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The Woman In Black – 32 Years On

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The Woman in Black, still terrifying after 32 years, is one if the longest-running West End plays – second only to Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

This unique adaptation gives audiences an experience unlike both film and book. 

Book tickets for The Woman in Black, at The Grand Theatre between 20th-25th September 2025 You can also call our Box Office on 01253 290190.

 

How it All Started

“It was nine-thirty on Christmas eve…”

Dating back to 1987 in Scarborough, the play came about when Robin Herford, Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, realised he still had grant money to spend. With Christmas approaching and his boss, Alan Ayckbourn, on an extended holiday, Herford decided to stage a small, low-budget ghost story in the theatre’s bar.

Herford asked in-house playwright, Stephen Mallatratt, to write him a play. The drawbacks? He only had £1,000 for the total cost of costumes, production, and set design, with only enough in the budget to hire four actors.

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The Woman in Black: A Success

Mallatratt settled on Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, published in 1983. His ingenious plan to stay within the budget was to only have two speaking actors playing the characters from the novel and to have a minimalist set design using the entire theatre.

The idea worked so well that the play sold out completely on the opening night and had a three-week run. In January 1989, it premiered at the Lyric Hammersmith in London before going to the Fortune Theatre.

 

Why is The Woman in Black So Terrifying?

The play uses the entire theatre space and extends past the stage, inducing in the audience a feeling of no escape. The lack of music and low air-conditioning temperatures add to the immersive and four-dimensional experience. The atmosphere, controlled horror, and illusion are sure to petrify you.

Ready to feel a chill run down your spine? Don’t be too scared when characters start creeping up behind you.

 

The Cast & Crew

Robert Goodale will star as ‘Arthur Kipps’ and Antony Eden as ‘The Actor’.

Playwright: Stephen Mallatratt

Author: Susan Hill

Director: Robin Herford

Producers: PW Productions

Designer: Michael Holt

Lighting Designer: Kevin Sleep

Original Sound Design: Rod Mead

Sound Designer: Sebastian Frost

Vision Productions: Jessica Fraser

Stage Management: Jon Huyton, Julia Crammer, Emily Ida

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