Spooky tales from the crypt of the Citz

THEY say there’s no business like showbusiness — and it seems theatre lovers will show their love of the stage, even from beyond the grave.

The southside’s own Citizens Theatre has a complex history and that’s without delving into the history of the Gorbals itself leaving employees past and present with tales of the supernatural.

Built in 1876 as His Majesty’s Theatre, the Victorian interior remains behind a modern (1989) atrium entrance.

Many have reported a grey or a white lady up on the dress circle, and there are tales of a strawberry seller girl, a costumed “actor” in the audience and even a helpful monk leading staff to the exit during a blackout.

Head of workshop Dennis Murphy has worked at the theatre for 30 years and used to live in the tenements above it.

Dennis, now living in Strathbungo, told The Extra: “When I started, on stage door, I was the last person out and had to go round the building locking up. I’d put tannoys up so that if anyone was still here, I could hear them.

“You’d get static from the taxi radios passing by, but there was one night where I heard voices talking. I went into the auditorium to hear better...and then I did a runner!”

It’s one of several stories Dennis has from his time at the Citz, including a late night painting session with another staff member when each thought the other was speaking in his ear.

But two years ago, during panto season, the Citz veteran saw something for himself.

Dennis explained: “I went under the stage, and no-one was in. I came out of the room, in darkness, and there was a figure running at me.

“When you’re backstage and there’s a show on, actors are running past and you get out of the way but this person was coming too fast, so I ducked, and then...it disappeared! What I saw was a tall figure with a beard.

“I got the boys down from the workshop and this time, all the lights were on. I always go down there with a bit of trepidation now and look around first.”

Dennis added: “I feel things here in the theatre. I don’t know for definite, but after that incident, I don’t know what to believe...”

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