The Ghostly Child that Haunts Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre

The Haymarket Theatre Ghost.

There are a vast amount of theatres across the UK, a fair-sized percentage are reputedly haunted. Why is this? Are these thespians so beloved of their environment they are unable to take a final bow of mortality?

Our ghost is not a thespian or an audience member like so many theatre ghosts are. The ghost who haunts the Haymarket Theatre is probably an Edwardian boy. Due to his traditional sailor suit (which was a staple of fashion at that time) that he has been repeatedly spotted in.

The Haymarket Theatre.

The theatre in Leicester was constructed in 1973. It is a concrete building which is built within a shopping mall and a multi-storey car park.

Many locals still think that the project was the day the heart was torn out of the Leicester. The theatre was closed in 2006 but reopened in 2018.

The Ghost.

During a run of “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”, one of the senior backstage staff supervisors had to work late after the production. The supervisor was disturbed from her work by noticing a boy moving from a props basket to the door onto the stage.

With all the children involved in the play the supervisor assumed him to be member of the cast. He was then told, in no uncertain terms, that he should not be backstage and to leave. This he did by vanishing into nothing.

The ghostly child has also been known to stand at the side of the stage during performances.

During a production of Oliver, the director’s upper leg was being grabbed and poked, like a child would do who is looking for attention. When he looked down nothing was there.

Later whilst he was home he noticed small bruises in the same location he felt the grabbing and poking earlier that night.

Others have also felt the punches on their upper legs, not unlike a child with a tantrum trying to get attention.

At times actors and stage crew have seen the child backstage. When approached he just simply vanishes.

The child spectre has also been seen in the mirrors of the dressing rooms within the theatre.

Actors have reportedly seen the boy in their mirrors and when they have turned around, nothing was there.

Other Shenanigans

A long term worker of the Haymarket had many run-ins with Denis (Nicknamed after Denis the menace due to his mischievous antics). She described that whilst locking up at night she could often hear and sense what felt like a child skipping next to her.

Then there was also the night “Denis” kept switching all the lights back on at closing time. Thinking there was an intruder the police were immediately called.

Of course they found nothing but just as the police were leaving the lights backstage turned back on. After another search the police again found no one. The worker loudly scolded Denis to stop. And there were no more light shows.

The worker goes on to explain that “Whilst in charge of the back stage tours the first question was always about any ghosts the theatre may have had. I enjoyed telling the guests the childish antics of Denis and I am still very fond of him”.

Missing Camera.

Another Worker who worked in the theatre in the 1980’s, was told by several backstage staff about the “boy”.

Apparently he would move things, nudge you and just be childishly annoying.

Once a manager’s camera went missing ,which he had left on a desk in an office. After a long search around the theatre (and the office) it was nowhere to be seen. After finally given up on the search and retiring back into the office, it was right there on a stack of papers.

A member of the production crew explained to the worker it must have been the “boy”.

She would also go onto to explain how she had been pushed, and grabbed by unseen hands.

Hopefully “Denis” will enjoy the new opening of the theatre and if the story’s of him are true he’s more active whilst in the presence of children.

Who is he?

There are two accounts that might explain the ghost child. One version is that a small boy fell down a deep well and drowned, the other that a lad was crushed by a wayward barrel full of beer.

Various victorian public houses and shops were demolished to make way for the The Haymarket. Including more than 10 public houses.

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Book Recommendation.

If you are interested in the darker side of Leicester’s history then check out this book on Amazon. (Click on the image or link below)

Foul Deeds & Suspicious Deaths Around Leicester

“Within the pages of this book are some of the most notorious and often baffling cases in Leicestershire’s history. From the appalling double murder at Melton Mowbray in 1856, known locally as the Peppermint Billy murders, to the 1953 murderer Joseph Reynolds who killed because he wanted to know how it felt. This book explores the cases that dominated the headlines, not only across the city and surrounding county but also nationwide.”

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Thomas Kirkup is an engineer in the Royal Navy. Born and raised in Leicester he is fascinated by the city's long and varied history. He also hates to discus himself in the third person, but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.


  1. Hello, Thank you for the History writ ups , I always look forward to reading them all . Do you have any Hisory on “The Little Theatre ” at all please. I could imagine that has a lot , I always used to go there when I lived in Leicester , it is a quaint building . Look forward to hearing from you! Carole x

    • An article is on the works, full history and the ghost (A middle age women in WWII clothing). Please subscribe or follow us on facebook to keep up to date. won’t be too long.

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