(Michael Simkins's blog appeared in The Guardian, August 26.)

Never mind Godot … Patrick

Stewart spooked by ghostly goings-on in theatre

The actor isn't the first to announce an encounter with a spectre while performing on stage. And he won't be the last …


Patrick Stewart's claim that he witnessed an apparition while performing in Waiting for Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket will come as no surprise to the acting fraternity. We are used to seeing deathly-white individuals wringing their hands in ghastly torment – even if it's just accountants scanning our tax returns.

The surprise is that it's taken Stewart so long: there's hardly a venue in the country that doesn't have a resident ghost. Many of them are happy to appear twice nightly and provide their own costume into the bargain.

At the Theatre Royal York, where I spent a year, the wardrobe assistants regularly refused to work late in their attic eyrie after several sightings of the infamous grey lady who haunted the building. And as recently as 2001, an actor I was working with in Mamma Mia! at the Prince Edward theatre swore she saw a venomous-looking figure staring at her from the wings. She was certain of the ghoul's barely-concealed malice while she was singing The Winner Takes It All during a Saturday matinee. She remained adamant it wasn't her understudy she'd glimpsed.

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