Mary Shelley, who thought up Frankenstein when she was just 18 years old, will appear on stage alongside her famous creation in a new adaptation of her novel coming to the Belgrade Theatre this autumn as part of a UK tour. Time to book your tickets for what’s sure to be a monster hit.
Rona Munro‘s adaptation, co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre, Selladoor Productions, Matthew Townshend Productions and Perth Theatre at Horsecross Arts, runs at the Coventry venue from 1 to 12 October 2019.
A young scientist by the name of Frankenstein breathes life into a gruesome body. Banished into an indifferent world, Frankenstein’s creature desperately seeks out his true identity, but the agony of rejection and a broken promise push him into darkness. Dangerous and vengeful, the creature threatens to obliterate Frankenstein and everyone he loves, in a ferocious and bloodthirsty hunt for his maker.
Shelley concocted the idea for her famous Gothic tale while holidaying with her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron at Lake Geneva. Inclement weather led them to create ghost stories to pass the time and, after much struggle and a terrifying ‘waking dream’, Mary Shelley put together the beginnings of her tale about a creature created from body parts and re-animated.
Her creation is now one of the most recognisable Gothic and horror characters in the world, with her story having spawned a plethora of adaptations, including famous film versions by Hammer Horror and Kenneth Branagh, a modern adaptation, a musical and the National Theatre’s 2011 version in which Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch alternated in the roles of creator and creature.
Speaking about her own adaptation, Munro said:
“This story has been told and retold in hundreds of different versions since it was first written, but it remains the dark and rebellious roar of its adolescent author. Mary Shelley was only eighteen when she wrote the novel and she’d already broken every social rule that should have shaped her life. That’s the version of Frankenstein I’ve returned to, the version of the novel. The story is told in the voice of that defiant and passionate young girl accusing her elders, the culture of her age and intent on terrifying the whole world.”
Munro has written extensively across stage, television, film and radio. Recent plays include My Name is Lucy Barton, which ran at the Bridge Theatre starring Laura Linney, and The James Plays, a trilogy of plays about Scottish monarchs created for National Theatre of Scotland, National Theatre and Edinburgh International Festival. She won the John Whiting Award for her play Iron in 2003 and is the only writer so far to have written episodes for both the classic series of Doctor Who and the contemporary one.
Eilidh Loan plays Shelley in this new production, having previously appeared in TV series Clique, London Kills and Doctors. Ben Castle-Gibb makes his professional stage debut as Victor Frankenstein, with Michael Moreland (Richard III, Perth Theatre; A Mad World My Masters, English Touring Theatre; The Roaring Girl, The White Devil; both Royal Shakespeare Company) as the creature. Thierry Mabonga, Sarah MacGillivray, Natali McCleary and Greg Powrie complete the cast.
Watch the trailer
Patricia Benecke, Creative Associate of the Belgrade Theatre whose credits include The Furies/Land of the Dead/Helter Skelter and Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Qu’ran, directs Frankenstein. Design is by Becky Minto, who has designed more than 100 shows for companies including National Theatre of Scotland, Grid Iron, Perth Rep, Vanishing Point, The Citizens’ Theatre and more.
In addition to its stop in Coventry, the UK tour of Frankenstein takes the production to Perth, Canterbury, Brighton, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Guildford, Liverpool, Richmond, Glasgow, Malvern, Derby, Mold, Aberdeen, Huddersfield, Inverness, Manchester and Aylesbury.
Frankenstein runs at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, Belgrade Square, Corporation St, Coventry CV1 1GS from 1 to 12 October with performances Mondays to Saturdays at 7.45pm (Thu 3 Oct at 7pm) with matinees Sats 2.30pm and 9 & 10 Oct 1.30pm. Tickets are priced from £8.50. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
About the Belgrade Theatre
The Belgrade Theatre opened in 1958 as part of the rebuilding of Coventry after the Second World War. It received its name due to the gift of timber made by the Serbian capital, which was central to the construction of the new auditorium. It is the major arts and cultural facility in Coventry, and is part of a group of organisations promoting engagement with the arts as Coventry prepares to be the 2021 City of Culture.