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Frankenstein Revived Digital Study Guide.



Frankenstein Revived


Frankenstein Revived
Written by Morris Panych
Based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Directed by Morris Panych 
Movement Choreographed by Wendy Gorling
Dance Choreographed by Stephen Cota

House Program for Frankenstein Revived

Grade Recommendation 7+

Content Advisory

Please see the show page for a detailed audience advisory.


Mary Shelley was just 18 years old when she wrote Frankenstein, the novel that launched the horror genre and gifted the world one of its most memorable monsters: the nameless, all-too-human beast constructed from corpses in Doctor Frankenstein's laboratory. More than 200 years after its publication, Frankenstein remains the most celebrated horror story in world literature. At last count, the novel had been adapted into at least 80 film versions, an opera, almost a dozen graphic novel and comic adaptations, and several stage productions. Now Shelley's creation is given a unique new form in Frankenstein Revived, an exuberant and passion-filled theatrical movement-based piece by Morris Panych. 

Shelley's novel argues that idealism and the quest for knowledge are just as likely drive us to create a monster as to gift the world a new invention. Her Victor Frankenstein is a brilliant young man with all the emerging powers of science at his command. He has also never fully recovered from his beloved mother's early death, an event that makes him acutely sensitive to the poverty, disease and death he sees on the streets and at the hospital. Who in his place wouldn't try to relieve humanity's suffering by conquering death itself? But Victor's medical experiments take him so beyond the boundaries of natural law that his discoveries destroy everyone he loves.  

Panych's take on the classic tale places Mary Shelley in the centre of her own creation, as the young author struggles, like the novel's eponymous doctor, to bring her fragile work to life. Shelley wrote the novel-her first-at Lake Geneva in 1816, where she was staying with her husband, the celebrated Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his illustrious friends, including fellow poet, Lord Byron. The rainy weather often forced the friends indoors, prompting Lord Byron to suggest that they all try their hand at a ghost story. The rest is literary history.

Frankenstein Revived dramatizes, in movement, dance, music and song, the themes at the heart of Shelley's work. Will humanity's drive for mastery over nature drive us to destruction? Are there secrets we weren't meant to know? And what does it mean to be truly human? Mary Shelley delivered her answers that rainy summer in 1816. We've been pondering them ever since.

Curriculum Connections

  • Global Competencies:
    • Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Metacognition
  • Grade 7-8
    • The Arts (Music, Drama, Dance, Visual Arts)
    • Language
  • Grade 9-12
    • The Arts (Music, Drama, Dance, Visual Arts)
    • English
  • Grades 11-12
    • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Alienation
  • Ambition and Drive
  • Appearances and Authenticity
  • Compassion
  • Creation
  • Family and Belonging
  • Fear
  • Horror
  • Human Nature
  • Injustice
  • Isolation and Secrecy
  • Knowledge and Discovery
  • Life and Death
  • Movement
  • Monsters and Monstrosity
  • Nature
  • Power and Responsibility
  • Revenge
  • Science




  • What do you already know about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? Have you read the book or seen any other film or stage adaptations before?
  • Does it surprise you to know that Mary Shelley wrote this novel when she was only 18 years old? Why or why not?
  • Do you like scary movies? What do you think draws individuals into stories with elements of horror and fear?
  • What does it mean to be human? What characteristics or attributes define humanity?
  • What does it mean to be "a monster"? What makes actions monstrous? Who gets to decide whether something or someone is monstrous?
  • "Most of the world's horrors are self-inflicted." Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?
  • Is revenge ever justified? Explain your position.
  • Is ambition a commendable quality? Why or why not?
  • Knowing what you already do about the story of Frankenstein, describe what kinds of music or movement you expect will be included in this play.


  • Who is responsible for the deaths in the play? Explain your thinking.
  • What does it mean to "play God"? Has thinking about this changed with developments in science and medical intervention? Why or why not?
  • What is the relationship between responsibility and creation? How does this apply to human and other caring relationships?
  • How did the elements of movement and dance enhance your understanding of the piece?
  • Which character/s did you feel most for in the play? Why?
  • What is a vignette? How were vignettes used in this piece and what was their effect on the story and portrayal of main themes?
  • Think about the music used throughout this piece. How did the music and movement work in conjunction with one another? What was the effect of the music on you as an audience member?
  • What did you notice about the choreography of dance and movement when several performers were on stage together? What did you notice about the use of the space on stage during the movement and dance sections?
  • Are there any unintentional harms that might be caused through the production of this play? If so, what are they and what might be done to take care of the artists and audience members participating in the work?


Objective: Students will explore the themes of the piece through movement, dance and music. Students will be invited to connect the themes of the play to current social justice and environmental issues.

Materials: music/speaker system, ribbons of fabric, fiscal arts materials, access to this devising workshop video from the National Theatre, access to copies of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein


  • Explain to students that they will have the opportunity to explore music and movement as a form of storytelling just like in Frankenstein Revived. In groups of two, they will work together to devise a movement piece to explore important themes and topics. If time permits, facilitate a movement warm-up as a full class, including stretching and movement activities.
  • Move students into pairs.
  • Invite students, in these groups, to make a list of the key themes explored in Frankenstein Revived.
  • Have each group share their ideas with the whole class.
  • Ask each group to choose one theme to focus on. (It is okay if multiple groups choose the same theme.) Students will need to connect their chosen theme to a social justice or environmental issue. Share the following examples with students.
    • Responsibility and Climate Change
    • Injustice and Racism
    • Fear and Cyberbullying
  • Invite each group to circle any images used in their character's text using the following legend:
    • In green, circle the images with positive connotations.
    • In red, circle the images with negative connotations.
    • Note the commonalities between the images that the character chooses to use.
  • Once groups of their chosen themes and issues, they need to devise a statement that connects their theme and issue. Share the following examples with students:
    • Responsibility and Climate Change: As climate change is a problem created by human beings, we must be the ones to fix it.
    • Injustice and Racism: Because racism is learned, it can also be unlearned.
    • Fear and Cyberbullying: In order to combat the fear instilled by cyberbullying, we most collectively stand up to bullying..
  • Then, invite students to look through Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and find 3-5 test excerpts that connect to their chosen statement..
  • Ensure that groups have access to a music player/speaker as well as on any other materials they may need, including ribbons or fabric if they feel that this would add to their concept.
  • Before they begin creating their piece, invite student to watch the devising workshop video from the National Theatre.
  • Ask them to follow the process for devised movement shared in the video for their own devising processes. Ask student to aim for:
    • 16-20 movements
    • Inclusion of their 3-5 text excerpts
  • Provide time for pairs to share and receive feedback from other pairs as part of their process.
  • Have students share their pieces to the whole class. After each presentation, facilitate a large group discussion with the following questions in which the presenting pair can share a bit more about their intentions/chosen statement:
    • Which images or movements stood out for you the most?
    • What did the music choice bring up for you?
    • What questions do you have for the group? What do you want to know more about?

Possible Extensions:

  • Curate a Playlist: Have students create a playlist of songs inspired by Frankenstein Revived. When playlist are complete, have students share with one another. If time permits, students may choose to create movement pieces based on one another's Frankenstein Revived inspired playlists.
  • Character Monologues: Invite students to create a monologue for the character of their choice, and then perform it for the class. Invite students to consider the following: When would the character perform this monologue? What happened just before this speech? What is the character trying to express? What happens next?

Debriefing Questions:

  • What is your opinion of movement as a tool to communicate big ideas and themes?
  • What is the relationship between movement and music? How did it feel to choreograph you own movement piece to music?
  • What were some challenges you encountered during this exercise and how did you overcome them?
  • What di you think of the devising process? What did you learn about yourself during it?




Canadian playwright Morris Panych, who wrote Frankenstein Revived, also wrote and directed Stratford's 2008 production of Moby Dick. What do you think might be unique about the playwriting process when writing a movement piece rather than a text-based play? What do you imagine Morris Panych finds compelling about adapting classic novels in this way?


Marcus Nance and Shaun Smyth in Moby Dick, 2008.

Marcus Nance (left) as QueeQueg and Shaun Smyth (right) as Ishmael in Moby Dick, 2008. Adapted and directed by Morris Panych. Set design by Ken MacDonald. Costume Design by Dana Osborne. Lighting design by Alan Brodie. Sound Design by Wade Staples. Photograph by David Hou. Stratford Festival Archives.


The Stratford Festival's Archives maintains, conserves and protects records about the Festival and makes those materials available to people around the world. Their collection contains material ranging from 1952 right up to the present and includes administrative documents, production records, photographs, design artwork, scores, audio-visual recordings, promotional materials, costumes, props, set decorations and much more. These materials are collected and preserved with the aim of documenting the history of the Festival, preserving the page-to-stage process, and capturing the creative processes involved in numerous other activities that contribute to the Festival each season.



TrailerFrankenstein Revived
House Program - Frankenstein Revived
Study Guide PDF - Frankenstein Revived

Study Guides

View past Study Guides and Study Guides for all 2023 plays, available free of charge on our website.


Devised theatre: ten tips for a truly creative collaboration (John Walton, The Guardian)

Everything you need to know to read "Frankenstein" (Iseult Gillespie, TED-Ed)

Movement Direction: Creating Character (National Theatre)

RashDash: Devising Masterclass (National Theatre)

The Strange and Twisted Life of "Frankenstein" (Jill Lepore, The New Yorker)

Stratford Public Library Suggested Reading List for Frankenstein Revived

 Booking Information: Tickets, Workshops, Chats and Tours

Student Matinées

You may book any available date, but selected student matinée performances for this show are at 2:00 p.m. on the following dates:

2:00 p.m.

  • Friday, September 8th
  • Thursday, September 14th
  • Tuesday, September 19th
  • Tuesday, September 26th
  • Friday, September 29th
  • Wednesday, October 4th
  • Tuesday, October 10th
  • Friday, October 20th
  • Thursday, October 26th 

Workshop & Chats

Pre or Post-Show Workshops and Post-Show Chats (virtual, onsite or at your school/centre) can be booked by calling the Box Office at 1.800.567.1600.








Tools for Teachers include Prologues, Study Guides and Stratford Shorts.       


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