YORK Theatre Royal is launching a ‘haunted’ autumn season of plays – from Dracula and The Hounds of the Baskervilles to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – all ‘sponsored’ by the theatre’s resident ghost.

A spokesman said that as nights began to draw in, the theatre would be filling its stage with spirits and shadows in The Haunted Season.

“Award-winning kings of comedy La Navet Bete will sink their teeth into Dracula: The Bloody Truth,’ (24-25 Sept) which mixes slapstick with carefully-crafted comedy and a healthy dose of things going wrong as the action moves from dark and sinister Transylvania to the ‘awkwardly charming' seaside town of Whitby.

“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (October 19-23) gets a farcical overhaul in Lotte Wakeham’s production that has been dubbed ‘rib-bustingly hilarious’ by The Times.”

He said other plays included an adaptation by Philip Meeks of Gothic horror novel The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with a cast led by Wendi Peters and Bill Ward

He said the theatre would also feature three world premieres:

l Emma Rice’s Wise Children company would provide a fresh theatrical take on Emily Brontë’s epic tale of love, revenge and redemption Wuthering Heights in a co-production with the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.

l Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell (September 30-October 2,) inspired by English novelist Patrick Hamilton,would explore the underbelly of 1930s London life.

l Mugabe, My Dad & Me (Sept 9-18), a one man show would chart the rise and fall of one of the most controversial politicians of the 20th century through a personal story.

The theatre’s ghost, The Grey Lady, is reputed to be one of the nuns who ran the medieval hospital of St Leonard’s, who was entombed in a small room after an affair with a nobleman.