Richard, the School Theater Ghost


“Ok so basically, Richard loved the kids at our school, he didn’t really care about the things we did, he enjoyed our performances but you could tell when he was angry. Richard lived on the catwalk, which was only accessible by the ladder. RARELY USED because nobody dared to disturb Richard. The only time students were allowed to go up the catwalk was at the end of their senior year to say “I’ve been on the catwalk”, but really was to say goodbye to Richard. Richard also protected us. We had a really mean director, who shan’t be named, but anyways this woman would always degrade us whenever she had the chance because she had power over us. The last show she did, she was really pissing everyone off, rude to everyone and made morale really low. Richard must have not liked this and decided to go to work during hell week. Our opening night was on Friday, and Richard clocked in on Thursday. Thursday however was considered a “performance” because we invite all faculty and staff to watch the show for free while we are polishing our performance. Our director decided to go back stage and started screaming at us. Richard saw the opportunity to have her trip and took it. Out of no where a paper was on the ground, my director slipped and fell face first. (She deserved it). The following day, Richard even left the school campus. The end of the school day was an assembly to promote our show, but the director was NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. (She was supposed to be there by 12:30, assembly started at 2), she shows up and lets everyone know that she was in a minor car accident (she was fine just a fender bender), but was it a coincidence that it happened during Richards wrath? No. Anyways the show was not looking good until very last minute. After that assembly, our show was performance ready. We had our performance, everything was good. Richard made sure the show was good for us. The following year, our director was fired. Thanks Richard”


C is a 20 year old student from Chester, NY who was a part of their school’s theater productions for many years. He first heard of the ghost that lived in the catwalk of the school theater from an older classmate (about 4 years older) that had been in previous productions at the school. It had been a sort of legend among the students at his high school, and pretty much everyone knew about it, even if they weren’t a part of theater. C says that he feels “a little bit of both” when asked if he believes in ghosts or if this experience is a sort of joke from high school. He believes that people who passed away can still send us messages, but he doesn’t know the full origin of Richard, therefore making it sort of mysterious as to if it is real or not.


The story of Richard from C’s high school theater encapsulates various themes of community, tradition, justice, belief, and transformation. It reflects the values and dynamics inherent within high school culture, while also exploring the human need for connection, justice, and the transcendence of oppressive forces. The story reflects a strong sense of community within the school, particularly among students involved in theater. The tradition of visiting the catwalk at the end of senior year to bid farewell to Richard suggests a shared ritual that binds students together across different graduating classes. Richard, the alleged ghost inhabiting the catwalk, symbolizes a connection to the past. Despite being a spectral figure, Richard is revered by students, indicating a respect for the history and traditions of the school’s theater program. The story portrays Richard as a protector of the students, intervening to rectify injustices perpetrated by the director. Richard’s actions, such as causing the director to trip and orchestrating events that lead to her dismissal, serve as a form of retribution for her mistreatment of the students. The ambiguity surrounding Richard’s existence blurs the lines between reality and folklore. While some may view Richard as a fictional construct or a product of collective imagination, others, like C, entertain the possibility of supernatural intervention, reflecting a belief in the existence of forces beyond rational explanation. It is also common across history for theater and the supernatural to be combined, as shown in the tale of “Macbeth” being a word never spoken in a theater or else bad things will fall upon the actors/show.