Nov 16–Dec 24
Feb 14–Feb 16

Urbana, IL

Feb 23–Feb 24

Houston, TX

Sarah Fornace as Mary Shelley bw by Drew Dir NEW CROP


Love, loss, and creation merge in unexpected ways as Manual Cinema presents its thrilling version of the classic Gothic tale Frankenstein. The Chicago-based performance collective imaginatively combines shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, sound effects, and live music in haunting shows like nothing else you’ve ever seen.

Manual Cinema stitches together the classic tale of Frankenstein with the biography of the original novel’s author, Mary Shelley, to create an unexpected story about the beauty and horror of creation. The real-life and fictional narratives of Shelley, Victor Frankenstein, and Frankenstein’s monster expose how family, community, and education shape personhood – or destroy it by their absence.

Court Theatre presented the World Premiere of Frankenstein in Chicago, November, 2018. Frankenstein had its New York premiere at The Public Theatre’s Under the Radar Festival in January 2019 and it’s international debut in Scotland at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, 2019.


Run time is 65 minutes.

Recommended for ages 8 and up. There are loud sounds, flashing lights and haze.

We understand that certain types of content can be triggering for some viewers. Please be aware that this production contains a depiction of infant death.

Now Touring

Adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley
Concept by Drew Dir
Devised by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace & Julia Miller
Original Music & Sound Design by Ben Kauffman & Kyle Vegter

Additional Info

Creation and funding credits (below) must be included in all program copy.

The Court Theatre commissioned and presented the premiere of Frankenstein in Chicago in November, 2018, with additional commissioning support provided by at the University of California, Berkeley. Frankenstein was originally developed with The Public Theater’s Devised Theater Initiative in a research residency partnership with the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, with assistance from the Orchard Project Ari Edelson, Artistic Director. The show was the recipient of the 2018 Jim Henson Workshop Grant.

Casting for this touring production changes per performance. Please email Julia Miller at to confirm casting for your production.

Frankenstein is now available with live organ score.

Screen Shot 2021 08 18 at 4 34 09 PM
Sarah Fornace as Victor Horizontal Crop by Drew Dir
Manual Cinemas Frankenstein photo by Michael Brosilow 6
Manual Cinema Frankenstein Deidre Huckabay Zachary Good Lia Kohl courtesy Elly White 06

Commissioning and Support

Court theatre
The Public
Orchard proj
Henson award
Calperformances header color
Uccs logo onecolor

Honors & Awards

Jeff Awards
Under the Radar
Elliot norton award



Adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley

Concept Drew Dir

Devised by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace and Julia Miller

Original Music and Sound Design Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Storyboards Drew Dir

Shadow Puppet Design Drew Dir with Lizi Breit

Projections & Scenic Design Rasean Davonte Johnson

Costume & Wig Design Mieka van der Ploeg

Lighting Design Claire Chrzan

3D Creature Puppet Design Lizi Breit

Prop Design Lara Musard

Production Stage Manager Erin Albrecht

Video Mixing & Live Sound Effects Shelby Sparkle

Sound Engineer Sadi Tremblay and Mike Usrey


Sarah Fornace (Victor, Mary Shelley)

Julia Miller (The Creature, Elizabeth)

Leah Casey (Percy, Vocals)

Sara Sawicki (Alphonse, Lord Byron)

Myra Su (Ensemble)


Peter Ferry (percussion)

Zachary Good (clarinets, aux percussion)

Deidre Huckabay (flutes, aux percussion, piano)

Lia Kohl (cello, aux percussion, vocals)


Stage Manager, Video Mixing and Live Sound Effects Kyle Vegter

Lighting Technician David Goodman-Edberg

Sound Engineer Mike Usrey



Lizi Breit (Ensemble)

Maren Celest (Alphonse Frankenstein, Lord Byron)

Kara Davidson (The Creature, Elizabeth Frankenstein)


Nora Barton (cello, aux percussion, vocals understudy)

Michael Chen (clarinets, aux percussion understudy)

Rachael Dobosz (flutes, aux percussion, piano)

Jason Gresl (clarinets, aux percussion)

Jeff Kimmel (clarinets, aux percussion)

Robin Meiksins (flutes, aux percussion, piano)

Erica Miller (cello, aux percussion, vocals)