A new Kickstarter campaign has raised almost $300,000 in an attempt to bring its own Harry Potter style magical universe to North America, and it has chosen the University of Richmond as its Hogwarts.
For four days and three nights this summer people will enroll as students and professors in New World Magischola: A College of Wizardry Larp. Larp stands for Live Action Role Play, a type of interactive experience where participants take on the role of a character using costuming, props and other theatrical techniques.
The campaign’s initial goal was to raise $35,000, which would allow it to host the four-day event with a minimum of 80 player. As of Dec. 7, the campaign has raised more than $302,000.
The first event sold out within two minutes of being launched, and two following events have since been planned and sold out a similar rate. At $300,000 the group will be able to expand this magical experience and offer it as a summer camp for youth ages 11-17, according to the campaign.
“Larps help players learn a lot about others and how they think,” Maury Brown, president and CEO of LLC, a Larp company, said. “And about the world they live in as they implicitly compare it to the world they are playing in.”
Brown and Learn Larp Vice President Ben Morrow started New World Magischola after attending a similar Larp in Poland called Wizard College. Although it gets its inspiration from Wizard College, New World Magischola will have a distinctly North American feel.
The organizers have written a whole new magical universe for North America incorporating actual history and traditions. They found people are hungry for this kind of world, since most fiction about magic is set in Europe.
Soon after arriving on campus students will be divided into five houses and given a robe, a tie and a text book. Based on their path of study students will take four or five classes a day including Alchemy, Divination and Magical Defense.
After classes end students will have homework and will be able enjoy extracurricular activities including clubs, secret society meetings and other special lessons. There will also be a Tavern Master who will always have quests on hand for adventurous students.
“It’s more than just playing witch and wizard,” David Donaldson, the operations and summer coordinator at Richmond who is helping organize the event, said. “It’s a different way of learning.”
“I describe Larping as an escape from the harshness of reality, Thor Macht, who helped the group create a video for its Kickstarter page, said. “I mean, as an actor myself, anything I work on is an escape from reality.”
The maximum players per session is 160 and tickets range from $450 to $895 depending on the style of room each player wants. Group ticket purchases are encouraged including one called “Secret Society” costing $7,500 which includes 10 tickets and a special sub-plot for members.
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The players will be staying in the recently renovated dorms on the Richmond College side of campus. Ryland Hall, with it medieval styling, is where the group plans on teaching classes, but they will use spaces all over campus including the Greek Theater.
Brown encouraged new people to try it. “This larp," she said, "is designed especially for people who have never tried larping. We will have character coaches, workshops, and experienced role players on hand to help.”
Contact reporter William Shelton at email@example.com
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