Hampshire’s Blue Apple Theatre takes Frankenstein to Rome for Keats-Shelley 200 bicentenary celebrations

Hampshire’s Blue Apple Theatre takes Frankenstein to Rome for Keats-Shelley 200 bicentenary celebrations

The #Keats-Shelley 200 campaign marks the 200th anniversary of the deaths of the Romantic poets, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and focuses on the final years of the lives of both poets with events both in the UK and in Italy.  Events celebrate the poets’ extraordinary legacies as well as looking to the future. Hampshire theatre company Blue Apple Theatre will be staging Frankenstein in Rome as part of the festivities. Blue Apple Theatre stage ambitious productions for actors with learning disabilities. They will present their interpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the St Stephen’s School Lyceum in Rome on 15 and 16 October.  

Blue Apple’s artistic director Richard Conlon said:”The story of The Creature dragged back from the afterlife, only to be abandoned by his creator, speaks about the big themes of isolation and exclusion, a central character who is treated as less-than human, made to be monstrous when he is arguably a victim. Written in 1816, this story still has a lot to tell us.”

After first being presented in the UK in 2021 with a hybrid live/recorded production, combining a small stage cast and externally filmed footage to address the restraints of the Covid pandemic, Frankenstein is being brought back to life in Rome for the Keats-Shelley 200 campaign.

A cast of six on stage – and many others recorded – show this tale from a very particular angle; this is the ultimate ‘outsider’ narrative told by a cast made up of people who are still all too often kept ‘outside’ of society. Blue Apple’s adaptation puts its faith in the genius of Mary Shelley and goes right back to the source for this timely version.

Debbie Hodges from the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, said: “The Keats-Shelley Memorial Association and we are proud to offer our support to this remarkable organisation which offers opportunities and life skills to young people with a range of learning disabilities.  The first performances of this adaption of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece were held at the Theatre Royal Winchester in the summer of 2021, at a time when the pandemic had caused endless disruption to the performing arts.  However, Frankenstein not only came through triumphantly, but was an outstanding example of professionalism and commitment. We hope that there will be further opportunities to work together.”

Keats-Shelley 200 Ambassadors Sir Bob Geldof, Rosie Cavaliero, Simon Armitage, Reeta Chakrabarti and Julian Sands have sent good luck messages to Blue Apple ahead of the performances of Frankenstein in Rome.

Reeta Chakrabarti said “I know that you will do it justice…look forward to seeing you in Rome.”

Blue Apple supports people with learning disabilities to develop creativity and improve their social skills and confidence, teaching drama, dance, singing in locations across Hampshire, UK and offering a range of theatrical opportunities for participants.  Their major projects are bespoke creations built around a wide range of skills and needs within their large cast. With more than 30 productions over 17 years, Blue Apple Theatre has become a well-known disability arts organisation, presenting high quality productions, performing and touring drama, dance, film and song within indoor and outdoor venues locally, nationally – including at the prestigious Globe Theatre in London – and even internationally with partners in the US, Czech Republic, Poland and Italy. Through their work, Blue Apple aim to challenge common perceptions and inform wider public debate.

For more information, visit: blueappletheatre.com


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