This theatre was built in the 1930s and named after the actress, Annie Russell, who taught at Rollins College (where the theatre is located). She herself performed on-stage opening night in 1932. Annie died four years later in 1936.
There have been claims for many years now of seeing a female ghost in the second-story changing room. (Note: this room is no longer accessible after a recent remodeling of the theatre.)
If you've had a paranormal experience here, or have any additional information about this location, please let us know!
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- 1000 Holt Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
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- 28.593075750616045, -81.34798765182495
- Orange County, Florida
- Nearest Towns:
- Winter Park, FL (0.7 mi.)
Eatonville, FL (2.5 mi.)
Maitland, FL (2.6 mi.)
Fairview Shores, FL (2.8 mi.)
Goldenrod, FL (3.8 mi.)
Fern Park, FL (3.9 mi.)
Union Park, FL (4.1 mi.)
Orlando, FL (4.2 mi.)
Azalea Park, FL (4.6 mi.)
Altamonte Springs, FL (4.8 mi.)
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I worked in the Annie Russell Scene Shop as a student. I used the work study as an escape from science building’s stark and windowless interior since I was a Biology major. I spent a fare amount of time in the theater but figured I was a different breed from the theater majors, much more level headed and logical. During one of the routine tear downs after a show, a friend and I were assigned to remove the decorative edging off the side of the stage. We were both working near the emergency exit on the left side of the theater next to the first few rows of seats. The theater stage and scene shop were full of students and staff making lots of noise and trying to empty the stage in preparation for the next show as quickly as possible. As we were pulling off a particularly stubborn strip of molding, the emergency exit door slowly swung open about halfway. My friend and I turned to see who was opening the door only to find no one was there. The door, which had a self closing arm, stayed half open of its own accord for quite a long pause as if someone or something couldn’t decide if it was coming or going. My friend and I looked at each other and I turned back to the door and jokingly said, “Hey Annie, shut the door”. As soon as I finished saying it the door slowly swung shut. We sat in stunned silence for a few moments while my mind tried to come up with a logical explanation. I then thought it might be one of the newer students trying to find a way back into the theater and got nervous when I told them to shut the door. So I jumped up to open the door to call them back. When I opened the door there was no one outside of it to call back and when I turned to go back to work I noticed that there were no handles on the outside of the emergency exit.
I worked as the House Manager of the theatre in the late 70s while on scholarship at Rollins. I was in the theatre countless times at night, after everyone was gone, and I never encountered the ghost. A few years before I worked there, the theatre was renovated and the center isle was taken out. When the isle was removed, Annie’s favorite seat was also removed. The theory at the time was No seat = No ghost!