Carnesky’s Ghost Train



The seminal standalone work that was Carnesky’s Ghost Train haunted the borders of art and entertainment for ten years, occupying a unique space that blended artful theatrical installation with a stunning, magical fairground ride.

This work saw the birth of Marisa’s company Carnesky Productions along with a methodology that encouraged collaborations between practitioners with diverse skill sets – both emergent and established. Included in this was a performer Marisa met at a filmmaking workshop called Paloma Faith and the illusionist Paul Kieve who had just finished creating the illusions for ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.

Carnesky’s Ghost Train spent 2004-2009 touring the UK and Europe. Incorporating high-end illusions, aerial flying, moving performance sets, a cast of eight and 50 metres of specially-built track, it was an expensive show to tour. “It was like touring with your own theatre venue and company and would take a week to erect each time” says Marisa Carnesky.

Blackpool Council’s suggestion in 2009 that they could to take on the art piece as a permanent tourist attraction on the Golden Mile was, therefore, met with great delight. For five years the ride opened throughout the season in all winds and all weathers. Carnesky’s Ghost Train went on the receive over 18,000 visitors a year proving to be a big hit not only with the thousands of holidaymakers who stumbled across it but also with those whose traveled to Blackpool especially. As well as being a popular tourist destination it provided the historic entertainment town with its only alternative performance venue. During the five-year residency Carnesky ran drama workshops for local young drama students on top of providing work for over 70 young people many of whom have gone on to work in theatre, TV, live-art and alternative cabaret.

Ride History
Dagenham Docks, London, UK, Jan 2004
Coventry University, Coventry, UK, Jan–Feb 2004
Albert Square, Manchester, UK, Mar 2004
The Old Truman Brewery, London, UK, Jun 2004
The BRIT Awards, London, UK, Feb 2005
Zomer van Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium, May 2005
Glastonbury Festival, UK, Jun 2005
Winter Gardens, Blackpool, UK, Jan 2006–Dec 2008
Golden Mile, Blackpool, UK, Jan 2009–Dec 2014

“Carnesky’s Ghost Train was an important part of my development as a performer who has the confidence to experiment and to be myself on stage.”

Paloma Faith

“Even in its brevity it manages to touch on the haunting pain of real experiences in which grotesque fairytale meets 19th- and 20th-century history head on.”

 Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

"Combining a cultural classy edge with a lot of enjoyable screaming, Carnesky’s Ghost Train is a passionate tribute to war scattered refugee ghosts. It was a success in London and is now even better, both more serious and more fun.”

Libby Purves, The Times

Artistic Director – Marisa Carnesky


Paloma Faith; Tai Shani; Geneva Foster Gluck; Violeta Misic; Dagmara Bilon; Agnes Czerna; Zamira Mummery; Jude Mannagh; Valeria Dragova; Nic Lyons; Layla Rosa; Gemma Brockiss; Valarie Renay; Amber Sealy; Rowan Fae; Empress Stah; Rhyannon Styles; H Plewis; Fancy Chance; Beatrice Brown; Madeleine Brown; Gemma Tortella; Rosie Meres; Lara Clifton; Tamara Tyrer; Mim King; Ruth Ivo; Marawa The Amazing; Leigh Robinson Cleaver; Marcella Puppini; Ashling Deeks; Freya Watson; Amber Hickey; Harry Clayton-Wright; Nona Cabasa; Kay Trayford; Jason Karl; Victoria Ivanov; Ivo Ivanov; Matthew Hunt; Felicity Schools; Danielle Watson; Dani James; Anthony Puckering; Jemma Drake; Mark Lofthouse; Annabel Pidduck; Red Roberts; Keely Atkinson Strutton; Keely Rose; Elliot Middlesborough; Olivia Rose; Hayley Ginger; Katie Davidson; Adrian Catch; Cheryl Dakin; Gaz Jenkins; Laura Catlow; Ginny Lax; Johna Curtis; Liam Jennsky; Annie Palin; Claire Mcdowell; Mikey J Young; Alison Eaves; Stephanie Cartmell

Producers – London Artists Projects, Jeremy Goldstein, Rose Sharp, Natasha Davies, Richard Ryan, Steve Doidge

Project & Production Managers – Neil Cooper, Richard Ryan, Peter Haley, Steve Doidge

Illusion Design – Paul Kieve

Digital Media Artist – Jonathan Allen

Dove Trainer & Supplier – Scott Penrose

Set Designer – Laura Hopkins

Train & Rail System Structural Design – Will Bowen

Facade & Set Construction – Scenery Jessel, Dovetail

Scenery, Blackpool Illuminations, Heckfords – Justin Pook

Scenery & Facade Painting/Installation – Joseph Meager, Francis Coleman, Alistair Brotchie, Kate Hopkins, Kaye Dunnings

Carriage Construction – Alex Turnpenny

Costumes – Zoe Lloyd, Hilary Lewis, Sarah Munro, Annie Cabasa

Artwork & Graphics – Insect Circus, Cathy Ward, Jean Christophe Nicolas, Mark Copeland

Circus Consultants – Geneva Foster Gluck, Marawa, Rowan Fae

Composer – Rohan Kriwaczek

Sound Design – Lance Dann

Company Managers – Natacha Poledica, Bridey Watson, Jason Karl, Nona Cabasa


Supported By

Arts Council England



Mama Cash

European Cultural Foundation

Warwick Arts Centre

Fierce Festival

Creative Agency Lewisham

Glastonbury Festival

Zomer van Antwerpen

Arts and Humanities Research Council

The University of Sheffield

Blackpool Council

Blackpool Illuminations

Sandcastle Water Park

Blackpool and the Flyde College


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