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…
• 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: