To mark the birth date of the seminal writer Mary Shelley, the cast of a new UK tour of Frankenstein have shown Shelley facing Victor Frankenstein: her own monstrous creation, as a new production featuring Shelley onstage is set to open. The images were taken aboard the RRS Discovery in the Scottish city of Dundee, where a young Mary Shelley discovered her talents for writing in 1812, nearby to Perth from where Victor Frankenstein set sail to conduct his experiments in the Orkneys. The production opens in Perth Theatre on 5 September.
The images feature Scottish screen actress Eilidh Loan, depicting Mary Shelley herself onstage as the author personally unfolding her monstrous tale of creature and creator. Victor Frankenstein is played by English actor Ben Castle-Gibb.
Born on 30 August 1797, Mary Shelley wrote of her time in Tayside, 1812:
My habitual residence was on the blank and dreary northern shores of the Tay, near Dundee. Blank and dreary on retrospection I call them; they were not so to me then. They were the eyry of freedom, and the pleasant region where unheeded I could commune with the creatures of my fancy… My true compositions of the airy flights of my imagination were born and fostered.
The UK tour has been adapted by the award-winning writer Rona Munro.
An eighteen-year-old girl, Mary Shelley, dreams up a monster whose tragic story will capture the imaginations of generations to come. 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.
Rona Munro’s brilliant new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Gothic masterpiece places the writer herself amongst the action, as she wrestles with her creation and with the stark realities facing revolutionary young women, then and now.
Ben Castle-Gibb will play Frankenstein, the creature’s creator, making his professional debut. Having trained at Arts Educational Schools, his credits while training include: It Never Happened, Treasure Island, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Radicalisation Of Bradley Manning and As You Like It.
Eilidh Loan will play Mary Shelley, the author unpacking her own horrific tale. Eilidh’s screen credits include: London Kills (BBC, Acorn TV), Doctors (BBC), Clique (BBC) and England’s Forgotten Queen (BBC). Her stage credits include: Me & My Left Ball (Tristan Bates Theatre).
Writer Rona Munro has written extensively for stage, radio, film and television. Her recent theatre credits include Lucy Barton, adapted from the novel by Elizabeth Strout and performed by Laura Linney at the Bridge Theatre London in 2018-19. Other credits include The James Plays: a trilogy of award-winning plays produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, the National Theatre UK and Edinburgh International Festival, Scuttlers (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Little Eagles (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Iron (Traverse Theatre, Royal Court Theatre) for which she won the John Whiting Award in 2003. Her television credits include the BAFTA-nominated Bumping the Odds (BBC Scotland) and Rehab (BBC Two), and her films include Ladybird Ladybird and OrangesandSunshine. Her work for radio includes several dramas for The Stanley Baxter Playhouse. Rona is the only writer so far to have contributed episodes to both the classic and contemporary series of Doctor Who (BBC One).
The production will be directed by Patricia Benecke, with composition and sound design by Simon Slater, lighting design by Grant Anderson, design by Becky Minto and movement direction by Jonnie Riordan.
Formed in 1985 to preserve and interpret Dundee's Heritage, Dundee Heritage Trust is an independent registered charity dedicated to the guardianship, preservation and portrayal of Dundee's Heritage in ways that educate, inspire and enlighten current and future generations.
As well as the internationally significant Royal Research Ship Discovery, Dundee Heritage Trust has responsibility for Discovery Point Antarctic Museum plus Verdant Works, one of the nation's most important textile museums. Both sites are accredited museums with collections of national significance, five star rated attractions with VisitScotland and have won numerous awards.
Book your tickets online for February 2020.