18 May: Dracula! Live on Stage!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was first introduced to the world NOT via his canonical novel, but rather in the pages of a seldom-performed – and by all accounts appalling – play-reading at London’s Lyceum Theatre on 18th May, 1897.

The stage version was not intended to reach a mass audience; but was rather a clever wheeze of Stoker’s to ensure he was recognised as the creator of his iconic characters – as the script needed to be rubber-stamped by the Lord Chamberlain’s office prior to performance.

In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca reveal the copyright battle Stoker’s widow nonetheless endured with the makers of ‘Romanian knock-off’ ‘Nosferatu’, consider the benefits of Stoker’s ‘found footage’ approach to authorship, and reveal how an incident in Rhode Island, of all places, may have inspired Stoker to write his play… 

Further Reading:

Some pages from Stoker’s manuscript at the British Library: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/bram-stokers-stage-adaptation-of-dracula#

• Watch ‘Nosferatu’, on Timeless Classic Movies:

• Stoker’s life at the Lyceum in ‘Henry Irving & Bram Stoker: A Working Relationship’ from The Irving Society: