Sleepy Hollow comes to Old Sturbridge Village

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Director Brian Clowdus is looking to cast a few ghoulish characters to wear black cloaks and white makeup while guiding people around Old Sturbridge Village for his inaugural production of "The Sleepy Hollow Experience" this fall.

But if you decide you have what it takes, don't say you want to play the role of a "zombie."

"When I think of zombies, I think of it being really cheesy," said Clowdus, who runs the production company the Brian Clowdus Experience. "This is an elevated experience. It has sophistication to it."

Old Sturbridge Village put out a casting call this week in the form of a newsletter on Clowdus's behalf. Beginning in October, and running through Nov. 5, the living history museum will be transformed into a set for the interactive performance piece, which is based on the classic tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman.

Clowdus is hoping to hire at least 10 "ghouls" who will be tasked with guiding audience members from place to place during what he calls an "immersive" play. Village props and buildings will serve as the backdrop as the plot unfolds. The hired ghouls will mostly stay silent, but will need to have an ominous and creepy demeanor to keep guests engaged.


"You have to love being spooky, and love interacting with people," said Clowdus, who was tapped by Old Sturbridge Village earlier this year to bring his experiential story to the area from Atlanta, Georgia.

He describes "The Sleepy Hollow Experience" as a performance with "a lot of music and a steampunk vibe."

"It's Old World meets New World," Clowdus said.

Live auditions will be held at Old Sturbridge Village on Monday, Sept. 26. Rehearsals begin Tuesday, Oct. 4. All performances of the show — unfortunately — have already sold out. So becoming a part of it is the best chance for latecomers to catch the action live.


Clowdus said that potential ghouls don't need to have an acting background, but experience with haunted houses or other shows is always a plus. A selection of the best ghouls will also serve as understudies for the three actors playing the roles of Ichabod Crane, Katrina Van Tassel, and Brom Bones.

But remember, zombies need not apply.

"Not 'zombies,' that word makes me really nervous," said Clowdus. "The ghouls look decayed, like [someone] dug the body up from the ground."

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.