Credit: Flickr geishaboy500
London has long been a draw to all those who favour the paranormal. With Romans, peasants, Tudors and Victorians all passing their lives within its walls, all this history was bound to leave an impression on the city. This is not felt more strongly than in London’s theatres, where superstitions and the supernatural run hand in hand with those in ‘the business’.
If ghostly apparitions are your thing, London’s West End is definitely the place to visit this summer. And with the Jubilee behind us and the Olympics yet to crash onto our shores, now more than ever is the perfect time to seek out the supernatural lurking in London’s theatres. The question is: are you brave enough…?
Credit: Flickr slimmer_jimmer
Theatre Royal Dury Lane
Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JF
Theatre Royal Dury Lane is the oldest theatre in London with buildings being present on the site since 1663. It is not surprising then to learn that it is said to be one of the most haunted theatres in the world. There are several stories of resident ghosts at Theatre Royal, of Joseph Grimaldi, whose white harlequin clown face has been seen floating around the theatre and Dan Leno, the clog dancing pantomime dame who went mad and died in 1904. Actors are said to see his face if they are in his favourite dressing room, or hear him practicing his clog dancing routine.
The most famous ghost of Theatre Royal however, is that of the Man in Grey. He is said to be a limping young man in 18th century attire, and is often seen sitting in the stalls or walking through the upper circles while actors are rehearsing. It is thought that the Man in Grey is linked to a skeleton found in a hidden room in the theatre by Victorian builders, with remains of a riding cloak clinging to his bones and a dagger between his ribs. The apparition of the Man in Grey is said to be a good omen however; he only appears to watch rehearsals of plays that go on to do extremely well.
What’s On at Theatre Royal: Shrek
Credit: Flickr Simon Harriyott
411-412 Strand London WC2R 0NS
The ghost that haunts the Adelphi Theatre, and Covent Garden tube station, is said to be of William Terriss. Terriss was one of the greatest actors of his time, the go to guy for playing heroic characters such as Robin Hood. However, in 1897 he was stabbed three times at the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre by Richard Archer Prince, a bit part and impoverished actor who believed that is was Terriss’ fault that he was unemployable (in reality Terriss had been giving him money through the actors benevolent fund). Despite being a friendly man in life, the ghost of Terriss is said to be a terrifying one in both appearance and poltergeist activities.
What’s On at Adelphi Theatre: Sweeny Todd
Credit: Flickr AndyRobertsPhotos
Russell Street, London, WC2B 5HH
Since 1989 the Fortune Theatre has been synonymous with the chilling theatre play, ‘The Woman in Black’. If you don’t know anything about it, it is a play with just two actors, an uncredited and rarely seen woman in black and a minimal set design. Despite the theatre building being over 88 years old, the ghostly visions have only been seen since the start of this play’s run. And what is the ghost that has been spotted? The ghost of a woman in black. Actors, whilst performing the play, have said to have looked up and seen two women in black in the wings: one the actor and the other an unexplained apparition. In a twist, in the plot of the play SPOILERS if you see the Woman in Black, you yourself then become haunted by her forever. END SPOILERS Maybe one ghost you definitely want to avoid.
What’s On: The Woman in Black
There are of course many more haunted theatres across London that couldn’t be fitted into this blog post. But here’s hoping that this will give you a rough guide on where to start ghost hunting. Just remember to never utter Macbeth’s name in your searching’s; you’ll never know what bad luck you may uncover.
Share and Enjoy
Category: London Calling