The Challenge

Telling the story of a historic trial in the courtroom where it actually took place.

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Monmouthshire Council and exhibition consultant Ian Parkin were looking to develop an innovative museum experience within the courtroom at Shire Hall. We were tasked with telling the story of a chap called John Frost, a Chartist leader who was tried for high treason in 1840. Digging around like Indiana Jones through dusty court transcripts gave us insight into the events surrounding the trial. It was clear that there were a lot of counterpoints in terms of both personal perspectives and facts. We used these to drive our film-tastic interactive tour.


Engine Creative produced seven films as the centrepiece for an interactive tablet-PC based tour of the courtroom. We worked in conjunction with the client team and historical consultant Les James. Each film told the story of one key aspect of the trial thorough interviews with actors playing the people involved and reconstructed scenes of the trial itself. Using people from both sides (pro and anti-chartist) gave us skewed and unreliable narrators that presented the different viewpoints. Like a dog hogging the bed, the truth lay somewhere in the middle.
The Payback
  • Helped launch the ¬£4.2m building restoration project.
  • Universal praise for the films from visitors to the exhibit.
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