The Haunting of Blaine Manor

Written and directed by Joe O’Byrne, The Haunting of Blaine Manor returns for a 3 Venue Halloween Tour taking in the classic dome featured Kings Arms in Salford, the haunting Hermon Chapel Arts Centre in Oswestry and finishing as part of this years London Horror Festival at The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub. Eleven nights of Horror spread across three wonderful venues.

The Haunting of Blaine Manor follows renowned American parapsychologist Doctor Roy Earle, famous for exposing fake mediums, as he is invited to attend a seance in what is said to be the most haunted building in England, Blaine Manor. Even the locals won’t set foot there, as all who walk within those grounds will be cursed. But his arrival at the manor has awoken something horrific within the walls.

As a raging storm closes off Blaine Manor from the outside world, Earle and the others find that what is waiting there is not nearly as horrific as what has entered with him.

In the spirit of M R James, England’s most accomplished ghost story writer (Casting the Runes, Whistle and I’ll Come To You My Lad, The Haunted Doll’s House) and with a nod to the classic black and white film classics of Columbia Pictures, Metro Goldwyn Mayor, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and RKO Pictures. The Latest O’Byrne play leaves behind the modern world of his critically acclaimed Tales from Paradise Heights series for this, his first period piece.

This is his love letter to the works of M R James and the Classic Hollywood Film Era. Featuring a cast of Peter Slater, Jo Haydock, Phil Dennison, Andrew Yates, Daniel Thackeray and Joe O’Byrne humself. The play features an original chilling sound design and haunting title theme by Justin Wetherill. Images by Shay Rowan and banner heads by Darren McGinn.

O’Byrne wanted The Haunting of Blaine Manor to be a period piece, something that would fit the world of Edgar Allan Poe or H P Lovecraft. At the same time tipping the hat to the hammer horror classics that he watched in his youth. In tandem with this he also wanted to create something that was a throwback to the Hollywood Golden Age, where glamour mixed with danger like bourbon poured over rocks, where you would see the likes of Claude Rains, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre.

He wanted to create a disturbing sound design from scratch, building a soundscape eerie enough to act as a standalone element of fear within the piece. His original sound designer, left the production very early on due to being disturbed by dark nature of the script, meaning this is a show not for the faint of heart.

O’Byrne brings The Haunting of Blaine Manor to The Kings Arms from the 23rd-28th of October. Get yourself a ticket for the scariest show in Manchester here. 

Daniel Sefton

The Features Editor for How to Do Theatre, Daniel is into travel, popular culture and sometimes a combination of the two. He is obsessed with travelling and is keenly interested in all things marketing. His biggest influences are Alex Garland, David Ogilvy and Andy Warhol.