What is Ghost Light

Horace He

Last Updated: August 28, 2023

What is Ghost Light

A ghost light is a term to describe a single lamp that is left illuminated on stage when the theater is not in use. A ghost light provides a safety measure by preventing accidents and injuries in the dark and empty theater. The tradition of the ghost light is rooted in the belief that theaters are inhabited by ghosts, and leaving a light on stage is believed to ward off these spirits. It is also seen as a symbol of care and respect within the theater community, signifying that even during periods of downtime, theater personnel look out for one another. The ghost light is typically a low-cost solution to keep the stage minimally illuminated during non-performance times, ensuring the safety of those who may enter the theater.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Origin of the Ghost Light

The origin of the ghost light is not well-documented, but there are several theories surrounding its beginnings. According to theater scholar James Fisher in his book Historical Dictionary of American Theater: Beginnings, the term “ghost light” originated from the era of gas-lit theaters, where dimly lit gaslights were used to alleviate pressure on gas valves.

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