Frankenstein author will take centre stage in Southwold

FAMOUS TALE: The story behind the novel Frankenstein will be recounted on stage in Southwold next month. British actor Boris Karloff is shown here in a scene from the classic 1931 film based on teh book by Mary Shelley, left/right/inset.  pictures: AP PHOTO/UNIVERSAL SUDIOS and LIBRARY FAMOUS TALE: The story behind the novel Frankenstein will be recounted on stage in Southwold next month. British actor Boris Karloff is shown here in a scene from the classic 1931 film based on teh book by Mary Shelley, left/right/inset. pictures: AP PHOTO/UNIVERSAL SUDIOS and LIBRARY

Friday, May 2, 2014
4:11 PM

The life of the author who penned one of the most famous Gothic horror stories will be brought to life on stage at Southwold Arts Festival this summer.

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The Common Ground theatre company will be staging a brand new adaptation of Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein on June 30.

The macabre tale about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein and his monster was conceived after the English poet Lord Byron challenged his friends to write a horror story one night in 1816.

The assembled group included Mary Shelley, her future husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, his her stepsister Claire Claremont, and Byron’s physician John William Polidori.

Frankenstein was published in 1818 but, within a few years, two of the Shelleys’ three children and nearly all of those involved in Byron’s challenge had died.

The production follows the author’s life as she endeavours to come to terms with her own creative struggle while dealing with her grief for those she has lost and her craving for recognition and respectability.

Although best known for Frankenstein, she was also a dramatist, essayist, biographer and political radical and her story is almost as remarkable as that of her own fictional creation.

Pat Whymark, a director of the theatre company, said: “It’s a fascinating story of innocence and rejection, love and revenge. The actors will play characters from Mary’s life and the production will be punctuated by film projection and original music.

“It will also include the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and Mary Shelley herself.”

Mrs Whymark began her professional career in Southwold, working with Joan Shore as part of a Summer Theatre season, and she said she was looking forward to returning to the town.

Common Ground has been touring new plays and adaptations of classic stories and folk tales throughout East Anglia for the past seven years. The professional company also aims to provide opportunities for young people entering the profession to work alongside established actors and stage technicians.

Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein will be performed at St Edmund’s Hall, Southwold, on Monday, June 30 at 7.30 pm. Tickets are £12 and can be purchased by calling 07554 585580, online at www.southwoldartsfestival.co.uk or by writing to 4 Foster Close, Southwold, IP18 6LE

Southwold Arts Festival runs from Saturday, June 28 to Saturday, July 5 2014. All events are listed on the website and a full colour brochure will be published soon.

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