Circa Halloween autumn — the year anything and everything is temporarily considered to be haunted. These paranormal places range from the mundane (elementary school gymnasiums) to the obvious (cemeteries), but if there’s one entity that can claim being haunted throughout the year, it’s a theater.
Originally opening in October 1938 as a movie theater for RCA Films and after undergoing an extensive refurbishing six years ago, The State Theatre has evolved into the premiere cultural hub of Centre County, hosting to concerts, plays, art-house films and, oh yeah, ghosts.
Starting Oct. XX and running through All Hallows' Eve, the State Theatre will offer tours that not only allow for an intimate view of the theater and but will also highlight the venue's otherworldly inhabitants.
“Everybody knows that every theater is haunted and that they all have their ghosts,” said Cathy Brown, the director of marketing and sponsorships for the State Theatre. “There are resident spooks in every theater. I don’t know if I can give any specifics about any certain ghost, but much like ‘American Horror Story’ on TV, the stories change every year.”
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Considering that this is the first year that these ghost tours are being given, the State Theatre has a blank canvas on which they are able to freely and wildly paint tales of the ghoulish and the macabre.
“We have a bunch of different people with different talents working to put this together, and we actually have a script writer whose putting it together, so the story’s very consistent,” Brown said.
“We will incorporate things such as individuals who may have passed away in the theater during a show, individuals who may have passed away on stage and various theater staff whose happiest memories were working here and showing movies and who may have come back.”
In addition to these spine-tingling chronicles, these fright nights will also serving to help fund the State Theatre to ensure that these sorts of events can continue to take place.
“It’s going to be a heck of a lot of fun,” Brown said. “There really isn’t anything like this in the vicinity of the downtown area. We’re a nonprofit organization and we depend on relationships with donors. ... This has now added to our slate of fundraisers for the theater, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. While we do want it to be fun for families, but it’s also Halloween, we want it to be scary.”
Given the rich history of the world's theaters, it isn’t any wonder that these halls devoted to drama serve as the perfect place for spirits to swarm and of course, the State Theatre is no stranger to this strangeness.
“There is so much emotion and there is so much passion that goes into the theater and that’s where people tend to go, it’s where their happiest memories are,” Brown said. “Creative people and people in the theater are able to see beyond reality, and I think that ghosts and spirits are drawn to that because they’re always looking for ways to communicate.”