Hardcover Theater specializes in creating shows based on literature. But our specialty within that specialty is ghost and horror stories from the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
Below is a list of the classic ghost and horror stories that we’ve turned into theater. To the best of our knowledge, none of these stories except “The Canterville Ghost” has ever before been adapted for the stage. Most of them are funny – some of them very much so!
If you would like to lease one or more of our scripts for a production, please e-mail us at hardcovertheater.org, using the prefix info. Rates are very reasonable (i.e., low); we want to keep these great stories alive by bringing them to contemporary audiences. Each of them runs 15-25 minutes.
“The Hauntings at Grantley Grange”
based on “The Ghosts at Grantley” (1875) by Leonard Kip
Victorian screwball comedy (squabbling lovers). Extremely witty.
“The Broken-Hearted Ghost”*
based on “Teddy Biffles’s Story – Johnson and Emily; or, the Faithful Ghost,” from the
omnibus tale, “Told After Supper” (1891) by Jerome K. Jerome
Much expanded-upon from the original. The moaning ghost brings down the house.
“The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall”
based on the 1894 story by John Kendrick Bangs
One of the all-time classics.
“The Inexperienced Ghost”
based on the 1902 story by H.G. Wells
Witty, tightly structured, formally perfect.
“Mr Tilly’s Séance”
based on the 1922 story by E.F. Benson
“The Black Poodle”
based on the 1884 story by F. Anstey (Thomas Anstey Guthrie)
Not really a ghost story, but we turned it into one. It’s a hoot.
“Teig O’Kane and the Corpse”
based on the Irish folktale collected by, inter alia, W.B. Yeats
Gruesome and utterly hilarious.
“The Beast with Five Fingers”
based on the 1919 story by W.F. Harvey
How do you present a severed hand onstage? We found a simple way, and it works extremely well.
based on the 1907 story by Edward Lucas White
With a fairly simple special effect, it’s creepy as hell.
“The Dunwich Horror”
based on the 1928 story by H.P. Lovecraft
People keep trying to adapt Lovecraft for the stage and the screen, and they keep failing because, with very rare exceptions, Lovecraft’s stories are not in the least dramatic. This story is one of those very rare exceptions.
“The Canterville Ghost”
based on the 1887 story by Oscar Wilde
OK, so this one has been adapted before, lots of times. But never so quickly and elegantly!
“How Fear Departed from the Long Gallery”
based on the 1911 story by E.F. Benson
Benson was one of the greatest writers of ghost stories, and this was his favorite story of his own work. It is also the all-time favorite ghost story of Hardcover’s artistic director, Steve Schroer.
“The Authentic Narrative of the Ghost of a Hand”
based on Chapter 12 of The House by the Churchyard (1863) by J. S. LeFanu
Like “The Beast with Five Fingers” but played straight. Chilling.
based on the 1908 story by Perceval Landon
One of the most brutally violent ghost stories ever written.
“The Upper Berth”
based on the 1886 story by F. Marion Crawford
Another classic, very grim.
“The Cold Embrace”
based on the 1860 story by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Melodramatic tale of love betrayed.
“The Story of the Bagman’s Uncle”
based on Chapter LVIX of The Pickwick Papers (1836) by Charles Dickens
One of Dickens’ many Christmas ghost stories. Swashbuckling action!
“The Curse of the Red Chamber”
based on “The Curse of the Catafalques” (1882) by F. Anstey (Thomas Anstey Guthrie)
A fortune hunter gets more than he bargained for. The original story fizzles out; we invented a dynamite ending!