Hark! Who goes there among the famous yet haunted theatres of London, especially around Aldwych Theatre, the current venue for Dirty Dancing. During performances, strange aromas ranging from floral perfumes to stale cigar smoke are experienced by thespians and audience members from time to time.
London’s oldest theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane is said to be the most haunted in the entire United Kingdom. Dating back to 1663 and occupying its current site since 1812, this theatre is frequented by at least three spirits of the departed. Known as the father of clowns and for being one of the earliest mime actors, the head of Joseph Grimaldi is said to have been seen floating around the theatre. It has been reported that actors as well as custodial staff have sensed being kicked by Grimaldi. When lavender perfume permeates the air, the spirit of Dan Leno is said to be present. The sound of drums being played is often heard in the area of his dressing room.
Perhaps the most interesting ghost is that of the Man in Grey who wears a white wig, gray cloak and a tri-cornered hat. According to all accounts, this ghost of a man believed to have been murdered in the building appears only in the daytime. Ironically, the presence of this ghost is regarded as a good omen since his appearance heralds a very successful run for the production being staged during his visit.
The Adelphi Theatre is often visited by the ghost of one William Terriss, who met his untimely death at the hands of an angry, drunken, minor role actor who had been sacked/fired in 1897 Terriss has often been sensed visiting an old woman seated in the Lyceum Theatre with a skull in her lap. The apparition in her lap is believed either to be Madame Trusaud or one of her wax figures.
Currently very much alive and acting on stages around the world, Dame Judi Dench has felt the presence of theatre manager, John Buckstone, at Theatre Royal Haymarket. Buckstone has been heard rehearsing various roles around Dressing Room 1. The latest reported citing of John Buckstone was by Patrick Stewart during a 2009 performance of Waiting for Godot.
Fortune Theatre is home to the newest ghost who has only been haunting the place since a 1989 performance of The Woman in Black. According to all accounts, this building dating back at least 88 years has never been visited before.