The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of the oldest theatre situated in the West End in London. The earliest theatre on the same location was started in 1663, and the current building dates from 1812. There are several ghost stories associated with Drury Lane, two of which are mentioned below.
In his very first known pantomime, Joseph Grimaldi was an actor who had a very distinguished and long theatrical profession. His character (the white deceitful clown) became an inspiration for many of the present day ‘joeys’. Grimaldi’s fans used to love him as his character gave them a gift of laughter and joy. Unfortunately, his craft took a horrific toll on his health, due to which he had to give up his acting career. By 1818, Grimaldi was destitute.
He died in 1837 and since then many people have seen his ghost wander around the Theatre Royal. Many people working at Drury Lane have discussed some unusual happenings such has feeling like they’ve been kicked by someone. All of the cleaners, actors and ushers have been kicked.
An odd thing is that before Grimaldi died, his will was that after his death his head should be severed from the body before burying it. Many witnesses have reported seeing his white face floated around the theatre.
Man in Grey
The Man in Grey is the most famous ghost of Drury Lane. His head is covered by a hat and he wears a powdered wig. Some people have witnessed him wearing a grey cloak and white shirt, as well as a sword, and can often be seen limping around.
He is often seen to be following the same route during the day – his spirit going from one side of the upper circle to the other, after that he just disappears through the wall.
The Man in Grey was first witnessed in the year 1939, when nearly half of the cast of ‘The Dancing Years’ was on stage. In the past few years, many famous actors, managers and other staff has witnessed the presence of the Man in Grey. On various occasions, people have witnessed his ghost sitting in the 4th row close to the central gangway of the upper circle. The story of the Man in Grey is a mystery, but in the 1870s, during the renovation of Drury Lane, one worker found a skeleton of a male body with a dagger sticking out of his ribs. Some of the people believe that this is a possible explanation for his presence.