What’s On


SUNDAY 27 JANUARY 10am-5pm

Appointments essential: call Stephen Mitchell on 0412 489 236 to make a time

Scroll to the bottom of the page for audition pieces


It’s 1832 and ‘bodysnatching’ is the new black

A black comedy set in Regency London, where our cross-dressing heroine negotiates a venal world of Bodysnatchers, villainous Surgeons, dishonest Undertakers, drunk Prostitutes and the occasional Solemn Angel and Foul Demon. Accompanied by the raucous songs of street balladeer Penny Dreadful, Frankenstein’s Children dives into bizarre gothic history with blood-curdling horror and lashings of gallows humour.


Story Synopsis

England 1832. The Industrial Revolution is at its peak. London’s population swells on an influx of poor people looking for factory jobs. Crime flourishes. Science and superstition walk hand in hand. Experimental surgical medicine creates a whole new economy for the desperate and opportunistic….a thriving black market in human remains robbed from freshly dug graves.

Young and well-to-do, Anne Sheridan is buzzing with the enthusiasm of scientific enquiry. Rebelling against her mother’s ambitions to marry her off, she disguises herself as a man, James Selfridge, and enrols at London’s School of Anatomy. There, James’ scientific ideals are corrupted by an elite order that traffics in human bodies with no moral qualms. Caught up in the commerce of flesh between the surgeons and street folk, s/he falls in love with prostitute Polly Chapman who has enterprisingly sold her body to science many times over. As 19th century science marches on with the successful passing of the ‘Anatomy Act’, can James save Polly from the mercenary surgeons under the leadership of the arrogant Sir Astley Cooper?


Director – Stephen Mitchell

After studying Community Theatre at the University of Tasmania in the 1980s, Stephen worked as an actor in Hobart and Adelaide, as well as in numerous backstage roles including stage manager, lighting designer/operator/rigger. As a scriptwriter, he has had plays staged in Melbourne and Sydney and a radio drama produced by ABC Radio National. In 2001, he won an AWGIE for his SBS teleplay ‘Wee Jimmy’. After a 20 year hiatus he returned to acting in 2010. In 2012 he directed and performed in ‘The Local Stigmatic’ for Castlemaine Theatre Company, and appeared in the 2016 production of ‘The Ghost Train’ and 2018’s ‘As You Like It’.


Writer – David Carlin

Associate Professor David Carlin has a long and decorated career as a writer and creative artist and is currently co-director of the nonfictionLab research group at RMIT. Frankenstein’s Children was his first play, written in 1990 as a founding member of Adelaide’s dynamic Red Shed Company and performed in that year’s Adelaide Arts Festival. Since then, David has written many more plays, films and books. He served as Associate and Show Director of Circus Oz for a number of years, as well as Artistic Director of Red Shed Company, Arena Theatre Company and Melbourne Worker’s Theatre. He was also founding partner, producer and director with Cracker Night Films.


Characters (M = man W = woman Y = younger O = older)

PENNY DREADFUL: Street-wise balladeer and champion of the poor. Courageous, independent & loud. (W, Y/O)

ANNE SHERIDAN / JAMES SELFRIDGE: A young, wealthy idealist and aspiring surgeon. Clumsy, energetic and guileless. (W, Y)

SIR ASTLEY COOPER: Senior surgeon at London’s School of Anatomy. Arrogant and aloof, but not entirely heartless. (M, O)

BRANSBY COOPER: Surgeon, political aspirant and son of Sir Astley. Ambitious, perceptive & ideological. (M, Y)

ELISABETH HARE: A poor woman and guilt-ridden grave-robber. Resourceful, honest & caring. (W, O)

WILLIAM HARE: Elisabeth’s entrepreneurial son. Greedy & opportunistic. (M, Y)

POLLY CHAPMAN: A dying, alcoholic prostitute and expert exploiter of surgeons. Sharp, world-weary & self-aware. (W, Y)

LADY PORTER: A wealthy woman. Complacent but repressed & frustrated. (W, Y/O)

MRS. SHERIDAN: Mother of Anne/James. Timid, judgemental. (W, O)

HARE: Husband of Elisabeth. Dead. (M, O)

ANGEL: A visiting entity from above. Sanctimonious. (M/W, Y/O)

DEMON: A visiting entity from below. Unforgiving. (M/W, Y/O)

WEASEL: A dishonest undertaker. Unctuous. (M/W, Y/O)

SEXTON: A venal employee of the Church. Duplicitous. (M/W, Y/O)

MARTHA & JANE: Suspicious graveyard mourners. (M/W, Y/O)

EDWINA PLACE: Bombastic chairwoman of Methodist Progress Society. (W, Y/O)

IMPORTER OF BODIES: An auctioneer of dead human flesh. A real salesman. (M/W, Y/O)

GUTHRIE, KNOX & SPARKS: Nitwit surgeons. (M, Y/O)

MIDWIVES: Superstitious death attendants. (M/W, Y/O)

Audition Prep

Here are some speeches and dialogue from the script, you can learn some for the audition if you like, or just familiarise yourself with them Frankenstein’s Children Audition Pieces

NB If you are auditioning for Penny Dreadful, you will need to prepare a song. Make it something that you can sing acapella, or bring a backing track with you, and a means of playing it, as we don’t have the capacity to provide accompaniment.