A HISTORIC theatre’s resident ghosts have been spotted keeping a close eye on refurbishment works.

Creepy photographs appear to have captured two ghostly figures sitting in the stalls of Darlington’s Civic Theatre.

Contractors working on a multi-million refurbishment of the Edwardian building were startled after spotting the pair in photographs taken to show the progress of their work.

However, the haunting sight – doubted by some as a trick of the light - came as no surprise to the theatre’s marketing officer, Julian Cound.

Mr Cound said the manifestation represented just one of scores of spooky stories to have originated at the theatre, built in 1907.

The venue is so steeped in the paranormal that ghost hunters have flocked throughout the years for the chance of meeting one of its resident spirits.

They include the ghost of Senor Rino Pepi, the theatre’s first managing director, who died hours before world-famous ballerina Anna Pavlova took to the stage in November 1927.

Rumour has it that his spirit returns to his box every time he hears the strains of The Dying Swan, Pavlova’s signature ballet.

Tragic stagehand Jimbo is said to revisit the spot backstage where he died, tangled in ropes following an accident.

Victorian child Arabelle prefers to stick to dressing room 12, where she has been heard sobbing by numerous unsettled actors and actresses over the years.

In 2014, house manager Peter Tate told The Northern Echo that he believed the spirits were not malevolent – despite having been witness to the stage curtain flapping by itself.

Mr Cound concurs, having also been privy to ghostly activity at the theatre.

He said: “There are many stories of ghosts being seen and heard on several occasions.

“I was once on my own in dressing room 12 when I heard a child crying, I knew the stories so didn’t feel scared.

“Maybe there are other explanations but it’s nice to think that these ghosts want to stay around and love the theatre so much they don’t want to leave it.”

He said nobody knew who the ghosts who appeared in the stalls recently were, adding: “I don’t think the people that took the photos felt fear, but there was a bit of surprise there.”