The Kings Theatre Ghost HuntAlbert Road, Portsmouth Hampshire.
The King’s Theatre, is a magnificent, elegant Edwardian building,
designed in the Italian Renaissance style, steeped in history,
with many famous actors treading its boards over the past century.
The theatre is located in the historic town of Portsmouth in Hampshire. In the mid-1850s, the theatre manager Henry Rutley arrived in Portsmouth and took over the theatre formally known as the Landport Hall. His previous experience in both theatre and circus persuaded him that a theatre could not only be made profitable but would also be a social asset to the town. With only a licence for a limited period he had the faith to re-open the Landport Hall as the New Theatre Royal in 1856.
J W Boughton, Rutley’s Assistant, assumed management of the Portsmouth Theatres Company in 1882 after Rutley’s death and, in 1900 he employed the theatre architect Frank Matcham to redesign the New Theatre Royal as a Drama and Opera House which finally opened in 1907.
Boughton’s vision was so strong that he initially paid
for the design himself, but was subsequently reimbursed by the
Portsmouth Theatres Company and the King’s Theatre became the
third theatre owned by that company.
The current theatre comprises 4 levels, namely the stalls, dress circle, upper circle and “the gods” where, in years gone by, poorer visitors used to pay a penny to view shows whilst seated away from the rich. The front entrance and foyer were built on the site of a former grocery shop and it’s interesting to note that, because the stage was built over a stream, the under-stage area still needs to be pumped dry on occasions.
The Kings remained under the management of the Portsmouth Theatre Company until 1964 when it was bought by Commander and Mrs Cooper, before being sold to Hampshire County Council in 1990. In 2001 there was a successful campaign to protect the theatre’s future which resulted in the purchase by Portsmouth City Council and its leasing to the King’s Theatre Trust Ltd, who have carried out much restoration work. The current theatre can house an audience of 1600, but interestingly, maintains a mainly manual backstage area, protecting its traditional character. The original lady statue from the top of the tower was lost and only resurfaced many years later in 1998 in a Hampshire scrapyard and now has pride of place in the foyer, with a glass fibre replica on top of the tower.
Among the Theatre’s legacy are the fact that The Who and Elton John appeared on stage together in 1974 to film the famous Pinball Wizard scene of the film Tommy and Spike Milligan, in the program Room 101 asked for Portsmouth to be dumped, due to receiving a bad audience response to his one man show in the 1960s. Thankfully that did not happen, which gives us all the opportunity to enjoy the delights this theatre offers.
Reported Paranormal Activity
The significant paranormal
activity reported at the King’s, includes sightings
of the actress who, it is said, watches rehearsals
and the spirit of a woman who allegedly speaks to ghost hunters
about her suicide.
There have been accounts of banging doors underneath the stage and in the gods , as well as reports of spirits who sit in the auditorium and make their presence known by knocking over seats.
Could the apparition of a figure standing in the aisle the ever-watchful spirit of John Walter Boughton who headed the Portsmouth Theatre Company and had the vision to fund the building of this elegant Edwardian Playhouse?