National Theatre of Scotland’s DRACULA: MINA’S RECKONING draws first blood ahead of touring to Glasgow in September

31st Aug 2023

“Protect your loved ains fae the claws o a beast.”

A thrilling new adaptation of Dracula by acclaimed Scottish playwright Morna Pearson, directed by Sally Cookson, is 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.

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: Mina’s Reckoning comes to the Theatre Royal, Glasgow from Wednesday 13 September until Saturday 16 September 2023. 

Bram Stoker’s personal connections with locations in Scotland were celebrated last year, including his relationship to the city of Glasgow. The character of Renfield in Dracula is believed to have been named after the famous Glasgow street. The production runs at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, where Bram Stoker made his debut working for Henry Irving in November 1878. Stoker’s nephew, Dacre Stoker, visited the theatre last year as part of a Scottish tour of key landmarks and locations.

The lead character of Mina is played by Danielle Jam, who recently toured with Kidnapped (National Theatre of Scotland) and James IV: Queen of the Fight, (Raw Material and Capital Theatres, in association with National Theatre of Scotland) and appeared in Wings Around Dundee (Dundee Rep) and is known to TV audiences for her roles in Scot Squad (BBC) and Molly and Mack (CBeebies). She will be joined by Ailsa Davidson (Lucy and Elsie). Ailsa has performed in Heathers the Musical (Bill Kenwright & Paul Taylor-Mills) in London’s West End, Lipsync at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Cumbernauld Theatre), Elegies for Angels Punks and Raging Queens (Union Theatre) and Grease (UK & International Tour).

Liz Kettle takes on the role of Dracula, she was most recently seen on Scottish stages in Macbeth – An Undoing (Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh) and has appeared in numerous roles on TV including Unforgotten IV, The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton, Doctors (BBC), Fracture (20th Century Digital / Disney), Honoria Glossop in Jeeves & Wooster, Inspector Morse, Rosemary & Thyme and Poirot.

They are joined by Natalie Arle-Toyne (Van Helsing and Titchy).  Natalie’s recent theatre work includes Mrs Puntila and Her Man Matti, Arabian Nights, Rhinoceros (CATS Ensemble Award) at the Lyceum Theatre and The Lost Lending Library (Punch Drunk/Imaginate). Maggie Bain (Dr Seward and Georgina) has appeared in roles in theatre, TV, film and radio most recently on stage in Linck & Mülhahn (Hampstead Theatre), We’ll Meet in Moscow (Traverse Theatre), Dream (RSC) and on TV in I Hate Suzie (Sky) and Luther: The Fallen Sun (Netflix).

Catriona Faint (Jonathan and Annie) most recently performed in Enough of Him (National Theatre of Scotland). Anne Lacey (Mr Swails and Bella), who has worked extensively in theatre, film, TV and radio was recently on stage in Medea (National Theatre of Scotland at the Edinburgh International Festival), and Earthquakes In London (National Theatre); and on TV in Shetland (ITV). Ros Watt’s (Renfield and Katherine) previous includes Godot is a Woman (Silent Faces) at the Pleasance, Edinburgh.

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.

The production features atmospheric, Gothic-inspired set and costumes designed by Kenneth MacLeod with video design by Lewis den Hertog, a dark, distinctive score from composer Benji Bower and visceral movement from Vicki Manderson.

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.”

Morna Pearson was born in the North-East of Scotland, in Elgin, and is an award-winning Edinburgh-based playwright and screenwriter. Morna’s work for National Theatre of Scotland includes Darklands written as part of Interference trilogy and Clearing for Scenes for Survival. Other theatre work includes Let’s Inherit the Earth (Dogstar/Profilteatern); How to Disappear (Traverse) and Dr Stirlingshire’s Discovery (Lung Ha/Grid Iron). She was a recipient of the Meyer-Whitworth Award and her first short film, I Was Here, gained BAFTA Scotland and EIFF nominations for Best Short Film.

“One of the freshest, most fearless and taboo-busting voices to be heard anywhere right now” – The Herald on The Artist Man and the Mother Woman.

Sally Cookson is an Olivier award-winning director (A Monster Calls), an associate director at Bristol Old Vic and a collaborator with Travelling Light Theatre Company. Her theatre credits include Wonder Boy (Bristol Old Vic); A Monster Calls (The Old Vic/UK tour); The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Bridge Theatre/UK Tour/Gillian Lynne) and Jane Eyre and Peter Pan (Bristol Old Vic/National Theatre).

“Audaciously inventive” ***** The Guardian on Wonder Boy

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was first published in 1897 and has since been adapted into 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.

Touring from September to October 2023 to His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (previews Saturday 2, Tuesday 5, Wednesday 6 September) Thursday 7 – Saturday 9 September; Theatre Royal, Glasgow Wednesday 13 – Saturday 16 September; 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 Wednesday 11 – Sat 14 October 2023.


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