Author Topic: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?  (Read 14837 times)

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PSMKay

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So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« on: Sep 25, 2007, 08:59 am »
  The theatre that I currently work in is widely accepted as being haunted, and while I'm not sure if I believe in all of that, I have had some very strange and unexplainable things happen while I was working alone in the space, as so often happens to the stage manager who is the first to get there and the last to leave.  I thought that I would then pose the question to other stage managers:  Is your theatre haunted?

LiLz

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #1 on: Sep 25, 2007, 03:51 pm »
Sure, I've worked in 2 spaces I would consider "haunted."  Most of us saw the spirit I called Basil at a small space in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles.  He would come into the theater and stand near the door, arms crossed, and watch rehearsals and performances.  The woman who owned the building said that, when the building was dark for too long, he'd go home with her ans mess with her TV.

Another theater was in West Hollywood ... There was definitely something weird going on in the women's dressing rooms.  We never saw anything, but no one would go in them alone, either.  Unfortunately, that's where the power for the theater lights were, so we had to go in there to take the space to black before locking up every night.  Creepy!

LiLz

ReyYaySM

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #2 on: Sep 25, 2007, 06:11 pm »
The theatre at my alma mater has a ghost.  The legend says that years ago, the playwright-in-residence died in the theatre during a dress rehearsal for his new show.  He's haunted the theatre ever since.  During the run of Chicago, my board ops and I would hear someone walking in the hallway behind the booth, but we'd turn around and no one was there.  I decided he just liked watching the show and wanted a balcony view!! 


lauria

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #3 on: Sep 26, 2007, 01:43 am »
Three theaters I've worked in had ghosts.

In the community theater I worked in, there was a friendly ghost. At the end of every performance, all the chair seats were put in the up position (this was before the renovation when the seats were old and HAD to be manually put up). Repeatedly, one chair would be found down. This was the ghosts chair. Many people claimed seeing her. I thought I saw her once when I was onstage looking into the audience, but there is glass behind the audience and it could have merely been a reflection.

Another theater was a converted barn which didn't exactly have a ghost, but a lucky mouse. If you saw it scurrying by during rehearsal, you knew that the show would go well.

The third ghost I don't know much about, although funny things happen. I didn't like being in the theater alone at night especially. I left one of my actors alone in the theater for a short time and when I came back he had gone into another room, saying that he was freaked out by the ghost and had to leave the theater. I haven't seen any ghostly evidence first hand. I found lots of doors left unlocked after hours, but I think that that was sloppy human work and not a ghostly presence.

I like to think that all the engery that goes into a performance fills the space and makes it alive. It certainly felt different when we moved from that old barn and into a state of the art theater. It was very hard to work on the new stage, despite the beautifulness of the theater. It felt like the old barn supported the work and with the new theater we had to create the energy for future generations.

kiwitechgirl

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #4 on: Sep 26, 2007, 02:36 am »
My drama school was housed in an old mental institution and was definitely haunted.  While I never saw a ghost there, several of my classmates did.  A venue I worked at in England supposedly had a ghost in its studio theatre - a crew member had died in there when something went wrong - but I never saw any evidence of it, and I was up there alone late at night pretty regularly!  My current place of work is in an old building - and there are "ghost tours" run through our building and the surrounding ones! - and supposedly we're haunted as well.

jempage

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #5 on: Sep 26, 2007, 04:43 am »
I think the Uni theatre's 'ghost' is simply a product of a combination of stress and lack of sleep!
Cheers,
Jem.
_____________
“Perhaps, therefore, ideal stage managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds.”
-Sir Peter Hall

Jessie_K

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #6 on: Sep 26, 2007, 08:42 am »
I used to live in a haunted house.  I lived there for 2 years and during that whole time we were never able to hang a mirror.  We would hang one (numerous attempts with numerous mirrors and numerous methods) and within a day it would fall down.  It usually wouldn't break, but it would always fall down.

philimbesi

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #7 on: Sep 26, 2007, 09:04 am »
Definitely and I've experienced it first hand.    I was stage managing The Last 5 Years and we were in rehearsals, I always got there early and set up my stuff, started water for tea, swept out the space, etc etc, etc.   I never was able to shake the feeling that I was being watched... by a few sets of eyes.   

When you enter the theater there are four big white rocking chairs in the lobby next to the snack area that were used as props and are now put there for the patrons to sit on before the house opens.  I arrived 45 minutes prior the start of rehearsal, starting turning on lights, firing up the heat, put the water on for tea, put my stuff down on the table by the stage and then go back up to the snack bar to pour myself some tea and one of the rocking chairs was ROCKING!  There were no breezes and the outside doors to the theater were locked... I calmly said "Stop that you’re freaking me out." and went about my business.  When I came out of the snack area... the chair had stopped...

sievep

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #8 on: Sep 26, 2007, 10:45 am »
In St. Louis, MO there is a fairly famous ghost story that surrounds the Lemp Family.  The Lemp Family were brewers of beer, and were a major rival of Anheuser Busch.  Both Brewerys sit on top of caves, the caves were used to store beer at a cool temperature.

During prohibition, although it was illegal to SELL alcohol, it was not illegal to manufacture it, and to the Busch plant continued to brew beer, knowing that the ban would be eventually be lifted.  When the act finally was repealed, the Busch company had stockpiles of beer and all of their equipment was still in working order.  The Lemp brewery tried to reopen but could not . . .because the machinery had not been used and was in disrepair, and the brewery complex which had once been worth 7 million dollars was sold for about 500,000 in 1922.  Since then 7 members of the Lemp family comitted suicide in their family home and the brewery, and the Lemp mansion remains one of the top 10 most haunted places in America.

My story occured at the Brewery, which as you can imagine is in a complete state of disrepair.  It covers an area of 5 city blocks with different buildings, and actually the Repertory Theater of St. Louis uses one of those buildings for it's extensive prop storage.

I was doing a "found space" production of Dracula, and the mood of the place certainly fit the show.  I was ASMing and my best friend was PSM, so we were having a good time, but were thoroughly creeped out.  We were, of course, the first ones in and the last ones out. 

After the show one night, we were resetting and it had come time to turn off the lights and lock up.  The main circuit breaker was on one end of the massive space, and the door was on the other, with a single light switch next to it to turn on something like a porchlight outside.  So you had to turn off the lights, walk through the hall in the darkness, and then turn off the porchlight and lock the door.  My friend and I were set so we went to the circuit breaker, turned it off, and started walking with our flashlights on.  I saw something, not out of the corner of my eye, but a human sized white mist that was emitting it's own light, and I told my friend to run.  As we came near to the other side of the space, the floor gave way and I fell through the floor and was stuck at waist level.  My friend and I, who were both still in a complete panic, managed to get me out of the hole in the floor, flip of the last light switch, and shut the door.  The door would not latch unless it was locked, so I held on to the door knob and held it shut while my friend fumbled for the key.  The door began to shake wildly as I held it, and I put all my weight against it.  She finally found the key, locked the door, and we both sped away in her car.  I was covered in dirt, scraped and bruised, but was overall ok.

During the run we had several odd occurrances, board failures and malfunctions, various random objects that were thrown at us in the darkness (including a car antenna), and strange writing that appeared on the walls of the dressing rooms in red chalk.  Also, loud banging sounds could be heard during actual performances . . .my parents actually heard that one and I remember sitting in the back of the room, watching the show and running sound, and as these loud booms started my mom looked back at me and all I could do was shrug my shoulders.

Those of you students at Webster who share your prop storage with the Repertory theater of St. Louis, I believe I was working in the first building on the left as you enter the brewery complex.  The prop storage is on the far side of the large dirt courtyard.
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

PSMAK

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #9 on: Sep 26, 2007, 03:09 pm »
Wayne State University's Bonstelle Theatre is haunted by its founder, Jessie Bonstelle.  Although I have never seen her.  She has been seen up in the balcony and in the projection booth which used to be a part of her apartment there. 

Once when we did "A Moon for the Misbegotten", we had haze for that show, a patron thought it was really cool how we had a woman that looked like she was floating on a fountain.  There was no fountain or woman doing that in the show.

While using the men's restroom in the lobby there, I heard someone come in, footsteps, but didn't hear or see them come out.

We're not really worried thought, Jessie is a great presence to have around. This is why the last people to leave the theatre at the end of the night say, "Goodnight, Jessie!".

StageMgr2Stars

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #10 on: Sep 26, 2007, 04:16 pm »
The Abbott Kaplan theatre at SUNY Purchase is said to have a ghost. People say they have seen a figure in door ways and in the hemp room. I dont think anyones seen it in years tho.
-C-

avkid

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #11 on: Sep 26, 2007, 04:27 pm »
Absolutely.
A 90 year Vaudeville house can't be without a ghost.
Legend has it that a pregnant woman roams the halls at night looking for someone.
Nobody really remembers who she was looking for.
At one time there was even a sculpture of her hanging on a wall in the house.
http://www.endicottarts.com/Copy_of_theater7.jpg

I have heard all sorts of weird things late at night, and felt that "rushing air" sensation.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

Tempest

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #12 on: Sep 26, 2007, 05:20 pm »
Two of my university theatre spaces had ghosts. 
In the black box space, there was a ghost in the dressing area that liked to open and close backstage doors.  I acutally trained the ghost to open and close the doors as necessary during a run of one-acts.  I'd look up and see one of the doors creeping open when everyone else was otherwise visible or on stage.  I'd say "Excuse me, we need that door closed," and it would close.  The fact that the ghost obeyed me freaked my actors out more than the ghost itself!
The Valborg mainstage space had a permanent ghost from an audience member who had died during a production in the 70's.  When we did Hamlet, however, we brought in a real human skull for Yorik, along with an ANGRY ghost.  It sent LOUD static over the sound system, waved things in front of the stage lights, and once I even saw it.  I was working about 15 feet from the end of a dead-end catwalk, and saw a male figure in a white shirt down at the end, clear as day.  I figured it was the ME (the only other person in the space), and ignored him.  Then, the ME walked into view around a different corner.  I look toward the end of the catwalk, and there was no one there.  And no way off that area of the catwalk except straight down!  And not down a ladder.
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

smLionel

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #13 on: Mar 28, 2011, 02:42 pm »
Totally believe theatre's are haunted.  I'm currently studying at the Conservatory of Theatre at Webster University and one of our spaces, Stage 3, is in an old church building place. The other ASM Kate and I were backstage during tech for Spelling Bee when the stage door shook violently. I opened the door and found no one there. This happened several times throughout tech and the run.

Kate also told me stories of her teching a dance show when suddenly loud bangs were heard from the space above the theatre (As if someone were throwing risers on the floor or something) So she went upstairs to see what was going on only to find the space above Stage 3 completely shut down, lights out and locked.

bex

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Re: So...do ya think you're theatre is haunted?
« Reply #14 on: Mar 28, 2011, 04:56 pm »
My university theatre has a ghost named Sydney, who is the one-legged ghost of a Civil War vet.

The student theatre group, the AU Players, was founded in the 20's, and performed in the Auburn Chapel. During the Civil War, the chapel was used as a Confederate army hospital. Story goes that Sydney was a soldier who died following an amputation during the war, and he haunted the chapel. Well, when the University built a theatre on campus, the AU Players moved out of the chapel, and Sydney came with them.

Our resident costume designer swears he exists- she has numerous stories of going into costume storage and seeing a rolling rack moving by itself, or costume pieces that she needed but couldn't find mysteriously appearing in plain sight. The best piece of evidence, though, is the box of left shoes- shoes whose mates have disappeared, and always the left one (Sydney lost his left leg, you see, and so would have no use for a left shoe).

To insure a good production, it is always the Stage Manager's job to feed Sydney before the first performance- Reese's pieces or peanut butter M&M's in a bucket on the 2nd catwalk.  One show that I ASM'ed was plagued with issues (headsets cutting out, costume pieces going missing, etc) and come to find out that the SM had refused to feed Sydney because she didn't believe he existed.  After I fed him and wrote him an apology note, the problems stopped.
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

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