Dracula by William McNulty

a co-production with Hamilton Operatic Society

Directed by Gaye Poole

29 August - 8 September 2012

Professor Van Helsing and his brave comrades must hunt down and destroy the profoundly evil Count Dracula. But the Count is exceedingly resourceful, employing superhuman strength, psychic powers, and shape-changing to confound and frustrate his antagonists. Culminating in a wild and shocking confrontation between the King of Vampires and those who would rid the world of him, this adaptation is an action-packed, blood-soaked retelling of Bram Stoker's classic tale of horror.

The universality and palatability are the play’s strengths...undeniably entertaining and exhilarating.
— Louisville Eccentric Observer


Trouble is brewing as we begin William McNulty’s 2008 adaptation of Dracula, originally dramatized by John L Balderston and Hamilton Deane (1927) from Bram Stoker's 1897 novel. Professor Abram Van Helsing has arrived at the estate of his old friend, Dr. Seward, who is desperate for help. Seward’s beloved Mina has recently died of a sudden and mysterious illness. Her horrific symptoms have proved baffling to the bereaved doctor: sudden loss of blood; bouts of sleepwalking in the cemetery; and strange puncture wounds on the neck. To make matters worse, Mina’s friend, Lucy, has begun to display the same symptoms! Seward hopes that Van Helsing, a noted expert in exotic medicine, will be able to uncover the cause of Lucy’s illness, and save her before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, Count Dracula, a strange and imposing man from Transylvania, has taken up residence in nearby Carfax Abbey. And Lucy’s fiancé, Jonathan Harker, has mysteriously vanished. A solicitor who helped arrange the sale of the Abbey, Harker travelled to Transylvania a few months ago to finalise business matters with the Count... and never returned home.

At Seward’s estate, Renfield, a mental patient, is becoming more wild and unruly by the day, almost as though he were possessed. Lucy’s symptoms continue to grow worse. And how to account for the sudden onslaught of howls, coming by night from up the hill?

Van Helsing believes the problem they face is a grave one: “My diagnosis is there is no disease! the symptoms are real. But the cause is not internal.” He believes that Mina, and now Lucy, have suffered at the hands of a vampire. To save Lucy’s life, they will have to uncover the identity of the life-sucking demon, and destroy him. But the endeavour is a dangerous one. A vampire is a fearsome enemy, and the risks are greater than death. Should the doctors perish in their pursuit, they too will become vampires, spending an eternity preying upon the bodies and souls of those whom once they dearly loved. Will Seward and Van Helsing find the vampire and save Lucy’s life? Or is the monster about to claim yet another victim?

About this version of Dracula

William McNulty is a Resident Artist at Actors Theatre of Louisville where he has acted and directed since 1976. He has worked at numerous theatres throughout the USA including the Cleveland Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the B Street Theatre in Sacramento, and the Public Theatre in New York City. Having acted in and directed other stage versions of Dracula, he felt a new adaptation might be in order. Encouraged by Marc Masterson (Artistic Director, Actors Theatre of Louisville), McNulty's career as a published playwright began with this adaptation of Dracula. He currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.

Production Team

Artistic Director: Gaye Poole
Production Managers: Brendan Theodore & Jason Wade
Production Assistant: Katey Good
Stage Manager: Damian Brown
Assistant Stage Manager: Alan Jones
Lighting Design: Bea Mossop
Lighting Operator: Melissa Clarke
Sound Design & Operation: Luke Jacobs
Props: Alan Jones
Costume Design: Cherie Cooke
Assistant to Cherie Cooke: Anna Tarr
Dressers: Vicki Buchanan & Gail Scott
Hair & Make-up: Jocelyn Kerr (Design), Delwyn Dellow
Fight Arranging: John Way
Waltz Choreography: Fiona Murdoch
Stage Crew: Rebekah Barea
Front of House Coordination: Shirley Buchanan
Graphic Design: Matthew Quinn
Production Photography: Rickki Turnwald
Videography: Dustin Feneley


Count Dracula: Carl Watkins
Monster: Benny Marama
Abram van Helsing: Nick Wilkinson
Robert Renfield: Will Collin
Dr Thomas Seward: Michael Potts
Lucy Westphal: Rachel Clarke
Jonathan Harker: Jeremy Tomkins
Margaret Sullivan: Mandy Faulkner
Norbert Briggs: Clive Lamdin
Mina Grant: Shannon Turnbull
Ensemble: Annie Chen, Hannah Grant, Conor Maxwell, Mary Rinaldi
Child: Vivi Crossland, Miriama Rowell-Tuhakaraina

Lucy (understudy): Mary Rinaldi
Harker (understudy): Conor Maxwell