You could be forgiven for thinking you were in the UK next Tuesday evening, if you happen to pop into the Arena Centar in the Croatian capital Zagreb. On 27 November, The Ultimate Pub Quiz, where 100 challengers will face 100 questions in 10 rounds, will take place at Sky Bowling inside the mall.
Croatia Week spoke to the English man now living in Croatia, who was responsible for introducing Croats to the typically English tradition, Peter Hopwood, to find out more.
Hi Peter, when and how did you end up in Croatia of all places?
Well, after spending much of my early 20s working for a British Tour operator in resorts across Europe, in 2000, I found myself managing in the Istrian town of Rovinj where, I first met my wife. A predicted turn of events followed, leaving Rovinj for Varaždin, tying the knot, becoming a father (twice), setting up my own business (Libris communications) http://libris-komunikacije.hr/ et Voila! – need I say more!
What were you doing in the UK before living in Croatia?
After completing Art College, I set off for Paris working for Disneyland Paris before heading for the vibrant port of Marseille, studying French at University. A few years passed before joining a British tour operator, which gave me the opportunity to work and explore further places making Croatia my 8th country in fifteen years!
How did the pub quiz concept start in Croatia?
In 2009, I created a teambuilding event called the «Ultimate Pub Quiz» https://www.facebook.com/The.Ultimate.Pub.Quiz but as a slightly different concept to the run-of-the-mill, somewhat mundane and occasionally geeky pub quizzes found across the UK. Something colourful, passionate and above all more of a fun interactive show for everyone, a sexy, upbeat fun night out that involves a combination of fun-trivia, team-tasks, crazy yet appealing challenges all in English – something unique to the Croatian market.
Since the first event, we’ve featured across Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia at conferences and seminars as part of their social evenings. Recently, we’ve returned to doing public events featuring every 2 months at the Arena Centar – skybowling in Zagreb which appeals to everyone from office colleagues, a group of friends to hen nights and groups of students – which is exactly who it is aimed at, everyone!
How many people do they usually attract?
Corporate events can be anything from 50 to 250 people. The public events usually attract around 30 teams which is 150 people simultaneously competing against each other, passionate and emotional, laughs and tears, enjoying a night out with their team!
What other projects are you involved in within Croatia?
For a few years now, I’ve been part of the team organising the «London Calling Comedy Project»http://londoncallingclub.com/ – bringing the cream of London’s stand-up comedy scene to cities across Croatia. A project which has taken Croatia by storm hitting 9 cites, bringing more than 50 comedians to Croatia putting smiles on over 20,000 people since it began at the end of 2010.
What is on the cards for 2013?
2013 looks to be an optimistic 12 months ahead as the Pub Quiz and London Calling spread their wings even further. As Training Manager of a set of International summer schools in the UK, I’ll be busy creating groups from Europe and Croatia, presenting the schedule and providing insight to the centres. More PR events and educational workshops are being planned with the British Embassy Zagreb and British Council and TEDx Varaždin is on its way!
To compliment the Ultimate Pub Quiz, we’ll be testing a few more «English» entertainment concepts adding a bit of spice to those long winter evenings!