Awake in the Dark: An Evening of Unsettling Stories

Personally, I don’t know which was more humane; incineration or being buried in a box, awake in the dark for all eternity.

It’s a question author and local scare-lebrity Scott Swenson examines in his short story “Deadder Box,” and the inspiration behind the title of his newest volume of chilling short stories and poetry.

Tampa Theatre invites brave and curious souls to gather in the city’s most haunted movie palace to count down the hours to Halloween and celebrate the release of Swenson’s fifth book, Awake in the Dark at 9:30pm Wednesday, Oct. 30. Swenson will share passages from the new tome, and will be joined onstage by members of the Storytellers of Old Tampa Bay for an R-rated evening of spoken-word horror intended for mature audiences.

Among the stories shared will be the Top 10 finalists in the A Nightmare on Franklin Street “Trick or Tweet” contest. Based on audience applause, the winning story (limited to a Tweet-length 280 characters) will win $500 and an invitation to appear on Swenson’s popular horror-industry podcast A Scott in the Dark.


Tickets are $10 / $7 for Tampa Theatre Members. Doors open at 8:30pm, and Swenson will be signing copies of his books in the lobby before and after the show.

For more than 30 years, Scott Swenson has been bringing stories to life as a writer, director, producer and performer. He was the co-creator and Creative Leader for the first 15 years of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream event, and was the writer and creative director for the historically based atmospheric theatre piece, “The Vault of Souls” in downtown Tampa. His most recent projects include DARK at Fort Edmonton Park in Alberta, Canada, and UNDead in the Water at The American Victory Ship in Tampa. He is a regular contributor to Seasonal Entertainment Source magazine, and his podcast, A Scott in the Dark, seeks to inform and inspire professional and amateur haunters.

In 2019 Scott will release two books; Follow the Story: The Foundation for Every Great Attraction in August and Awake in the Dark: A Collection of Poetry, Prose and Paintings in October. These are in addition to his three previous collections of poetry and short fiction. He is an active member of The Horror Writers Association and a sought-after panelist and presenter for Entertainment trade shows focused on haunted attractions, storytelling and atmospheric theatre. For more information, please visit

Scott Swenson

A Nightmare on Franklin Street 2019 is presented by Voodoo Ranger and J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc. Promotional consideration is provided by Spooky Empire and WEDU PBS