‘Lost souls’ take over Theatre of the Republic for Halloween haunted house

Taking a tour of the Theater of the Republic

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The Theatre of the Republic in Conway hasn’t been able to put on any shows since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it will re-open next week with a different look.

Without anyone to keep an eye on them, all the “lost souls” of the theater have gotten a little restless.

“If you know anything about theaters in general, they are sort of a little creepy and they have their own ghosts and spirits, so for the week of Halloween, we’re letting all the souls out," said Tim McGhee, the theater’s executive director

The “Theatre of Lost Souls” haunted house will run through several backstage areas before leading those who dare to a maze on the stage.

Social distancing and masks are required as small groups will rotate through, with only one or two in any one room at a time.

Actors who would ordinarily be on stage this time of year will instead portray the lost souls of what appears to be an abandoned theater.

McGhee has been waiting for an opportunity to thank those who helped the theater stay afloat.

“Everyone’s been donating money to us, so it’s very hard to keep taking money and not giving something back," he said. "So, we’re trying a couple different things.”

The theater is rehearsing for its first show, “Bright Star,” which opens next month.

It won’t be at the theater, however, because under the current executive order, it can only seat 90 people, which McGhee says isn’t profitable.

Instead, it will be at an open-air venue on nearby Laurel Street in Conway.

McGhee picked Steve Martin’s “Bright Star” because he believes it’s the perfect show to re-open with while in the pandemic.

“He went back and re-wrote it, took some lines out, made it concert style, so you could be doing it COVID-19 safely," said McGhee. "That was pretty smart of him. They’re very few shows out there that you can do with COVID-19 distancing.”

The theater is also moving forward with its children’s shows again, with “Elf Jr.” opening virtually and to a live audience of mostly parents.

Before the kids take the stage, they’ve got to let the lost souls get their scares out of their systems.

“You’re going to have a lot of different characters in here to frighten you," said McGhee. "If you’re weak, make sure you have someone to fall onto.”

The “Theatre of Lost Souls” haunted house will run from Oct. 26-31.

Tickets cost $13. Click here for more information.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.