by Dustin Grovemiller, Donor Relations Manager
We tend to think of theatres as vibrant homes for the performing arts, full of life and energy. But after the people go home and the lights are turned off, theatres become places of shadows and noises lurking from unseen corners. Architecture that glows with beauty by day becomes twisted and mysterious by night. CAPA maintains four theatres here in Columbus that are between the ages of 82 and 104 years old. I have been in all of them in late at night at one point or another, long after the crowds have gone home and everything is covered by a deep, still hush. It’s profoundly creepy.
Theatres have long been homes for the supernatural, which is why a single light—a ghost light—is always left burning on stage when the rest of the theatre is dark. There are many superstitions surrounding the ghost light, from the idea that it’s there to appease spirits who want to take the stage and perform when nobody else is around, to those that say the ghost light is there to actually keep ghosts at bay and to prevent them from haunting the theatre. Sometimes the ghosts don’t care though, and they take up residence anyhow. Regardless of being welcome or not, theatre ghosts are real. Be it because of unfinished business, the untimely death of an audience member, or even from a séance gone wrong, there are many different ways that a paranormal presence can come to call a theatre home.
This year, in the spirit of the spookier side of maintaining these historic houses of the arts, CAPA is conjuring up another ghost from the past. Years ago, Ohio Theatre organist Dennis James used to hold a Halloween event called the “Spookout,” where crowds of folks from all around central Ohio would gather at the Ohio for a thrilling evening of spook-tacular organ music, a movie showing, and other fun. We’re bringing the event back to life, although it’s going to come back a little different than it was before. (And isn’t that always the case when you bring something back to life?)
Please join us for CAPA’s “Ghost Light” Movie Night at the Ohio Theatre on Saturday, October 30. We’ve got a fun evening planned around a screening of the classic House on Haunted Hill (the 1959 with Vincent Price) including tours, a costume contest, and music by organist David Fleisher. Check out the Ghost Light Movie Night page at capa.com for more details, and we hope to see you there!