Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Robert Louis Stevenson is remembered as a master of suspense, creating twisted tales with dark atmospheres of mystery and horror. Stevenson’s gothic novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has remained so influential and deeply rooted in the public’s imagination that there is perhaps no greater symbol of a person split between the forces of good and evil.

Stevenson wrote the novel after a ‘strange condition of collapse’, in which he claimed he wasn’t his own man even afterwards. British Library curator Greg Buzwell says "Jekyll and Hyde explores the theme of the human mind and body changing and developing, mutating, corrupting and decaying, and all do so in response to the evolutionary, social and medical theories that were emerging at the time".

Since its early beginnings, gothic fiction has been allowing writers to explore contemporary fears, now we’re asking you to do the same. Think about the things people fear today — the rise of technology, the use of social media, terrorism, surveillance and privacy, climate change. We could keep going, but we'll leave that up to you. 


We want your terrifying tales!
We want you to write a 500-word tale of terror using the following quotation from the play's script as inspiration:

 “It might be possible, of course, that far from being one, we may possess two selves.”

Following in the gothic tradition, think about the fears we have today and how they could be expressed in a dark but fun and emotional tale.  Your tale should grip the reader in the way that gothic novels of the late 19th century captured the imaginations of their Victorian readers.  There should be an intellectual thread running through the story.

 

Elements of gothic fiction you could consider include

  • Melodrama and sensationalism
  • An element of the supernatural
  • Intense or heightened emotion
  • Significant focus on setting

Awards
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is touring theatres across the UK from February - May 2018. Everybody that takes part in this project will receive a £10 ticket offer on up to two tickets to see Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at their nearest theatre. View the full tour schedule here

At each city or town, Theatre Cloud and our network of theatres will select two tales to send to the cast of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. An actor will then choose their favourite tale and perform a filmed reading at the theatre. Each reading will be available to watch online and makes it onto the shortlist.

In the final week of the tour, the Tell A Tale judges will review the shortlisted tales and decide which one comes top and receives an award of £300.  Other awards include Jekyll and Hyde posters signed by Phil Daniels and family tickets to Dracula in Autumn 2018. 

Judges
Greg Buzwell, Curator of Contemporary Literary Archives at the British Library. Co-curator of Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Dr Monica Germana, Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Westminster. Teaches Writing London, a module which introduces the fundamental principles of short-story writing, such as setting, character, plot and structure. Research focuses on contemporary fiction, the Gothic and popular culture.
Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes, Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Film at Manchester Metropolitan University, founding member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Met. Co-organising 14th International Gothic Association conference in 2018.

Get Involved

Watch the shortlisted stories 

Register to TheatreCloud.com and add your submission

Deadline: Saturday 21 April 2018

Rules

1. Entry to this project is free and open to persons of all ages who reside in the UK.

2. Your story must be your own original work and must be unpublished at the time of entry. We accept no responsibility should entrants ignore these Terms & Conditions. Short stories should be fictional and must be no longer than 500 words in length.

3. Submit your story by registering to theatecloud and uploading your work via the online form. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept submissions by other methods. All submissions will be published here on the project page.

4. Submissions will be judged on how closely they fit the gothic tradition and the inspirational quotation.

5. Entrants retain all rights to their entries but by submitting a story to the project, grant and acknowledge our right to publish the story as required in promoting the project and in the fulfilment of prizes.

6. Due to the large number of entrants, we are unable to respond individually to all submissions

7. We expect to receive large numbers of submissions on the day of deadline so advise people to try to submit before this date.

8. Entry opens on Tuesday 31 October 2017 and closes on Saturday 21 April. Submissions received after this deadline will not be accepted.

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Submissions

A Dance With Death
By Rheanna Egleton

After dancing the night away with death, I yawned as I looked out of my window onto the overcast grounds of Yuline Castle. From my room on the third floor I could see the expanse of land stretched out…

Consumed
By Samantha K Collinson

With razor-sharp claws, he scaled the wall towards her. The light bulb above her head shattered, as he positioned himself over her. He then reached down inside her head. She screamed as he oozed through…

Cut Back to the Wire
By Margaret Bulleyment

'Wine?' 'Thanks. You're so kind. I was just expecting to take a photo from outside.' 'It's not every day I can entertain a lady returning to her grandparents' house.'…

Mov by Lynn Gale
By Lynn Gale

Mov The mirrored dance floor was now cracked and tarnished, while the ornate winding staircase had collapsed. The nearby forest had crept in to reclaim its land with creepers and ivy covering every space.…

Beyond Breathing
By Amelia Powell

As the last of the others filed out of the dankly rust ridden, yet sterile laboratory, the lonely doctor took her station inside on a wicker chair. One of the higher-ups had obviously thought it would…

His Awkward Counterpart
By James Tucker

If actor in play reading: “I didn’t want to be an actor. I don’t want to read solo… Otherwise: “You’re probably wondering why I’m doing this. I don’t want…

Expiry of the Spittle Spawn
By Susan Wickham

As you push open the front door, for there is no need for a key, an evil feeling smacks you. The scraping of mice and rats scurrying in the rafters is unnerving as a cruel, cold smell wafts like gravestones.…

Mov by Lynn Gale
By Lynn Gale

Mov The mirrored dance floor was now cracked and tarnished, while the ornate winding staircase had collapsed. The nearby forest had crept in to reclaim its land with creepers and ivy covering every space.…

The Battling Horde Within
By Samantha K Collinson

I tasted it. It was as sumptuous as I thought it would be. He does not agree. He never does. He’s too perfect, too proper. Not like me at all. It’s a shame for him. If he could just feel the…

Sign Off
By Vicky Kaderbhai

As the shock on Chloe’s face changed to horror, Sophie felt her own emotions awaken. She was brought out of her trance like state by the sight of her best friend clutching her hands to her mouth…

Her other self
By Nat Le Brun

Every time she saw her reflection, a part of it, of her had changed. No longer did she see the blue eyed, blonde haired beauty who had graced the covers of magazines, the woman whose hand had been the…

Sign Off
By Vicky Kaderbhai

As the shock on Chloe’s face changed to horror, Sophie felt her own emotions awaken. She was brought out of her trance like state by the sight of her best friend clutching her hands to her mouth…

The Release
By Chris Clement-Green

The Release The headlights picked out the sign to Middle Piddle, but the car’s turn was far slower than road conditions warranted as the malevolence, a miasma of threat, began to engulf the small…

His secret
By Lance Cabling

His skin grew pale. He walked towards te dreaded building shaking his face nigid with tension. As another minute passed, the young boy took another quick glance at the luminous clock. Dark skies filled…

The Possessed
By JAMAL ATTA

The ‘possessed’. A world full of enslaved people being ruled by supernatural creatures. Awake in the morning. Awake in the night. When you hear their whistle you witness them unify together…

THE DEMON WITHIN
By robert harris

  THE DEMON WITHIN The grandfather clock gave out a reassuringly steady, relaxing sound as it ticked the seconds away in Benson’s study. We both sat in front of a large fire, comfortable in…

Toluwani Babatunde
By Toluwani Babatunde

The Two Halves It began as a whispering in the air. The day had been beautiful and the sky had been like a dome of plasma blue. The clouds reminded me of floating cotton balls under the skies aflame with…

Security
By Niraj Bhosale

She smiled another generic, dazzling smile and snapped another selfie. That was the tenth replica she had taken today, but only one of these artificial photos would be good enough for her Instagram page.…

Childhood Punishment
By Dominika Petrasova

Stygian darkness cloaks my sight and the only thing that I can hear is the uncontrollable, ear-piercing ringing in my ear like an echo of a door bell. Out of nowhere a sudden intense beam of light forces…

The Big Red Button
By Andres Martinez

The two men sat in a large empty room with blank walls and a grey carpet. There were no windows so the only source of murky light came from the nervously blinking fluorescent lights. They sat at an old…