Gothic drama set to thrill GCSE students

A theatre group is bringing to life the story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for GCSE drama students, 200 years after the gothic novel was first published.


Popular amateur dramatic society The Company of Ten are staging an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from 23 February to 3 March at Abbey Theatre in St Albans, with a dedicated performance and post-show talk for schools.


Actor Conor Gray and director of drama Sinead Dunne Credit Nick Clarke
Actor Conor Gray & director Sinead Dunne. Credit Nick Clarke

This classic story of scientific discovery gone wrong features as a recommended ‘Gothic’ or ‘Pre-Nineteenth Century’ text on the majority of GCSE and A Level English specifications.  With its programme of performances, talks and resources, The Company of Ten is aiming to consolidate students’ understanding of the novel and celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of its first publication.


At the conclusion of one special performance, the audience are invited to stay in the auditorium for a chaired Q&A with the director, Sinead Dunne, cast and creative team, to learn about the process of adapting and interpreting the novel for the stage. The panel are also joined by Dr Samantha George, a senior lecturer in gothic literature and women’s writing at the University of Hertfordshire.


Director: "power, horror and emotion" of novel is conveyed in drama


The Company of Ten is grateful to Patrick Sandford, the director/playwright of the stage production of Frankenstein at Southampton's Nuffield Theatre in 2004, for his support and encouragement in helping them to shape the play for the Abbey Theatre.  


Commenting on the production and its appeal to students and teachers, director Sinead says, Patrick's adaptation is taken directly from Mary Shelley's novel and captures the fundamental power, horror and emotion of her brilliant writing.


"It is wonderful to be involved in a production which brings the audience back to Shelley's vision, and I'm thrilled to be able to share our experience of bringing this incredible story to the stage with local schools.” 


To complement the production, The Company of Ten are releasing a teachers’ resource pack and a series of behind-the-scenes videos on the creative process to assist students of Drama and Theatre Studies, who are asked to demonstrate an understanding of design, technical and performance elements as part of their course.