Second city events to celebrate 200 years of Mary Shelley’s gothic classic Frankenstein

Frankenstein news

Mary Shelley’s gothic classic Frankenstein will be celebrated across the second city this month as Birmingham City University launches a series of free events to mark 200 years since the novel was published.

Frankenstein 200 will see a number of art, poetry, music and writing exhibitions, overnight workshops and Halloween film screenings take place in Birmingham, coinciding with the city’s annual Literature Festival.

English Courses

Birmingham City University

Among the events will be a screening of Dudley-born film maker James Whale’s Frankenstein, specialised lectures on gothic literature, the chance to spend Halloween in an immersive overnight Frankenstein inspired writing workshop, a screening of the first ever Frankenstein film accompanied by a live score, and the opportunity to view original creations from Birmingham City University’s students.

The celebration is being delivered by Birmingham City University Schools of English, Fashion and Textiles and Visual Communication, its Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Writing West Midlands.

The events will pay tribute to the legacy of the book which has influenced popular culture, gothic cinema tradition, science fiction and given rise to more than 50 movies.

Activities taking place in the city are:

  • Making Monsters: An Exhibition of Work inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Library of Birmingham; Monday 8 October – Saturday 3 November
  • Film Screening: James Whale’s Frankenstein, Birmingham and Midlands Institute; 7.30pm; Wednesday 31 October
  • Frankenstein 200; Royal Birmingham Conservatoire; 7.30pm – 9pm; Wednesday 31 October
  • Play reading: the first play of Frankenstein; BMI; 2pm-4pm; Wednesday 31 October
  • Writing Frankenstein; The Coffin Works, Overnight Wednesday 31 October
  • Gothic Stories: Frankenstein and beyond (Birmingham Literature Festival); Birmingham & Midland Institute; 6pm – 7pm; Thursday 11 October

Dr Sarah Wood, Head of Birmingham City University’s School of English, said: “Frankenstein’s engagement with questions about human responsibility, our relationship with science and technology and that most fundamental of questions, what it means to be human, have gripped our cultural imagination for the last two hundred years."

First published in 1818, Frankenstein has become a mainstay of popular culture with performance roles being taken up by major actors including Robert De Niro, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gene Wilder, James McAvoy and Helena Bonham Carter.

Shelley’s iconic tale tells the story of Victor Frankenstein whose desire to create new life, and ultimate rejection of his creation, leads to a series of thrilling events told from the perspective of both Victor and his creature. 

The story explores themes of life and death, isolation, parenthood and morality, many of which are linked to Shelley’s own life experiences. 

The Frankenstein 200 events coincide with Birmingham City University’s own birthday celebrations, as the institution marks 175 years since its foundation as the Birmingham Government School of Design.

Click here for more information and to book tickets to Frankenstein 200.

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