A new adaptation of Dracula receives its London premiere in February at the historic London Library – the venue where Bram Stoker spent seven years researching his Gothic masterpiece and creating one of fiction’s most enduring characters.
This atmospheric site-specific production, by Oxford-based Creation Theatre, transports the narrative to the 1950s, set among the emotional and social restrictions of the era.
Bart Lambert and Sophie Greenham star as a young couple reeling from an encounter with the demon Count.
Jonathan Harker struggles with his role as husband and protector, while Mina rails against the limitations placed on her as an intelligent woman.
Directed by Helen Tennison and adapted by playwright Kate Kerrow, this production puts Jonathan and Mina’s relationship at its heart.
Bart Lambert’s theatre credits include Pitmen Painters and Kiss Me Quickstep while Sophie Greenham has appeared for Creation Theatre in Peter Pan, Brave New World, Dracula, The Wind in the Willows, Alice, Cinderella and the Glass Slipper.
For the last 22 years Creation Theatre, Oxford’s largest producing theatre, has gained a growing reputation for innovative theatrical adaptations of famous books, with performances taking place in dramatic and unexpected locations.
Imaginative audio-visual design will convey the sense of dread induced by the unseen vampire presence.
The staging takes place in the Reading Room of The London Library. This will be the first time in its 177 year history that venue is opened up to theatre-goers.
The room is especially significant following the recent discovery that numerous books, still on the library’s shelves, are the original copies that Bram Stoker used to create his masterpiece.
Bram Stoker was a member of the library between 1890 and 1897 – exactly the period he was researching Dracula.
The Library has found 26 books that are almost certainly the original copies that Stoker used to help research his enduring classic.
The books carry detailed markings and marginalia that closely match Stoker’s notebook references and are almost certainly marked up by Stoker himself.
They demonstrate the wide range of his geographical, cultural and historical research – from Sabine Baring-Gould’s Book of Were-Wolves to AF Crosse’s Round about the Carpathians, and Emily Gerard’s Land Beyond The Forest.
Somehow Stoker found time to carry out this extensive research while carrying out his demanding role as theatre manager for The Lyceum Theatre, where he worked closely with the great actor, Henry Irving.
Philip Marshall, director of The London Library, said: “Bram Stoker followed the same path that many writers have pursued before and since – using the library to transition into a serious writing career and drawing heavily on its collection to seek inspiration and ideas for the masterpiece that he created.”
Philip Spedding, The London Library’s development director, who made the discovery, said: “The books we have found show that Bram Stoker drew heavily on The London Library’s collection to help research Dracula.
“It appears beyond doubt that his extraordinary tale of the Transylvanian undead has many of its origins in the quiet confines of St James’s Square.”
Dracula runs at The London Library from February 2 – March 2 (Wednesdays to Saturdays).
Watch the original trailer for its Oxford premiere.