Fringe Q&A: Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein

Love, loss and creation merge in unexpected ways in this thrilling classic gothic tale conceived by Manual Cinema. Stories of Victory Frankenstein, Mary Shelley and her Monster expose how the forces of family, community and education shape personhood, or destroy it by their absence.

Internationally renowned multimedia company Manual Cinema stitches together the classic story of Frankenstein with Mary Shelley’s own biography to create an unexpected story about the beauty and horror of creation.

Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques and innovative sound and live music to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen.

AAA caught up with Sarah Fornace, Performer and Artistic Director of Manual Cinema.

Is this your first time at the Fringe?

This is our third time! However, we are so excited to come back with our newest and biggest show!

Tell us a bit about the show you’re in this year?

Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein is an original movie created live onstage in front of the audience with live musicians, music playing robots, a mad science lab of percussion instruments, 5 puppeteer/actors, 2 cameras, and over 500 handmade puppets. Our show not only adapts Frankenstein but also digs into Mary Shelley’s biography with an all female acting/puppetry cast. Motherhood, loss, and ambition weave through this supernatural tale of abandonment and creation.

How much work wnet into getting it ready for Edinburgh?

So much work! We premiered a version of this show in Chicago and New York this past year. However, we are reworking it into a tight, spectacular, hour-and-change version for Edinburgh. We have been demo-ing new material and combing over tech and redesigning robot lights to get ready to bring Frankenstein to life amidst the madness of the Fringe!

There’s thousands of shows on – why should Fringe-goers fork out to see yours?

The story is incredible. The live music is epic. The acting and puppetry is spectacular. The camera work and cinematic techniques are the most ambitious we have ever attempted. Also: percussion playing robots

Are there any other shows on this year you’d recommend?

Yes! Feed Wolf Ice Cream by Dave Maher (a comedian whose work deals with death and who miraculously woke up from a coma after they almost pulled his life support). Also, Austentatious, and Circa’s new show!

What’s on your hit-list to see?

Anything in Underbelly’s incredible circus programming, anything at Summerhall, 1927’s new show at the International Festival.

What are you planning to do on your days off?

We only have one day off! Usually, I spend it stretching, hiking around Arthur’s Seat, and paying to sit in the outdoor hot tub at One Spa. Also, eating lots of food.

Sell your show in no more than ten words…

Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein is epic, heart-breaking, and utterly unique!

Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein, Underbelly and Manual Cinema, Underbelly Bristo Square (McEwan Hall) from 31st July (not 12th) at 14:45. For tickets go to

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