As York Theatre Royal prepares to stage one of the spookiest shows ever created, The Woman In Black, it seems the building’s own ghosts want to muscle in on the act.
A few days ago, during the interval of The Kite Runner, one audience member went to the loo – and left in a hurry.
She refused to return to her seat after seeing a ghost in the toilets.
The Woman In Black
York Theatre Royal main house
Mon Nov 17-Sat Nov 22
And another woman complained of encountering the theatre’s infamous spirit, The Grey Lady.
Everything went misty and quiet when she saw the ghost, she told staff, and she fled the building in horror.
The Grey Lady, so the story goes, is the ghost of one of the nuns who ran the medieval hospital of St Leonard’s.
Part of that building is now incorporated into the Theatre Royal, including the small windowless room in which she was entombed after an affair with a nobleman.
She is one of two resident ghouls at the theatre, the other being The Dandy. He is often seen near the stage, and is said to wear a large ring.
The Dandy was apparently killed in a duel on Blake Street, and was seen on stage at his time of death by other actors performing that night.
“Staff and audience members have had various spooky encounters over the years which cannot be explained,” said Rachel Naylor, audience and sales manager at the theatre.
“Dare you experience The Woman In Black in this 270 year old venue?”
The Woman In Black has been scaring the heebie-jeebies out of theatre audiences for 25 years.
Malcolm James plays solicitor Arthur Kipps, a man haunted by events 30 years earlier, who re-enacts them with The Actor, played by Matt Connor.
In a bid to exorcise those demons of the past, Kipps hires the actor to help him tell his story for the audience he intends to invite to what is perceived to be an empty auditorium.
Acclaimed by the critics, The Woman In Black transports the audience into a terrifying and ghostly world.
More than seven million people have lived to tell the tale of one of the most chilling and successful theatre events ever staged.
First performed at the Theatre-By-The-Sea in Scarborough in 1987, the original production received rave reviews, paving the way for future productions throughout the country.
The Woman In Black reached the West End in 1989 where it has been a major audience draw ever since. Its success led to productionsin the US, South America and beyond.