How long have you worked at the Edinburgh Dungeon?
I’ve worked in the same company, Merlin Entertainments – albeit at different sites – for 15 years. After a number of years spent at Thorpe Park in various roles, and 18 months at Weymouth Sealife Park, I moved to the Edinburgh Dungeon in 2011. Three years down the line it could be said that I’m now an expert on the darker side of Edinburgh’s historical past!

What do you love most about your job?
Helping customers have a brilliant time and seeing all of them leaving at the end of the day with big smiles on their faces is just amazing. I absolutely love the Dungeon’s brand with its quirky sense of humour; we can have a lot of fun with it but I’ve had some of the most random work conversations!

The Edinburgh Dungeon has won several awards. Which one are you particularly proud of?
We were recently recognised as the Best Visitor Attraction 2014 at the Scottish Entertainment Awards. Taking the top title was hugely rewarding, especially with all the hard work that has gone into the rebrand of the Dungeon over the past year.

Street of Sorrows is the latest show at the Edinburgh Dungeon. Tell us a little about the show.
‘Street of Sorrows: The true story of Edinburgh’s underground plague close’ sees guests immersed in the filth and deprivation of the capital in one of the darkest, disease-filled periods in history. The show introduces a new, sinister character to the Dungeon – the Foul Clenger, who seeks to reap the benefits of a panicked plague-ridden city – keeping all of our visitors on high alert! We’ve added some thrilling special effects and, with the Dungeon’s usual injection of cheeky humour, its one not to be missed.

Have you always had a fascination with Edinburgh’s weird and wonderful history?
I used to get the train over to Edinburgh from Fife when I was younger and was always fascinated by the dark, gothic Old Town. I guess this intrigue  has stayed with me through the years as I love delving into the stories of the capital’s history. Edinburgh has such character about it, its rich and murky past can’t help but capture your attention.

Which character from Edinburgh’s past would you most like to have met and why?
Well, from my time working at the Dungeon, I know a few who I wouldn’t have wanted to meet! I think Burke and Hare would have been an amusing two-some to have a wee dram with…

Friday 13th is coming up, how do you plan to mark this special date?
Friday 13th is always one our favourite dates so this June we’ll be hosting a special ‘Lates’ event. Taking the Dungeon into even darker territory than normal, we’re offering visitors the chance to join special ‘adults only’ late night tours from 7pm. There’s even a complimentary drink thrown in if visitors need a bit of Dutch courage before they venture into the depths of the Dungeon.

Quickfire Questions

Describe Edinburgh in three words
Beautiful, charismatic but dark…

Where in Edinburgh is your favourite historical place?
I love Calton Hill, it’s a great place to sample the stunning views and watch the world go by for a bit. If you don’t have that much time a trip to the Dungeon can ensure a brief lesson on the important facts of Edinburgh’s past.

If you could live in any period in Edinburgh when would it be?
The 16th and 17th centuries, when Scotland’s most infamous witch trials were taking place. I would have loved to have been part of the jury. At the Dungeon, the judge and courtroom give you a taster of this wicked part of Edinburgh’s history.

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edinburgh.dungeon@merlinentertainments.biz | www.thedungeons.com/Edinburgh