Guignol Theatre was first built on University of Kentucky grounds in 1927 at the corner of Euclid and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The theater was first titled the Romany Theatre by Carol Sax, who was a teacher at the Art Department at UK. Sax left UK in the 1920’s which left room for Frank Fowler to take over the theater soon after. Fowler renamed the theater into what it is known as today, Guignol Theatre. Guignol Theatre was named after the famous Theatre du Grand-Guignol in Paris, France, which was built in 1897.
In 1947, tragedy struck as the theater was burned to the ground. Just three years later though, the theater was reopened in the Fine Arts Building at the University of Kentucky. Today, the theater is showcased as a proscenium theatre with 390 seats. The theater was renovated in 2000 and reopened to the public in 2001. In 2003 new lighting was installed and finally in 2005, the lobby was updated. Due to eerie accounts of some who wander the theater, it is now being called into question whether or not the theater is haunted. According to one site on the internet, The Shadowlands, people reported “feeling as if being watched….strange banging noises at night. Some claim to have seen a ghostly man wandering the catwalk or the lighting booth.” Did someone die in the fire in 1947? Is there some other history to this theater that no one has yet to uncover? The Paranormal Study Organization at UK investigated the theater in February of this year. What they uncovered may be enough to put the rumors to rest. However, the truth has yet to be fully revealed. Has Guignol Theatre become the Waverly Hills of Lexington?