Mary Shelley to premiere at West Yorkshire Playhouse

Kristen Atherton as Mary Shelley
Kristen Atherton as Mary Shelley

A NEW play exploring the remarkable life of one of literature’s greatest writers, Mary Shelley, receives its world premiere in Leeds next month.

The play will be staged at the West Yorkshire Playhouse from March 16-April 7 before embarking on a national tour.

Written by award-winning playwright Helen Edmundson, Mary Shelley is a bold exploration of the radical beliefs and relationships that led the author of Frankenstein to write one of the greatest novels in history when she was just 19.

Directed by Shared Experience’s artistic director Polly Teale, this production reunites the acclaimed theatre company with West Yorkshire Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse for the first time since 2009’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

Having lost her mother, feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, at an early age, young Mary finds comfort in reading the family memoir written by her father, the radical philosopher William Godwin.

However, his free-thinking account of her mother’s suicide attempt, extra-marital affair and birth of her illegitimate elder daughter are regarded by society as shocking.

Sharing her father’s controversially liberal outlook, Mary is herself drawn into scandal when she falls in love with Percy Bysshe Shelley, a married poet, and elopes at 16.

Delving into Mary Shelley’s turbulent personal history this striking production sheds light on the life of a bold young woman who came to write a novel so radical in its ideology she changed the literary landscape forever.

Playing Mary Shelley is Kristin Atherton who returns to the Playhouse following her performance as Charlotte in Shared Experience’s critically acclaimed Bronte.

Tickets are on sale now from the box office by calling 0113 2137700 or by visiting www.wyp.org.uk