Entertainment

Highly acclaimed production celebrating the life of Mary Shelley visits Crawley

Following a successful Scottish tour in spring 2018, The Occasion Theatre’s The Monster and Mary Shelley comes to The Hawth as part of UK tour.
Described by The Wee Review as “Fascinating and hilarious… a wonderfully engaging show”, The Monster and Mary Shelley is an outlandish trip through the mind of one of literature’s most influential imaginations.
On a sun-less day at their villa in Switzerland, Lord Byron challenges his guests Percy and Mary Shelley to each write a ghost story. Two days later, Mary, 18 years old and having recently watched her premature baby die, has a ‘waking dream’ and begins to write a story that will haunt and define her for the rest of her life.
Incorporating elements of music hall, melodrama, horror and teenage rebellion with a pulsing contemporary cinematic score, The Monster and Mary Shelley is an atmospheric, moving, and darkly comic exploration of fear and the Gothic Girl who electrified the world.
The show is directed by The Occasion Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director Peter Clerke, written by Stewart Ennis and performed by Catherine Gillard.
Peter studied at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris and was a founder member and Co-Artistic Director of benchtours (1991 – 2009), directing or performing in all of their productions. He was also Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Lung Ha’s and spent five years at Edinburgh’s Theatre Workshop. From 2009 – 2015 he was the Artistic Director of Blue Apple Theatre, Winchester, one of Southwest England’s leading learning disability arts organisations.
Peter Clerke, director of The Monster and Mary Shelley, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to re-tour this hugely enjoyable show, both to more venues across Scotland and, with the support from ACE, to break new ground in England.
Never far from controversy, Shelley, throughout her lifetime, was at the forefront of social change in a turbulent world. Her exploration of fear, in the form of Frankenstein’s Monster, spawned a whole genre of fiction and continues to hold a massive relevance in the present day.
We very much look forward to introducing The Monster and Mary Shelley to new audiences across the UK.”
Writer Stewart Ennis was a founding member of benchtours (1991 – 2009) and has worked with many Scottish theatre companies. Originally trained as a performer at East 15 and the Ecole Philipe Gaulier, he was for several years Creative Writing tutor at HMP Shotts. Other plays include, The Dark Room, The Taking of Zena Charbonne, One Straight Line, and Robert Burns Celtic Complex. He has recently begun a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen and Curtin University in Western Australia. Vagabond Voices published his first novel, Blessed Assurance, in September 2019.
Catherine Gillard plays Mary Shelley. Catherine studied at Sydney Acting School and the Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris. She was a founder member and Co-Artistic Director of benchtours (1991 – 2009). Recent projects include Kill Me Now (Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre/Philadelphia Live Arts Festival), Apocalypse, The Taking of Zena Charbonne and YOU ARE HERE! (The Occasion.)
Richard Williams composes. Set and costume design is by Ali MacLaurin, with lighting design by Paul Froy.
Performance: Tuesday 29 October, The Hawth Crawley. Tickets: Available online: www.hawth.co.uk or via The Hawth Box Office: 01293 553636.
The Occasion Theatre is supported by Creative Scotland. The Monster and Mary Shelley tour is funded by Arts Council England and The Golsoncott Foundation.

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