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Preview: Dr Frankenstein at Newcastle Northern Stage

Dr Frankenstein
Newcastle Northern Stage
Friday 3rd February - Saturday 11th March 2017

Based on the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Adapted by Selma Dimitrijevic
Directed by Lorne Campbell

Based on one of the greatest novels in the English language, Dr Frankenstein, a brand new adaptation of the Mary Shelley classic, opens at Northern Stage before touring.

Following the story of a visionary young woman born into a world not ready for her, Dr Victoria Frankenstein’s scientific experiments lead her to the very brink of human knowledge in Selma Dimitrijevic’s psychologically disturbing version of Mary Shelley’s novel, directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director, Lorne Campbell.

The play is part of Queens of the North at Northern Stage - a season of great female stories and great female storytellers. Lorne explains, “The novel was written by a woman and I’ve always read it as being about women – most likely influenced by Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, herself a writer and a hugely influential early feminist thinker. It’s about responsibility, but from a female perspective so it seemed fitting that our Dr Frankenstein was a woman.

“Shelley was writing against a backdrop of a Europe tearing itself to pieces, while the industrial revolution, imperial expansion and capitalism were forming the future. The Creature and how he is perceived stands as a metaphor for the ‘fear of the other’ – xenophobia, racism, sexism and the diminishing of those different from ourselves. Ultimately, it’s a drama about responsibility, about the inevitable consequences of action and the personal drama of how we chose to face, or try to avoid those consequences. In world that is facing, or trying to avoid facing, the realities of
financial crisis, globalisation, war in the middle east, the refugee crisis, climate change, Trump, Brexit etc etc this feels very pertinent.”

The production will be designed by Tom Piper MBE. Earlier this year, Piper worked with former Northern Stage Artistic Director Erica Whyman OBE on A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and won critical acclaim for his Poppies: Weeping Window installation with artist Paul Cummins which opened at the Tower of London in 2014 before touring nationally. Piper is joined by lighting designer Lizzie Powell (Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, National Theatre of Scotland) and sound designer Nick John Williams (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Northern Stage).

The cast are Polly Frame (The Odyssey, English Touring Theatre) who will play Dr Victoria Frankenstein, Ed Gaughan (The Birthday Party, Royal Exchange) as the Creature, Scott Turnbull (Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone, Greyscale) as Henry Clerval, Victoria Elliott (Get Carter, Northern Stage) as Elizabeth Frankenstein, Donald McBride (Pitmen Painters, Live Theatre) as Victoria’s father, Libby Davison (The Bill, ITV) as Mary, and Rachel Denning (The Vote, Donmar Warehouse) as Justine Moritz.

The same ensemble are making Hedda Gabler: This is Not a Love Story simultaneously – a challenge Polly Frame playing Dr Frankenstein is relishing. She says, “I’m really looking forward to exploring how two powerful women operate in a world that is not yet ready for them. Mounting these two plays side by side will be a real challenge but so exciting and I’m hoping each will give insight into the other in surprising ways.”

As well as a new adaptation of Hedda Gabler (16 Feb - 8 March) written and directed by Greyscale Artistic Director, Selma Dimitrijevic, the Queens of the North season at Northern Stage also includes Leaving (23 Feb - 4 March) - a new play from Curious Monkey about young people leaving the care system, directed by Amy Golding; four women from across the centuries live, breathe, and play football in Offside (27-29 April) from Futures Theatre Company; Holly Gallagher’s one woman show about Cosplay and growing up on the internet - Before (the Line is Lost) (26 Jan); Present to Past: Reclaiming Work by Women (22 & 25 Feb); and Transit by Zendeh (27-28 January) - Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh’s reflection on relationships and reaching over divides.

For full details or to book tickets online see or call the box office on 0191 230 5151.

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