You may have heard me talk about Frank? Who is he and where did he come from?
Well, some of you may know that before I was manager of the theatre, I used to teach dance at the theatre since 2004 on a Sunday morning. I started off teaching in the studio and then moved onto the stage.
At that time, I used to enter the main house auditorium through our accessible entrance and run up the stairs to turn on the house lights by the entrance to the lighting box.
Now the seats that we have in the main house are new and were put in, in about 2010. There used to be a few more seats and they were very heavy but would easily spring up if you weren’t careful.
Every Sunday morning I used to climb the stairs to turn on the lights and every morning the very top chair would go down as if someone was sitting on it. At the end of every session I would again run up the stairs to turn off the lights and the seat would return to its upright position. This was my first introduction to Frank.
Now I must say that I have no idea if Frank is their name, whether they are male or female, but I started saying good morning and goodbye to Frank from the start and it’s kind of stuck, so Frank it is. They don’t seem to mind it!
Over the years whilst teaching we had a couple of incidents that can’t be explained especially the mysterious piano playing….
I was teaching on the stage as normal when I heard a piano playing, thinking it was just the singing teacher or the track on my music I ignored this however, later on that morning we were all in the auditorium, kids sat on the stage and all teachers sat around talking to them. Suddenly we all stopped and looked at each other when we heard a piano playing. We accounted for everyone in the building and I went off to investigate.
Behind the stage is the ground floor dressing room and this was where I could hear the music coming from. I slowly opened the door to find the music stop and the old upright piano in the corner of the room with its lid down.
I shut the door to make my way back around to the stage when the music started again. I again went back to the dressing room and as soon as I opened the door the music stopped. I shut the door and waited outside and sure enough the piano playing started again so I pushed open the door as fast as I could but as soon as I looked into the room the music stopped. This went on a couple more times then the music just stopped.
I made my way back to the stage and admitted that I had no idea where the music was coming from and that there was nobody there. I blame Frank!!
It’s not just me though….
Not long after I started working at the theatre, I was having a conversation with the housekeeper, who had been there for several years, when she started talking about the ghost. I stood quietly whilst she spoke about how she had felt someone walk past her in the corridor and that she didn’t like being in the building on her own as she felt someone was there with her. I blamed Frank!!
We had a charity running a café in the theatre bar for a few months and one of them asked me who was talking in the disabled toilet? I explained that I was the only one in the building with her and I hadn’t heard anything. Sure enough if you are in the toilet you can hear people talking through the sink quite clearly! We blame Frank!!
Weston College students were in the theatre rehearsing on the stage for their upcoming show, there were only 4 of them, whilst I was working in the box office with the theatre closed to the public. One of them came running out of theatre to me in the box office looking panicked and almost in tears. I asked her if she was okay and she could hardly breathe but kept asking who the man was? I asked her what she meant, she said they were on stage and she saw a man in the windows of the top doors into the theatre watching them. I explained to her that I was the only other person in the building and that no-one could have got there without getting past me. We blamed Frank!!
Sometimes you hear unexplained noises, lights going on or off and a cold wind where you wouldn’t expect it. We have had a paranormal investigation, but they couldn’t find Frank but I know he’s there.
Most of the staff (past and present) are not happy about being in the theatre alone, but I love it. He’s friendly and never done anything to harm anyone.
So we live with him, I always say good morning and goodbye. Have a little chat with him if I’m alone.
So next time you visit do say hello to Frank, I think he likes to be acknowledged!
As they say all great theatres have a ghost!
Sally (Theatre Manager)