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Local Legends: Towngate Theatre & Cinema

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Towngate Theatre & Cinema is a community theatre located in Wheeling, WV. Though it is now a theatre, it was formerly a Lutheran church, which is the reason for its clerical appearance. This makes the theatre a unique experience for Wheeling residents, though this isn’t the only trait that makes Towngate unique. Peter Whitaker was an actor and director at Towngate until 1971 when he passed away tragically due to congenital heart failure. 

Whitaker is said to haunt Towngate due to his unfortunate death only a short time before a show he was meant to perform in. There have been numerous reports of ghastly activity in the theatre by actors, directors, and viewers alike. 

“I had a run-in with Peter at Towngate when I was a little kid. I was in a show sitting backstage chilling, but then I heard this pounding on the wall. The person in charge said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s Peter!’”, says Alex Fabrizio, an actor.

“I saw a ghost at Towngate once when I was seeing a show. I heard it whispering. It was like, ‘Hello, hello! Ooo!’ I was shaking in my boots. I was shaking and quaking and shivering my timbers. I mean, it was terrifying. It was a real ghost, I’m telling you! It was an apparition.”, says Callum Wall, a frequent audience member. 

Regardless of whether you believe in ghosts or not, it is undeniable that Towngate is a great local theatre to go to, full of lots of interesting history and backstory. The next time you find yourself at Towngate, remember to say hello to Peter!

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Jana Schodzinski, Business Manager
  • BusinesJournalism II
  • Sophomore
  • Community theater, Park Players, Speech and Debate Team, baking and cooking
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