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.

Touring October, 2021

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
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



Adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley

Concept by Drew Dir

Devised by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace and Julia Miller

Original Music and Sound Design by Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Storyboards by Drew Dir

Shadow Puppet Design by Drew Dir with Lizi Breit

Projections & Scenic Design by Rasean Davonte Johnson

Costume & Wig Design by Mieka van der Ploeg

Lighting Design by Claire Chrzan

3D Creature Puppet Design by Lizi Breit

Prop Design by Lara Musard

Production Stage Manager Erin Albrecht

Video Mixing & Live Sound Effects by Shelby Sparkle

Sound Engineered by Sadi Tremblay & 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)


Kara Davidson (The Creature, Elizabeth Frankenstein)

Maren Celest (Alphonse Frankenstein, Lord Byron)

Lizi Breit (Ensemble)

Nora Barton (cello, aux percussion, vocals understudy)

Michael Chen (clarinets, aux percussion understudy)

Rachael Dobosz (flutes, aux percussion, piano)

Jeff Kimmel (clarinets, aux percussion)

Erica Miller (cello, aux percussion, vocals)

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