IN the week when Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s terrifying play Ghost
Stories will be spooking out the Grand Opera House, now there is to be even
more paranormal activity at the York theatre.
On March 12 and 13 at 10.30pm each night, Paranormal Research York (PRY)
will lead The Ghost Hunt in a theatre lit only by the emergency lighting
Those attending this after-dark theatre tour will be encouraged to
participate throughout the interactive event, where PRY will employ assorted traditional
methods, such as a human pendulum and divination activities, using crystals and
A variety of technical equipment will be on hand for guests to try out, such as a “stick
man” camera and gadgets that can detect spirit energies. In a nutshell, guests
can be “as involved as they dare to be”.
Paranormal Research York’s team of experienced and professional paranormal investigators
from York have come together to investigate predominantly in “Britain’s most
Their work involves accessing a range of haunted locations in and around
York and then researching their findings to go with the legends.
Looking forward to conducting The Ghost Hunt in a building built in 1868,
PRY’s Clare Bryant says: “We’re very excited to be hosting the first ever ghost
hunt at this amazing, historical building. From our first walk around at the
Grand Opera House, we could feel the spirits already coming forward.”
Kevin Spindloe, from PRY, adds: “Wow! Friday the 13th and we have the
privilege to be investigating here. It’s so active here and the spirits seem
keen to tell their own ghost stories. As a guest you can be involved in the
activities or just watch. Either way you will experience an event like no
The Ghost Hunt on Friday, March 13th has sold out – unlucky for some! – but tickets for March 12 and the Ghost Stories run from March 10 to 14 are on sale on 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york.
THE Grand Opera House, York, already
has its own ghost, one said to call out the first name of a new member of staff
in the quiet of the auditorium on first acquaintance.
No doubt that will intrigue Professor
Goodman, ahead of the lecturer’s visit to the Cumberland Street theatre from
March 10 to 14 as the investigative fulcrum of writer-directors Andy Nyman and
Jeremy Dyson’s “supernatural sensation”, Ghost Stories, on its first national
On the road since January 7 after
completing its latest West End run at The Ambassadors Theatre, London, the
Lyric Hammersmith Theatre production should feel at home in York, the
self-proclaimed most haunted city in Europe.
What’s more, with the Grand Opera
House’s proximity to the York Dungeon, “York’s scariest tourist attraction”,
where better for Nyman and Dyson’s global hit to be spooking?
Premiered a decade ago and turned into
a film too, Ghost Stories invites its captive audience to “enter a nightmarish
world, full of thrilling twists and turns, where all your deepest fears and
most disturbing thoughts are imagined live on stage”.
Expect a “fully sensory and
electrifying encounter in the ultimate twisted love-letter to horror, a
supernatural edge-of-your-seat theatrical experience like no other”, as
Professor Goodman strives to prove the supernatural is “purely a trick of the
mind” in the face of three stories that beg to differ.
“Ghost Stories has never really gone
away, running in various incarnations since the original production a decade
ago, going into the West End, then Canada, Moscow,” says co-writer Jeremy
Dyson, best known for his work with those twisted humourists The League Of
“It was done in Russian in Russia but we
had to maintain that it was set in Britain because apparently no Russian is
afraid of a ghost.”
The latest British incarnation opened
at the Lyric Hammersmith last March, whereupon it was picked up by commercial
producers keen to take it on the road. “We’d always wanted to do that but never
been able to do so, even though we knew just how much people wanted to see it,
but we were told it ‘wasn’t tourable’.”
Until now, until Jon Bausor came up
with a design that could play both The Ambassadors Theatre and theatres around
“He’s made it possible to squash the
set into a van!” says Jeremy, who lives in Ilkley, by the way. “Each time we’ve
staged the play, we’ve been able to solve another problem, get rid of another
niggle, and finally we have the production that is totally to our satisfaction.
“The show’s been going down really well
on tour, and it will fit perfectly into York with all its ghost stories and the
York Dungeon opposite the Grand Opera House.”
Why are we so drawn to ghost stories,
Jeremy? “I think there are lots of reasons,” he says. “One of them is obvious: death
and the afterlife, which is a personal concern to all of us, and ghost stories
are a way to approach such an overwhelming concern.
“That’s particularly so in our
increasingly secular society, where there’s a hunger for the mysterious, the
uncanny, the inexplicable, which once upon a time would have come under the
auspices of the church and religion.
“That’s part of it, and also when it
comes to a show like Ghost Stories, there’s the entertainment and the thrill,
the fairground element.”
Nyman, London actor, director and
writer, and Dyson, screen and stage writer and author, have been friends for a
“very long time”. “Since we were teenagers, in fact,” says Jeremy. “We met when
we were 15 and one of the things we bonded over was horror movies at the dawn
of the video age, renting those films to watch them together.
“We’ve had our individual careers and
we’d never thought of working together, but out of the blue Andy called me with
this idea of having three men sitting telling ghost stories after he saw The
Vagina Monologues [Eve Ensler’s show with three women telling stories].
“It was a very intriguing idea that was
enough to hook me straightaway, though we then veered away from that initial
construction over a long gestation period.
“Creating Ghost Stories was very much a
case of sitting in a room together, talking about it for a year, and then
getting together, bashing out the outline, working every day for a week, when
we pretty much hammered it out, because we’d been thinking about it for so
Ghost Stories has drawn comparisons
with Stephen Mallatratt’s stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black,
premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 1987 and still running
in the West End, but Jeremy was keen that Ghost Stories should stand in its own
“We wanted very much to create a theatre
experience that we hadn’t had before, in terms of being a very immersive piece
of theatre, and we also like the challenge of taking things that you’re
familiar thematically from horror films and seeing if we could transfer them to
A further element is at play in Ghost
Stories. “Andy and I both have a love of conjuring and magic; Andy has worked
with Derren Brown for 20, so we wanted to build that into the show’s
structure,” says Jeremy. “We wanted to look at how you can create a magical effect
with a combination of storytelling and technology, and that’s what we’ve
Ghost Stories promises “moments of extreme shock and tension” at the Grand Opera House, York, from March 10 to 14. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york. Unsuitable for anyone under 15 years old.