Brainiac Detective Academy Live comes to Weston town centre

As the retail market starts to return to a new kind of normality, the Sovereign Centre in Weston-Super-Mare is turning to edutainment as part of its summer season plans to drive footfall and support operators.

The Brainiac Detective Academy Live will be coming to Weston’s town centre offering a new family experience based on education through entertainment, with a focus on STEM topics.

The free, interactive 60-minute hands-on workshop, led by the Brainiacs, provides young detectives, in their family groups, with an opportunity to use real forensic techniques to discover clues and help solve a mystery. From learning about different types of fingerprints and how to extract them from crime scenes to analysing ransom note ink and crime scene footprints, the activities they undertake will help them discover who committed the crime.

The initiative is part of the wider Weston Placemaking Strategy, which has the Council-owned Sovereign Centre at its heart. This innovative event follows joint, community-partnered initiatives with organisations such as Weston College, North Somerset Arts and Made in North Somerset.

The centre is managed by Montagu Evans with centre manager, Jon Walton, leading the team as part of the strategy to reposition shopping centres at the heart of their communities.

Jon Walton said: “Running events that are genuinely engaging and create a buzz for visitors but also help meet centres’ commercial targets can be a challenge but here we have something really exciting that’s a UK shopping centre first.

“As we bring forward a greater variety of uses and events in the centre to help the high street thrive and generate more footfall, edutainment offers an opportunity to create a destination activity for all the family.  We will be measuring its impact carefully as well as thinking about other centres in our portfolio that would benefit.”

The Brainiac Detective Academy is run by Dan Colman Creative which specialises in multi-format live experiences and family STEM edutainment and has a portfolio including Science Museum Live and Aardman Animate IT! Live  as well as partnering with ITV studios, Microsoft, Edinburgh Science, Royal Institution, Butlins and Merlin Entertainment Group.

Its founder Dan Colman said: “We have had a lot of success worldwide over the years but are now looking closer to home and create more family-orientated edutainment events where the aim is to entertain, engage and inform..

“Retail spaces, shopping centres and other town centre venues have huge potential to bridge the gap between traditional retail and new destination-led marketing so we’re really pleased to be coming to the Sovereign Centre over the summer and bringing this thinking to life.”

The Sovereign Centre is one of a number of centres under management by Montagu Evans, with others including Friar’s Square in Aylesbury, Pride Hill, The Darwin Centre and  Riverside Centre in Shrewsbury and The Square in Camberley.

Kevin White, Partner at Montagu Evans, added: “Original, effective marketing initiatives that respond to the local area and draw people in from further afield are vital as we rebuild our communities and support our commercial occupiers. The Brainiac Detective Academy Live is a genuinely original proposition that meets so many of our aims. It’s a great example of working in partnership to create outstanding destinations that will help our towns thrive again.”

The events will run on Thursdays 22 and 29th July, and 5th and 12th August.

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