The bonington theatre is haunted or so many of the staff believes. So often has the ghost made her presence felt that they have given her the name “Edna”.
Although only 20 yrs old the theatre and leisure centre are built on or near an old Quaker graveyard. During the building of the centre a female skull and bones were found on the site, possibly the remains of an old burial.
The disturbance of these bones may account for the strange happenings that have been witnessed by many of the centres staff.
The landing leading into the theatre and the lighting box, upstairs on the second floor, have had sudden unexplained drops in temperature. The theatre and the surrounding area are normally very warm, not less than 78 degrees Fahrenheit even in winter. This high temperature is due to the close proximity of the heated swimming pool.
As a result of “Edna’s” activities some staff do not like to go into the theatre alone at night. Doors that open, footsteps and other sounds that can not be accounted for, objects that are not where they have been left and lights that appear to switch them selves on and off, have all been encountered.
‘One member of staff seeing that the working lights in the theatre were off, on the CCTV monitor, went to put them on ready for a rehearsal. He had to unlock a door to get to the switches.
When he opened the door he found that the lights were already on… No one else could have done it he had the only key. Though puzzled he locked the door again and went down stairs. When he got back in the office they asked him why he had switched the lights off again.
Looking at the monitor he could see that the theatre was in darkness. So back he went upstairs and unlocked the door again.
As soon as he entered through the door he had the feeling that he was not alone. There was a strange sweet smell, but he was completely alone. As he switched on the lights the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He bolted, ran down the stairs, and jumped the last flight, nearly hitting the glass trophy cabinet at the bottom.
Downstairs the receptionist asked him what he was doing. After explaining what had happened she said that she would go back up with him. When they reached the theatre there was no one there and the lights were off again. The lights had now been switched on, off, on, and off again. The temperature had now dropped alarmingly, it was very cold, remember the building is usually very warm due to the heated swimming pool. This time the lights stayed on and the temperature returned to normal.
‘Two clairvoyants who have visited the theatre independently from each other and with no prior knowledge have confirmed there is a ghost. A well known Nottingham medium was attending the theatre. She told staff that there was a presence in the toilets on the first floor landing and that the presence was a woman, just a harmless resident spirit.
Another clairvoyant, a man who had come from London and new nothing about the Centre, asked if any one knew that there was a spirit presence in the theatre. He was told all about our “Edna”
“Edna” is not malicious, but appears to like a joke. She likes to moves things in locked rooms when no one is looking. She has let the gas out of the beer barrels in a locked cellar, and moved the bottles about in the bar.
In the Theatre she has operated the stage lighting when the control is switched off, plugged in and switched on lights over night and moved scenery and equipment about, all in the locked building.
She also likes to collect pens! as they disappear and then reappear at will, always back in the same place from which they first disappeared.
Who she is and why she haunts the theatre is unknown. Maybe she is a drama critic!
The only clue is the Quaker grave yard.
A letter in the public records of 28th February 1717 from a Nathaniel Need in America to his brother John asks him ‘ not to hinder friends of the privilege of the small burying place near my house in Arnall.’ On the 12th July 1725 a schoolhouse in Jackson’s Yard, Arnold, was certified as a place of worship and registered in the name of Joseph Need a Quaker. The site of Jackson’s Yard is next to the Theatre!