“Ghost Light”


It is a tradition in stage theatre to leave a lamppost without a lampshade lit in the middle of a stage every night a theatre closes. This is called a ghost light, and it is meant to provide light for the spirits of the theatre.


This is a theatrical tradition/superstition I’ve heard about multiple times throughout different acting classes and performances. I’ve never actually worked in a theatre that does this but many Off-Broadway theatres keep the tradition alive in New York. Superstition is very powerful in theatre. I’m not entirely sure how long the tradition has existed but certainly throughout the history of American theatre.


Again I haven’t witnessed it first hand. Strangely I’ve seen ghost lamps in the storage spaces of theatres so maybe the tradition is fading. I was in a play within a play and the owners of the theatre used a ghost lamp, but outside of that I have yet to see it.

My Thoughts:

This obviously makes me think about the musical Phantom of the Opera, because it plays off that superstition of the haunted theatre. I’m taking a consumerism class right now, and this author Miller keeps bringing up how houses often take on the “haunted” condition due to past owners, and such. I think it’s interesting that for actors who often after long productions feel like they “live” at the theatre, that intensely personal space takes on similar connotations to the home.