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HORLA’S HALLOWEEN 2018

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THE night is nigh. 

Here are some events happening that we’ve heard of.

A theatrical treat is promised in Cardiff: a Gothic performance at Insole Court, the extraordinary old mansion in the heart of the Welsh capital, of  ‘Mysterious Maud’s Chambers of Fantastical Truth’.

Caroline Sabin (maker of ‘A Curious Zoo’ and ‘Blood on the Snow’) and a company of players (pictured below) are taking over the atmospheric property for what’s billed as ‘a sophisticated haunted house experience’ featuring a cast of ‘some of the most exciting multi-skilled performers currently working in Wales and beyond’.

Their publicity continues –

‘At the chilling heart of this show is the fantastical truth of the title – that our sensed experience of reality is completely fluid, relative and contextual at best. Observe Maud’s diabolical experiments in perception and shiver as reality slides through your fingers.

Eerie

‘As you wander freely through the eerie corridors, tower and staterooms you will encounter mad scientist Mysterious Maud (Lara Ward), her faithful sidekick Igor (Rowan Talbot), the Psychiatrist (Gerald Tyler), Frankenstein’s Butler (Jon Gower), the Groundskeeper (Kim Noble), her Dog (Hugh Stanier), the ghost of Juliet Capulet (Maddy Smedley) and the fortune telling Aunt (Caroline Sabin). Like a cross between live art and Gothic Horror – it’s going to be a scream…’

Yes, readers, you did see the name of Horla contributor Jon Gower in the account above. We’re reliably informed he’ll be wearing neck bolts. (‘What’s new?’ we hear the wags among you cry.)

The 90-minute show will run from Wednesday October 24 to Wednesday October 31, with performances at 6 pm and 8.30 pm. There’ll be BSL Interpretation by Julie Doyle at both shows on the 30th. We are told the show is suitable for chill-seekers aged 12 and upwards.

More information and tickets fromwww.chapter.org/myster…

Swansea is set to host a complete reading of Mary Shelley’s Gothic classic Frankenstein.

The readathon will take place at the Taliesin centre on Swansea University’s Singleton campus on Halloween.

The event is part of commemorations marking the 200th anniversary of its publication.

First edition
Mary Shelley

The city of Swansea has a tragic historic connection with Mary Shelley that’s perhaps little known.

In 1816 her half-sister Fanny Imlay committed suicide at the Mackworth Arms inn, on the city’s Wind Street (nowadays a hub of the city’s night-life).

Tragic

She was the daughter of British feminist Mary Wolstencraft and American speculator and diplomat Gilbert Imlay.

In a desperately sad end to a short and tempestuous life – dogged by family strife and debt  – she took an overdose of laudanum in her room at the inn, having fled London. She was 22 years old.

Wind Street, Swansea, circa 1860

No image of her is known to exist. Percy Bysshe Shelley memorialised her in the short poem On Fanny Godwin –

Her voice did quiver as we parted,
Yet knew I not that heart was broken
From which it came, and I departed
Heeding not the words then spoken.
Misery—O Misery, 
This world is all too wide for thee

Moans

The Mackworth Arms was replaced by a post office at the end of the nineteenth century. There have been reports of the presence of a young woman, together with moans and scratching, in a successor building.

Halloween: horror discussion

Finally, for now, we give you news of a lunchtime discussion on Horror and The Uncanny at the Taliesin, at Singleton campus, Swansea, beginning at 12.30 on Halloween, with panel members set to include author and lecturer Alan Bilton (left), Horla editor Matthew G. Rees and Sarah Crowther, lecturer and former director of horror film festival Fantastic Films Weekend at the National Media Museum.