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Theatre Royal Ghost Tours : A Survivor's Insight

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Theatres have always been places of ghosts and superstition: any thespian worth their Shakespearian salt will lecture you that it’s bad luck to say good luck on opening night and that to dare utter the name of the Scottish play in a theatre would cause the curtains to come crashing down like the rain on King Lear. Perhaps it’s the Baroque décor or the aging plush red seats. Maybe it’s the shining chandeliers or the sense that every night, for however many hundred years, people have left their tragedies and traumas at home and came together to share the theatrical experience. This is the place that Romeo and Juliet have always come to die. There’s history in the heraldry; there’s life in the lighting rigs.

It’s no surprise that the Theatre Royal in Glasgow has created a limited-run ghost tour which explores the dark past of this stunning golden auditorium, its labyrinth of cold stairways and the cavernous depths below its stage. Running fifteen minutes after the evening’s theatrical performance over the next few weeks, the tour is a fun and frightening journey through the building’s history and the many myths and ghost stories which haunt its corridors.

Led by deputy manager Andy Low and Susan, an Ambassadors employee who has been researching the history of the theatre, the tour offers an access all areas insight into the building’s past. Victims on the tour are initially invited to the Upper Circle bar to peruse photographs of funereal hearses, copies of yellowing sheet music and emails and letters which detail spooky goings on in recent years. From there, the tour moves backstage, offering guests the chance to visit the building’s dressing rooms, the orchestra pit, the stage and many more normally off-limit rooms. The result is an unforgettable theatrical experience which both stimulates and scares.

The true pleasure of the tour is its attention to detail. The writers have produced a slowly simmering plot arc which builds slowly, delicately adding minute details which create an arresting psychological experience. The combination of setting and storytelling work beautifully and the tricks are regular enough to startle without losing a sense of suspense. And when that suspense is broken… well… that’s the real treat.

The Theatre Royal Ghost Tours are a unique insight into the past and present of one of Glasgow’s greatest auditoriums. For thrill seekers, it offers a tense and at times terrifying night of horror and history. For theatre fans, it offers an exclusive opportunity to experience the inner-workings of a grand theatre, visit its most inaccessible corners and enjoy a private tour of a very public place. Be chased by the ghosties; be grabbed by the ghoulies.


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