The exact origins of the ghostlight is murky, although there are some popular theories. Theater scholar James Fisher writes in Historical Dictionary of American Theater: Beginnings that the ghost light “comes from the days of gas-lit theatres and refers to dimly lit gaslights used to relieve pressure on gas valves”. In another tome The A to Z of American Theater: Modernism he relates a popular legend that a burglar once snuck into a Broadway theater, fell from the darkened stage, broke his leg, and then sued the theater. And of course there is the pervasive belief that the light will either ward off ghosts or distract them. Whatever the origin, the ghostlight has become a staple at every darkened theater and a symbol of light in the darkness worldwide
At Acting Manitou we have chosen to adopt the image of the ghostlight, a beacon in the dark, as the cornerstone of our core values that we challenge each camper and staff member to return to during the summer and throughout the year. These four values are an adaptation of what we called The Camper’s Job for many years and anchor each decision we make from show selection to evening activities. This summer we will be looking daily at ways in which we each embody these four ghostlights and can encourage them to shine year round.