TO CELEBRATE its 275th birthday York Theatre Royal is throwing open its doors for a weekend of family fun and frivolity- even the theatre ghosts have been invited to join the party.

From Friday, August 9 to Sunday, August 11, the theatre will be packed with tours, exhibitions, taster sessions and feasts – and the promise that “it’s going to be one big party”.

There will be free 30-minute guided tours of the theatre when people can enter the hidden backstage world, discover the secrets of the Grade II listed building and find out lots, lots more about its fascinating history.

The building, which dates back to the 18th century, is a patchwork quilt of many periods – originally built over a 12th century hospital with changes over the years giving the theatre a Georgian interior, Victorian façade, 1960s poured concrete addition and now the recent transformation of the Grade II listed Theatre Royal into a building fit to serve a 21st century audience with improved access and flexibility.

Also planned is a ghostly look behind the scenes in a Digital Ghost Hunt. Renowned actor and ghost geek Julian Fitzmaurice will lead an expedition exploring the spooky goings on which have happened at the theatre over the centuries.

More stories will be told in the De Grey Rooms which will be transformed for the birthday weekend and house a costume exhibition showcasing the amazing array of outfits from the Costume Department.

Pauline and Claire from Costume Hire will be on hand to tell the stories behind the costumes. It offers a rare chance to see clothing and accessories from the theatre’s story of precious items, plus hand-drawn designs from past productions as well as vintage and antique items.

There will also be a birthday barbecue and York Theatre Royal Choir will be offering a free taster session.

For full details of the 275th birthday weekend celebrations visit

Tickets for the tours can be booked by phone 01904 623568, online at or in person at the theatre in St Leonard’s Place.