Set Pieces from Viral “Willy Wonka” Experience Being Auctioned Off for Charity

A record store in Scotland announced on Instagram that it's selling three backdrops from the 'Willy's Chocolate Experience' event

<p>Ebay</p> A backdrop from the


A backdrop from the 'Willy's Chocolate Experience' event

A few lucky (or perhaps unlucky) fans of Willy Wonka will be able to take home set pieces from the now-infamous Glasgow experience, thanks to a charity auction.

On Thursday, the Glasgow, Scotland, record store Monorail Music announced in an Instagram post that it had acquired three of the "Willy's Chocolate Experience" backdrops — two featuring colorful, candy-looking scenes and one black-and-white striped “Time Tunnel” background.

“This is real,” Monorail Music wrote, alongside photos of its staff posing in front of the backdrops. “Glasgow Willy Wonka Experience ‘House Of Illuminati’ [original] backdrops, for sale, from us.”

According to the post, the record store's staff acquired the backdrops when they were “rescued from the bin by a pal of the shop.” All three of the items are for sale together, per the shop’s eBay listing, and all of the proceeds are set to be donated to Medical Aid for Palestinians, a London-based charity that is currently collecting funds to assist Gazans in need of medical attention amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Related: 'Nightmare’ Willy Wonka Experience Leaves Children in Tears — and Prompts Families to Call the Police

To date, the auction has received more than 40 bids, and the current highest offer for the backdrops is set at £595 (or about $765).

<p>Ebay</p> A backdrop from 'Willy's Chocolate Experience'


A backdrop from 'Willy's Chocolate Experience'

What was supposed to be a kids’ entertainment experience quickly went viral in late February after images of the event circulated on social media. The photos showed a sparsely decorated warehouse complete with what some believed to be AI-generated art, as well as actors wearing cheaply made costumes working off of AI scripts.

The event, organized by the company House of Illuminati, was supposed to feature “whimsical performances” and “surprises at every turn” as part of “a celebration of chocolate in all its delightful forms.” Guests paid £35 (about $45) to attend, per the BBC, but upon arrival, kids and parents alike were horrified at the space, with one attendee stating that the organizers “sold a dream and delivered a nightmare,” according to Sky News.

Even actors who participated in the experience spoke out after the fact, including local Scottish actor Paul Connell — who played the iconic Roald Dahl character Willy Wonka. The 31-year-old actor said he was given a script filled with “AI-generated gibberish,” according to Today.

“People were shouting, people who put on the event were crying,” Connell told the outlet. “There were arguments, people running around everywhere — the set had been trashed.”

Related: Actor Hired for Disastrous Willy Wonka Experience Feels Scammed: ‘The Whole Thing Was Disrespectful'

Actors, such as 29-year-old Kirsty Paterson, who played a now-viral Oompa Loompa, were told they could only give out “one jelly bean and a quarter cup of lemonade” to each child.

Connell said the organizer told him at one point, “You’re spending too much time with the kids, we need to get them through as quickly as possible.”

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“By this point, I was visibly angry,” he told The Independent. “I was like, now there’s going to be a lot of disappointed kids.”

The media attention around the event has also had an impact on some of the actors, according to Paterson.

Related: Viral Oompa Loompa Claims Actors Haven't Been Paid For Their Work at 'Embarrassing' Willy Wonka Experience

“I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat this: This has been quite a lot for me,” Paterson said in an interview with Vulture. “I find it funny and I can make a humorous joke about it, but the flip side of this is that this is embarrassing for what I do, and I hope this doesn’t tarnish that.”

Additionally, the actress alleged that the "Willy's Chocolate Experience" actors had yet to be paid as of Feb. 28. According to Paterson, the pay was advertised as £500 (about $631) for two days of work, although the event ended after just a few hours.

“So it’s like we’re kind of going through all this for nothing,” she added.

The House of Illuminati owner and event organizer Billy Coull finally spoke out on March 3, telling The Sunday Times that “it all looked good on paper.”

Related: Creator of Willy Wonka-Themed Experience Apologizes for Failed Event: ‘It All Looked Good on Paper’

Coull issued another apology in a March 1 post on the company’s Facebook page, and noted the problems with the event were “solely” his responsibility.

“I understand the disappointment and frustration this has caused, and for that, I am truly sorry," he wrote.

Bidding for Monorail Music's auction is set to close on Thursday.

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