10 Most Haunted Theatres In The UK
With so much emotion, sweat and tears going into shows, plus the huge number of customer crying, laughing and enjoying shows over so many years, it's no surprise that theatres are so frequently said to be haunted.
There are hundreds of playhouses throughout the country, each with their own ghost stories, including tales of murder, suicide, betrayal and plenty of apparitions.
Below are the ten theatres which are best known for their reputation as one of the most haunted buildings in the UK.
10. Coliseum, London
London's iconic Coliseum is one of the cities largest theatres, welcoming 2,500 people to watch each performance, but for a time the theatre was also visited by a spooky being.
The ghost was seen following World War I, it's believed that on his last night on leave in London he watched a performance at the Coliseum. His ghost was first seen on the day he was killed in action and he continued to haunt the building for the next ten years.
9. Adelphi Theatre, London
Located on The Strand, the Adelphi is one of London's most famous theatres but the theatre's stage door is at the back on the building on the much quieter Maiden Lane.
It's here that in December 1897 the actor William Terris was stabbed by a fellow actor as he arrived for the evening's performance of the play The Secret Service. As Terris lay dying on the floor he vowed to gathering spectators that he “would be back."
Since then, tourists walking along the lane have reported seeing a shadow figure who they later identified as the murdered actor.
8. The Old Vic Theatre, Bristol
The Theatre Royal, home of the Bristol Old Vic since 1946, is one the oldest continually-operating theatres in the world.
The theatre on King Street was built between 1764–66, it's now a Grade I listed building and Daniel Day-Lewis called it "the most beautiful theatre in England."
The theatre is said to be haunted by a young actress called Sarah Siddon's. Sarah's boyfriend hanged himself at this theatre, and her ghost is thought to continue to mourn the loss.
When the Old Vic was redeveloped in 2010, the architect Andrzej Blonski reported seeing Sarah's ghost, wearing a long, white crinoline dress. Staff working at the theatre have reported hearing a female voice telling them to "get out."
But Sarah isn't alone, the ghost of a scenic painter named Richard who died in an accident while working is said to still haunt the building and if often blamed for continually moving props around.
7. Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Manchester
The Coliseum dates back to 1885, despite lots of competition when it originally opened, it's now the only theatre left in the area, although it too closed briefly in the 1930s due to financial difficulties, but opened again by the end of the decade.
The theatre's most famous ghost is that of an actor named Harold Norman, who lost his life after being accidentally stabbed during a performance of 'Macbeth' at the theatre in 1947. His ghost has been seen in the upper circle.
Another frequent spook is spotted in the wardrobe department, he's believed to be the ghost of Carl Paulsen, who died at the theatre in 1973.
6. The Old Nick Theatre, Gainsborough
There are so many reports of paranormal activity in the building, that used to be a police station and small prison, that some people refuse to enter alone at night, and even in the daytime. The reported phenomenon includes furniture moving, doors slamming, the sound of men and women crying, and reports of people being pushed on the stairs.
Many have witnessed apparitions of faceless policemen as well as convicts, most often wandering around the cells and in the police common room.
5. Theatre Royal, London
The Theatre Royal on Dury Lane is London's oldest working theatre, there's been a theatre on this site since 1663 and as you'd expect, the building has it's fair share of resident ghosts.
The theatre's most famous ghost is known as 'The Man In Grey', a spirit who is seen limping through the theatre in a grey cloak and three-cornered hat, he's usually seen at the beginning of a successful West End run.
Whoever this ghost is, he seems to be friendly, it's often been said that he'll give actors a helping hand by pushing them in to position and can often be seen walking past the stage in front of the entire audience during matinee performances.
4. Lyceum Theatre, London
The Lyceum theatre in London's West End, currently home to the 'Lion King' and the sighting of a terrifying sighting of a severed head.
One night a couple looking over the balcony saw the head looking back up at her from the lap of a lady below in the stalls.
They attempted to find the woman after the show but failed to find her but several years later the husband visited a house in Yorkshire where he was surprised to see a portrait of the terrifying face he's seen in London.
The owner of the house told him that he was an ancestor and former resident of the house who'd been beheaded for treason. His family also owned the land where the Lyceum was built.
3. The Royal Court Theatre, Bacup
The Royal Court Theatre was once the site of the Henrietta Street Iron Foundry, until it was destroyed by fire in 1850. It was later rebuilt and opened its doors to the public in 1893.
Many staff, guests and performers have reported paranormal activity in the form of poltergeist activity, ringing bells, unexplained draughts, and even disembodied blue legs seen walking through the building.
One of the theatre's ghosts is that of Kitty, who is thought to be an usher who worked at the theatre at some point in the past.
Others have reported hearing shuffling feet, the sound of an audience taking their seat but on investigation have found the theatre to be empty.
Reports of ghostly goings on have been made as recently as 2008, when a spirit was captured in a photograph taken during a performance by the Second Rossendale Scout Band. Although the ghostly figure wasn't visible at the time, in the photo an old woman with grey hair was seen wearing a black dress with a white collar.
2. Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
A theatre built in the heart of Manchester in 1806, although a theatre has stood on the site much longer, but was demolished to make way for the newer more modern building. The theatre was enlarged in 1847 giving us the building we see today.
The theatre has been through more than its fair share of tragedy. It was damaged by a German bomb during the Second World War, which resulted in it being closed until it was rebuilt in the mid-1970s. The bomb blast sadly killed several people.
The theatre was again damaged in 1996, this time by a 3,300lb IRA bomb, which detonated less than 50 meters away from the building.
Two people have taken their own lives in the theatre, one by throwing himself off a balcony, the other is said to be a female. Could it be her ghost who is seen in the form of an unhappy female spirit in the wig room. It's claimed that she throw objects around the room and doesn't like lilies, which are said to wilt before their time.
The green room is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a man in a dark suite who's seen with a glamorous blonde-haired lady. And the spirit of actor James Maxwell has been reported around the building, perhaps because he was so fond of the theatre.
1. Crewe Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
Staff, actors and customers have reported seeing the ghost of a stage hand, as well as the spirit of a lady in white. She has been seen all over the building for at least 50 years, often wandering the stage and most recently in the circle. The woman is believed to be the ghost of a ballerina who tragically killed herself in one of the dressing rooms. Her ghost is often said to be accompanied by the smell of lavender.
Elsewhere in the building, a hooded figure has been seen in the cellar areas, some think he could be connected to the original chapel. Meanwhile backstage, there are said to be three spirits. One is a playful ghost called Charlie, who is said to hide props on the stage.
There's also a more sinister energy that lurks in this area, some say this menacing entity could have been responsible for the 1910 fire. The third ghost is a that of a lost child who's seen wearing period costume and is attracted to other children.
The paranormal activity at the Lyceum was said to have been so bad that in 1969 an exorcist was called in. Clearly this didn't work, as the hauntings continue to this day.
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