Local quiz master hopes to take his show on the road

By Allan Bradbury
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Robin Wright has been hosting trivia nights at Hallet Brewing since last November, now he’s looking to expand beyond the Fort Frances craft brewery.

Note, this Robin Wright is not the local financial planner or the Hollywood actress who played Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride.

It started with a suggestion to help liven up Fort Frances nightlife.

While having a drink at Hallet Brewing on Scott St. in Fort Frances last fall, Wright decided to mention that he thought Fort Frances could use a trivia night. He gave his phone number to the bartender that evening and later got in contact with Hallet Brewing co-owner Tanya Mueller. Over the last six months trivia topics have ranged from the 90s to 2000s, from Disney, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings to Sports, Marvel and Christmas Movies. He has also done “name that tune” nights.

That first trivia night in November was Wright’s first time hosting though he’d participated in many trivia nights before. Now he’s hoping to expand his offerings, even outside the bounds of Fort Frances.

Those familiar with pub-style trivia will be right at home at one of Wright’s trivia nights. The process is pretty simple, each participant or table gets a sheet of paper and then Wright will ask questions. Generally he goes in three rounds, with questions getting a little tougher as they progress. After each round answers are checked and scores are tallied.

Wright says the questions aren’t always as niche as one might think. He used a recent Lord of the Rings Trivia night as an example.

“There were only so many questions that were directly from Lord of The Rings,” he said. “I kind of play around with it so that even if you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan, you can still get into it and I try to make sure there’s a broad accessibility.”

For example a question he gave as a broad option was: “Gandalf is one of the main characters in Lord of the Rings and James Gandolfini was an actor known for this HBO series.”

“So then people who’ve been struggling are like ‘well at least I know that is the Sopranos,’” Wright said.

He also tries to use various types of questions or clues in his repertoire.

“I ​​also try to incorporate different sorts of media that I can. I will print out pictures so I can do picture clues,” he said. “I sometimes do audio clues too, like I’ll play an excerpt of an interview with somebody, or from a movie or even a song and I try to tie it in with that.”

Breaking the questions into three rounds allows for players to refresh their drinks or get a bite to eat depending on the venue. After scoring the answers, he’ll discuss them with the competitors.

While in some locales trivia can be taken quite seriously, Wright says he likes to keep the atmosphere light. He doesn’t have a problem with re-asking questions or taking a little criticism.

“I feel like with some of the trivia nights I’ve been to in the past, there has always been this sort of wall,” he said. “Although there’s obviously mutual respect, like don’t act like a jerk when you’re heckling. Even when I’m asking the questions (People will be) like ‘can you repeat the question,’ or ‘that doesn’t make sense.’ I want to make you understand it and interact with the audience too, and just have fun with them,” he said. “Have fun with the wrong answers and just try to make them feel a little more welcome rather than ‘no I’m the quizmaster and I know everything.’ I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t know anything, and we can share that experience together in a way that we can laugh…”

Wright wants to keep his trivia more approachable and make sure that anyone who comes feels welcome. That even includes the kids who have shown up at the brewery for Disney trivia nights in the past. Also while trivia is quite fun with a group of friends and the added benefit of more brains with more knowledge, solo players are welcome. (This reporter found success at 2000s trivia night as well as “Toys and games night” while flying solo, but is always open to joining a team.)

Upcoming trivia nights at Hallet Brewing include a 1980s themed night on Apr. 16 and The Office themed night on Apr. 25. Wright has also published a schedule for May trivia nights, on Thursday May 2 he’ll host a Movie Quotes theme with a focus on film’s great villains. The rest of the May trivia nights are on Tuesdays. May 7 features the return of a Star Wars theme, May 14 is a British themed night, the May 21 Taylor Swift theme is sure to be popular and May 28 will be a name that tune night featuring songs from the ’50s and ’60s.

Weekday trivia nights start at 6 p.m. While Saturday trivia nights start at 7 p.m. Alot of the themes have been popular so booking ahead is always advised the cost is $10 per person with a 5 oz beer included. To book a table you can contact Hallet Brewing or reach out to Wright himself by email at fortfrancestrivia@gmail.com or check out his Instagram page @fortfrancestrivia.

With the hope of taking his trivia hosting on the road he’s open to any venue within reasonable distance, rates would have to be discussed depending on the cost of travel and accommodations if needed. A venue with a sound system is preferable so everyone can hear well, he can print photos for visual clues but large venues may want a projector as well.

Anyone interested in availing of Wright’s trivia hosting services can reach out to him by email or through his Instagram page.

Local quiz master Robin Wright has been hosting regular trivia nights at Hallet Brewery since November. The events have been growing in popularity, and Wright is looking to expand to other venues in the region. – Submitted photo