FEATURE: Timeworks Theatre’s Five Biggest Frankenstein Inspirations | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Ahead of bringing theatre show Frankenstein: A Gothic Creation to various North East venues throughout October, we caught up with Timeworks Theatre to find out their five favourite Frankenstein’s monsters. You can also catch them at the following…

  • Thursday 18th October, The Castle Keep, Newcastle, 7.30pm
  • Friday 19th October, The Castle Keep, Newcastle, 7.30pm
  • Wednesday 24th October, The Exchange, North Shields, 7.30pm
  • Friday 26th October, Langley Castle, Northumberland, 7.30pm
  • Sunday 28th October, Crook Hall, Durham, 7.30pm
  • Monday 29th October, Crook Hall, Durham, 7.30pm
  • Wednesday 31st October, Arts Centre Washington, 7.30pm

The 200th Anniversary
All of Timeworks Theatre’s productions are based on anniversaries of one sort or another, so when we realised this year marked the 200th anniversary of the original publication of Frankenstein, celebrating this with our own production of it felt like an opportunity not to be missed. It’s such an iconic story, a classic of Gothic horror and possibly the first ever novel that can truly be described as science fiction. Staging our own adaptation of it appealed to us completely as the ideal project to tackle.

Mary Shelley
Adapting Frankenstein also gave us an amazing opportunity to celebrate the life of its author, Mary Shelley. Mary is such a fascinating figure, way ahead of her time in so many ways. Social and cultural revolutionary, literary innovator, feminist icon – these are just some of the descriptions that can be applied to her. Consequently, our production pays tribute to Mary as much as it recounts her famous story; we’ve made her a central character in the play, as it follows her inspiration and creative process in crafting her tale, as she interacts with the characters she has invented.

The Complexity Of The Text
Frankenstein is perhaps one of the most widely read and wildly interpreted novels of all time.  There are almost as many theories as to its meaning as there are literary critics.  This is all thanks to the density of Mary’s original text, and capturing this was something we absolutely wanted to achieve with our adaptation.  Our production doesn’t attempt to impose our own interpretation of the text on the audience – instead, we make reference to some of the key questions and themes it raises, hoping this sends our audiences away with plenty of thoughts of their own about the meaning of the work.

Our Venues
From the moment we first considered producing Frankenstein, we realised how much it would lend itself to historic venues.  Straight away, we started looking for suitable places to take the production, where the natural ambience would give the performance genuine atmosphere.  That’s why we’re super excited to be taking the show into the Castle Keep in Newcastle, Langley Castle in Northumberland, and Crook Hall in Durham, all historic buildings with a wonderful natural atmosphere.  We’re also mixing it up a little by taking the show into more traditional theatre spaces too, at The Exchange in North Shields and Arts Centre Washington.  All of the venues on the tour are very different, and each one has presented unique challenges, but all have inspired us massively and helped shape the production.     

The Challenge
The task of staging an adaptation of a classic novel with an epic storyline and many characters has been a massive challenge for us, especially as we do it with just three actors and minimal set and props.  Including Mary Shelley as a character and incorporating aspects of her life and history presented an additional complication.  But rather than being a hindrance, working within such limitations has been a great help in driving our re-imagining of the story, allowing us to tell it in a different, more inventive way.  We hope this means our audiences will find our production an imaginative, thought-provoking experience.

Timeworks Theatre bring Frankenstein: A Gothic Creation to various North East venues throughout October.

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