Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Do you Believe in Ghosts?

This week we had a Tuesday start at the Bristol Hippodrome theatre, it was officially our busiest week on tour in all the six years we've been travelling around the UKI and Ireland so definitely one to be celebrated. We thank all our audiences very much for continuously supporting us on this journey.

Travelling across the UK we are privileged to perform in some of the most beautiful theatres around the country, the majority of them are very old and have a huge amount of history. The architecture is often incredibly beautiful and I always think back to many years gone by and all the performers that have set foot on stage. The dressing rooms are often left dated, a little cold and tend to have no windows. This might not sound very pleasant however there is always something quite comforting and inspiring about them.
To me they are like my second home when on tour.

We opened the show on Tuesday night and had eight performances in five days which always makes for a tough week, plus some rehearsal time to make sure the show is at its best.

During Tuesday's performance I had a rather interesting experience during our final tango number. Whilst performing on stage I tend not to look at the audience at all because I don't want to break that fourth wall and I like to live in the world that is our stage, I generally try to pretend there is no one there.
However on Tuesday night as I was flicking and spinning around something caught my eye in the lower balcony on the right side of the stage, looking out it was very dark and misty so faces are not visible at all, however, I saw the face of a man, it was grey and lit with little to no hair and his eyes seemed sunken and dark. Obviously I wanted to turn to Vincent immediately and say "can you see that too?" but we were a little busy at the time LOL not sure how I didn't kick him?
The next day during warm up I looked out at the area where I saw the mans face and strangely enough there are no seats there, just a staircase leading to an exit.
Now it may have been an usher waiting to escort people out at the end of the show but why could I only see his face and why was he lit?
I tried doing a little research as often we hear about ghost stories at the various theatres we go to, I couldn't find anything on the Bristol hippodrome but I did find the below write up which I thought you might find interesting. Some of the theatres we are still due to perform at so I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open... Spooky stuff!!!!

Ghost Stories from our Haunted Theatres
Written by Patrick Kennedy

Since theatre began, staff working at theatre venues have unwillingly witnessed a disturbing amount of weird paranormal activity. We take a look at ghost stories from some of our most haunted theatres, from Brighton's Theatre Royal, Bromley's Churchill Theatre, Glasgow's King's Theatre, The Liverpool Empire, Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre, Oxford's New Theatre, Stoke's Victoria Hall, Richmond Theatre, and The Edinburgh Playhouse to New Wimbledon Theatre - Light a candle, grab a cuppa and be prepared for the fright of your life! A few of the spooky stories of some theatres we have visited are below!

Theatre Royal Brighton's ghost story

One dark and spooky night at the Theatre Royal Brighton, a dear member of the technical team was doing his usual evening lockup around the dimmed backstage area. As he finished his checks near the stage he glanced over his shoulder towards the ramp leading to the darkened stage and saw the figure of a young girl. He called to her to inform her that the theatre was closed and she had to leave. She grimmaced at the technician, giggled softly and ran into the darkness of the stage. Our technician chased after her but she was never found. Sometimes that soft giggle is still heard high above in the rafters.

Churchill Theatre Bromley's ghost story

In 1979 the theatre's photographer was commissioned to take some photos of the auditorium. He arrived early and unlocked the auditorium himself and turned on some lights. Some of the front seats had been removed to make space for BBC television cameras. When he developed his film he found a ghostly figure of a man who appeared to be shining a torch where the empty seats were (roughly around seats B7-8).

A past theatre critic, who reviewed shows while the theatre was still called New Theatre, also reported that on several occasions he had also seen a figure of a man standing in front of seat B8, but that this unknown man disappeared when he turned to get a better view of him. Does the New Theatre's ghost still tread the boards of the new Churchill Theatre that stands in the New Theatre's stead?

Liverpool Empire's ghost stories

A little girl with blond hair aged between 8-12 years old, in Victorian dress has been seen many times at the back of the stalls or in the stalls bar. She is often crying, but if approached or spoken to she disappears. Sometimes she is seen being taken away by a tall man with dark glasses or no eyes. Both disappear when they are approached. They are usually seen late at night after the show has ended, as the theatre being locked up. Legend has it that the little girl died falling from the circle to the stalls, but there is no documentary evidence to prove that.
In the old dressing room S (stage right), a number of people reported seeing a black shape or phantom in the mirror when the door was opened. However, when you turned around to look, there was nothing there. The Black Phantom has had a very sinister presence, and lots of people used to refuse to go up there alone. However, dressing room S is now part of the large wardrobe on stage right and the Phantom has not been seen since the refurbishment.

New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham's ghost story

Former Manager Derek Salberg, who died in his office at the theatre, is said to haunt the theatre. Strange occurrences such as knocking on the door and print being knocked over have happened in the Salberg Suite, which was his office. The ghost of a cleaning lady has often been seen sitting in the grand circle and walking up and down the stairs and in the auditorium.

Richmond Theatre's ghost story

Richmond Theatre has a long and terrifying history of ghosts, probably more so than in any other ATG venue. But there is one story that haunts the memory of Richmond staff more than most. Several people, including Richmond's current General Manager Kate Wrightson, have felt someone walking behind them when going up the stairs that lead to the oldest parts of the original theatre. It is here, where the print stores are currently found, that a plaque remains for a man who died at the theatre many decades ago.

Little is known about what caused his death, but reports of related disturbances and strange occurrences here and in the sub-stage have been documented as far back as the 1960s. Staff have come down to the two print stores to find that boxes of flyers and other materials have been switched between the two rooms, even though the doors had been locked up and the keys returned to the box office for the evening. Actors in the dressing rooms above the sub-stage area would claim doors were being slammed post-performances as the theatre was locked up, although no member of staff was in the print store area at the time. One box office assistant spoke of reaching the bottom of the same stairs, only to hear them creaking and groaning with the weight of a person who was simply not there. When the last step had creaked - at the point where the assistant stood - they then felt a sharp chill run down their body as if something was passing through them.

These small incidents have naturally unnerved those working at the theatre, but they didn't see them as connected until a particularly disturbing incident one autumn evening in the late 80s.
One of the theatre administrators was covering stage door while the theatre was dark. Being one of the only members of staff left in the building, they were just packing up to leave when a scratching could be heard on the tannoy.
Assuming this was nothing more than interference with the tannoy system, the staff member left it and the scratching soon stopped. A few minutes later, as the staff member was about to leave out through stage door, the scratching started again but this time the sound was more purposeful, as if someone was running their nails down a piece of wood.
The staff member decided to check back on stage to see what it was, but as they walked through the corridor towards the stage left entrance, they heard the scratching again. This time, however, the sound was coming from a different source - the bottom of the stairs that lead to the sub-stage.
Investigating further, they walked down into the corridor with the print stores and saw a door was open. Walking inside, the staff member turned on the light - to hear the sound of a box being scratched, the sight of nail marks being made on the cardboard, but no one there to make them. The light bulb was then said to have blown and in that moment, the scratching gave way to the sound of the cardboard tearing and through the darkness, the staff member could just about make out a man with his extended arm pulling at the boxes on the top shelf. The terrified staff member ran out just as one of those boxes fell, spilling its contents all over the print store floor behind them.
The next day, the staff member reported what had happened but refused to go back down to recreate what they saw. One of the box office staff ventured down instead, and found the door open. Inside was the box of flyers spilt over the floor, and what could just be made out as two footprints in the dust of one corner. It turned out the man who the plaque had been dedicated to had suffered fatal head injuries after a storage unit of boxes had collapsed on him back in the early 1930s - in that very room.

So as not to leave you all on this note, especially if you are reading this late at night I thought I'd share what I think is probably the funniest review I was shown by someone from our week in Bristol. This will lighten up the mood. Sweet dreams!!


THE LAST TANGO at the Bristol Hippodrome

Outside Primark two friends meet.
Kelly: ‘Ere, Joyce, what you doin’ tonight?
Joyce: ‘Allo Kelly, love. I dunno, why?
Kelly: I saw that Last Tango last night at the Hippodrome.
Joyce: What’s that then?
Kelly: It’s them dancers off the telly. Them Strictly dancers.
Joyce: Good was it?
Kelly: It were Gert Lush. You wanna take your Lee, he’ll love it.
Joyce: Musical is it?
Kelly: Well there’s music – and some singing. They’re right talented, them singers, what with dancing at the same time and that. But that Flavia, you know, the one with the bob, she can’t half dance. Wish I could dance like that: all that leg flicking round the bloke, dead sexy. And that Vincent, wouldn’t mind getting Tangoed with him.
(They both laugh.)
He’s well fit. Mind you she keeps herself trim.
Joyce: All that dancing I expect. And she probably lives off salads. What’s it about, then?
Kelly: Well there’s this fat bloke in an attic, an old geezer, who’s goin’ through ‘is stuff and he pulls out something, from his past like, and they come on and do a dance. So like something reminds him when he met his wife and they dance about meeting. You know, Vincent’s him when he was young, he’s remembering himself.
Joyce: And she’s his wife?
Kelly: That’s it, yeah and it goes through ‘is life, well their life: getting married, having babies, off to war…
Joyce: It’s not modern day then?
Kelly: Well the old bloke’s like now. Comes up to date and she’s dead.
Joyce: That’s a bit sad.
Kelly: Doesn’t stop ‘em dancing though.
Joyce: Just them two is it?
Kelly: No there’s loads of them. They’re brilliant.
Joyce: All doin’ the Tango are they?
Kelly: No, don’t be silly, you couldn’t have just one dance: they do the Charlston, and a waltz and a jive and that skippy one – all of them, like they do on Strictly.
Joyce: Them judges in it?
Kelly: No, I felt a bit cheated, I wanted Len to come on and say ’seven’, like he does. Or that Craig Neville whatssisname to swan on and give them a bollocking.
Joyce: Revel Hall.
Kelly: Horwood!
Joyce: He loves to stick the knife in.
Kelly: I couldn’t tell if they were doing it right or not. They could have been getting up to any old mullarky without the judges to keep them on the straight and narrow.
Joyce: I expect that’s why they do it, to let their hair down, give it some welly without fussing over their feet too much.
Kelly: Mind you I do like a bit of passion.
Joyce: That’s like my Lee; a bit of passion.
Kelly: (Laughing) Take him along, jog his memory, put ‘im in the mood. They’re very passionate when they dance, you can tell there’s something going on. They got a standing ovation at the end.
Joyce: I’ve always fancied doing those Salsa classes: you never know he might just take the hint.
Kelly: Good luck with that. Here’s my bus, see you.
Joyce: Bye. Thanks for the tip.
(They kiss and go their separate ways)

Next week we are at the Sunderland Empire, looking forward to seeing you there x

You can see our Tour ScheduleBuy Tickets and meet the New Cast for "The Last Tango" here

Tweets Of The Week
First tweet of the week goes to Kathryn Ellen @KathrynEPowell
@vincentsimone The Last Tango was phenomenal last night. Thank you so much for your time at SD as well. 💖

Second tweet of the week goes to Issie @IssieHaworthxo
Watched the last tango tonight was absolutely amazinggggg and met @vincentsimone and @FlaviaCacace ❤️🙈

By.Flavia news & tip of the week

This is going to be a very exciting year for the By.Flavia range, I'm still working on and perfecting my sweet almond oil scrub and matching bubble bath. Very much looking forward to sharing these new products with you all once I am completely happy with them. There will also be some exciting promotions in the lead up to Valentine's Day so watch this space for some not to be missed special offers. 

You can see our full range of By.Flavia products by visiting our website here.

Final thought

Check out National doodle day and place your bids x

Hope you have a great week, see you next time.

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