Ghost Story

by Mark Ravenhill

Ghost Story had 1 performance about 4 years ago (on the 19th of October 2018) at Rhoda McGaw Theatre

Ghost Story is written by British Playwright Mark Ravenhill. The play was first staged as part of Sky Arts Playhouse Live Project. The play begins when Lisa, a breast cancer sufferer visits Meryl, a healer who believes in the curative power of positive thought but, over time, lines are crossed between the healer and the healed; Lisa and Meryl are caught in a power struggle which constantly asks who is the healer and who is the healed? However, as time folds back on itself, they both discover that the world is full of ghosts.

Ghost story is a satirical exploration of the doctrine of positive thinking, asking how effective these approaches could possibly be in the fight against cancer. It asks serious questions but also plays for laughs, especially when Lisa is asked to draw her cancer on a wall (with penis).

The play also questions how terminal illness affects the relationship with oneself and the people around us. It poignantly depicts the lies and half-truths we must tell ourselves and each other to protect those around us and our own egos, each character having moments when the truth is somewhat obscured.

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Lisa (30+) - Nancy Lund

Lisa begins the play in a state of vulnerability, unease, and frustration as Meryl refuses to answer questions about her own experience of cancer whilst confidently pressing Lisa to face her own insecurities and fears. As time unfolds, Lisa begins to find a strength that allows her to address her illness. Throughout the play Lisa experiences several changes, offering some moving and poignant moments.


Meryl (40+) - Frankie Godliman

Meryl is a healer but to what success is never confirmed, perhaps a fraud? Meryl begins the play with strength and professionalism as she firmly deflects Lisa’s attempts to make her cross the line and reveal her own experiences of cancer. Meryl begins the play under the belief she is a cancer survivor which gives her absolute confidence in her practice as a healer but as time unfolds we see Meryl reveal her experiences and as she begins to be truthful to herself and her girlfriend Hannah, we see Meryl crumble to a state of vulnerability as roles are reversed.

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Hannah (20+) - Jill Coles

Meryl’s younger girlfriend, a teacher. Hannah offers the middle ground between Lisa and Meryl, as time unfolds she bridges the gap between both timelines. She is a little quirky, brassy but a little naïve.


Director - Judith Dolley


Set Design and Construction - John Godliman


Lighting Design - Simon Waller

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Violinist - Alison Santry

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Stage Manager - Liz Thomas


Continuity - Caroline Ross

Edna Nash Trophy for Third Placed Play Woking Drama Festival - 2018