New production, rooted in Aberdeenshire, celebrates Bram Stokers connections to Scotland and the North East.
National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen Performing Arts in association with Belgrade Theatre, Coventry present
DRACULA: MINA’S RECKONING
A thrilling new adaptation of Dracula by acclaimed Scottish playwright Morna Pearson, directed by Sally Cookson, is to be brought to stages across Scotland and England by the National Theatre of Scotland in a co-production with Aberdeen Performing Arts in association with Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula was first published in 1897 and has since been adapted in to numerous films and plays. Stoker himself wrote the first theatrical adaptation, which was presented at London’s Lyceum Theatre on 18 May 1897 under the title Dracula, or The Undead. For years Dracula has been associated with Whitby and Transylvania, but recent research suggests that Aberdeenshire played a significant part in shaping the novel, and in particular Slains Castle which features an octagonal room like the one described by Stoker in Dracula’s Castle.
Sally Cookson’s sweeping, atmospheric production of Morna Pearson’s bold new adaptation is relocated to Aberdeenshire and the wild beauty of North-East Scotland, acknowledging the area’s recently reported inspiration for Bram Stoker’s classic novel. To mark this, Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning opens at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen in September 2023 before touring to Glasgow, Stirling, Inverness, Dundee, Edinburgh, Coventry and Liverpool.
Set in a psychiatric hospital in Aberdeenshire in 1897, this unique Scottish adaptation places the character of Mina Murray at the centre of the action. Mina seeks refuge at the hospital to escape the horrors she has experienced, retelling her encounters with the most terrifying of beasts: Dracula. Mina is joined by the patients, an all-women and non-binary ensemble, and together they tell a unique version of Bram Stoker’s legendary tale. We are transported to a world where immortality and ultimate power is possible, even for women - but with terrible consequences.
Dracula is dripping with Morna Pearson’s trademark humour, theatricality, and her taste for the strange, the shocking and the grotesque. The production celebrates the novel’s gothic horror origins while, in a radical twist, it allows audiences to view the story through the eyes of Mina and the patients. Elements of the piece will be devised by the company.
Writer Morna Pearson said:
“I was excited to adapt Dracula and place it in the familiar setting of the North-East, the place where my writing feels at home. I wanted to examine themes of our times–fear, trauma, and powerlessness – in ways the horror genre lends itself to.
With Stoker drawing influence from Cruden Bay, it felt appropriate to relocate the narrative to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, exploring the area and characters I find most inspirational. There is room for more horror and stories from the North-East in theatre, so I am thrilled that my first large scale production is a bold retelling of Dracula set there.”
Ben Torrie, Director of Programming and Creative Projects at Aberdeen Performing Arts said:
“Given Bram Stoker’s connections to and love of the region, the North-East of Scotland is the perfect setting for this stunning retelling of Dracula, and a collaboration between Aberdeen Performing Arts and the National Theatre of Scotland the perfect way of bringing it to the stage. We’ve been searching for the ideal co-production for some time, and this is definitely the one! We can’t wait to see what this world class creative team does with this classic tale and look forward to sharing the world premiere with audiences in Aberdeen."
DRACULA: MINA’S RECKONING
Conceived by Morna Pearson and Sally Cookson
Written by Morna Pearson after Bram Stoker
Directed by Sally Cookson
Full cast: Natalie Arle-Toyne, Maggie Bain, Ailsa Davidson, Catriona Faint, Danielle Jam, Liz Kettle, Anne Lacey and Ros Watt.
Set and Costume Designer-Kenneth MacLeod, Composer-Benji Bower, Movement Director-Vicki Manderson, Lighting Designer-Aideen Malone, Video Designer-Lewisden Hertog, Casting Directors-Simone Pereira Hind CDG and Anna Dawson. BSL Performance interpreters Catherine King and Yvonne Strain.
Touring from September to October 2023 to
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (previews Sat 2, Tues 5, Wed 6 Sept) Thurs 7–Sat 9 Sept
Theatre Royal, Glasgow Wed 13 – Sat 16 Sept
Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling Thurs 21 – Sat 23 Sept
Eden Court, Inverness Thurs 28 – Sat 30 Sept
Dundee Rep Thurs 5 – Sat 7 Oct
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Wed 11 – Sat 14 Oct
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (18 to 21 October)
Liverpool Playhouse (24 to 28 October).
About The National Theatre of Scotland
The National Theatre of Scotland is dedicated to playing the great stages, arts centres, village halls, schools and site-specific locations of Scotland, the UK and internationally. As well as creating ground-breaking productions and working with the most talented theatre-makers, the National Theatre of Scotland produces significant community engagement projects, innovates digitally, and works constantly to develop new talent. Central to this is finding pioneering ways to reach current and new audiences and to encourage people’s full participation in the Company’s work. With no performance building of its own, the Company works with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. Founded in 2006, the Company, in its short life, has become a globally significant theatrical player, with an extensive repertoire of award-winning work. The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government. www.nationaltheatrescotland.com
About Aberdeen Performing Arts
Aberdeen Performing Arts is a charitable trust founded in 2004. Our vision is to create a vibrant, cultural hub at the heart of city life–inspiring, exploring and engaging through live performance and creative projects. Aberdeen Performing Arts manages three Aberdeen city-centre venues, His Majesty’s Theatre, The Music Hall and the Lemon Tree. We run three festivals a year, and a production company, with over 1,000,000 visits to our venues annually. Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland are key funders of Aberdeen Performing Arts.
About Belgrade Theatre
Belgrade Theatre is Coventry’s largest professional theatre, producing and presenting a diverse range of shows, events and ground-breaking community and education initiatives. In its landmark building, across the region, the UK and online, it uses theatre to entertain, inspire, share the city’s stories, uncover hidden histories, and unleash the creativity of diverse communities.
64 years ago, critic Kenneth Tynan saw the theatre’s completion as the beginning of a new era. ‘Enter most theatres and it’s the gilded, cupidaceous past’, he wrote. ‘Enter this one, and you enter the future.’
The Belgrade is in a period of transition into a new future, led by CEO Laura Elliot and Creative Director Corey Campbell. These leaders have ambitious plans to build on the Theatre’s rich history of pioneering theatre, participation, and talent development, to realise a lasting place of sanctuary for creatives and communities.
Through values of collaboration, evolution and authenticity, their working mission is to use the transformative power of theatre to enrich the lives of the people of Coventry and beyond.
Over the next three years, Laura Elliot and Corey Campbell will lead a people first approach; prioritising co-creation and cultural democracy, aiming to be a leading example of a regional inclusive learning theatre that sits at the heart of its community.
📸 Lead image photo credit: Laurence Winram
📸 Slains Castle photo credit: Richard Frew
🌟 Dracula returns to the North East of Scotland for Dracula: Mina's Reckoning National Theatre of Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Slains Castle 🌟
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