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Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre Is Turning Gothic Horror Masterpiece 'Nosferatu' Into a Stage Drama

More than a century since the silent film hit the screen, this new stage version sets the horror story in a Tasmanian mining town.
By Sarah Ward
January 11, 2023
By Sarah Ward
January 11, 2023

Ever since 1922, every movie that's been made about vampires owes a debt to Nosferatu. On the Malthouse Theatre stage in 2023, so does Australia's latest world-premiere theatre production. The Melbourne theatre company is taking inspiration from the cinematic masterpiece in a new drama that shares its name — but, giving the tale an Aussie twist, it's setting its horror story in a Tasmanian mining town.

Hailing from writer Keziah Warner, and starring Jacob Collins Levy (The White Princess), this take on Nosferatu heads to a locale that residents are keen to restore, hoping that its glory days can return. To achieve that feat, they embrace a mysterious investor. If you've seen the film, however, you'll now that its central figure always has quite the taste for blood — no matter the other narrative details around him.

People disappearing, questions no one wants to ask, getting more than one bargains for: that's how Malthouse's Nosferatu goes from there, as theatre attendees can see during its debut season from Friday, February 10–Sunday, February 16. And yes, Nosferatu has always owed its own debt, too, given that the OG version has quite the similarities to Bram Stoker's Dracula.

There's a long story behind that connection between the 1922 film and Stoker's iconic novel, but it all comes down to making an unauthorised adaptation of a popular book. Dracula has inspired a wealth of movies, TV shows and stage productions itself, of course — and Nosferatu has been remade, turned into an opera and more before Malthouse's new production.

(Also in the works for cinemas: a new big-screen version by The Northman filmmaker Robert Eggers, reportedly starring Barbarian and IT's Bill Skarsgård.)

Malthouse's date with the influential story marks its latest page-to-stage show, after adapting classic Aussie book Looking for Alibrandi in 2022.

At present, anyone wanting to see the end result for Nosferatu will need to rush to the Melbourne season — but cross your stake-holding fingers that audiences elsewhere in the country will get to sink their fangs into the production in the future.

Check out a trailer for Malthouse's Nosferatu below:

Nosferatu's world-premiere season runs from Friday, February 10–Sunday, February 16 at the Merlyn Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank, Melbourne. Head to the Malthouse Theatre website for tickets and further details.

Top image: Kristian Gehradte.

Published on January 11, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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