Dracula: The Blood Count of Heaton
Feelgood Theatre Productions

By Simon Donohue, Manchester Content Curator

Feelgood Theatre’s parading performances in Heaton Park have become a highlight of the summer season and this year there’s even more reason than ever to buy a ticket.

Marking the independent theatre company’s 25th anniversary, this year’s production was chosen as the show that their audiences “most wanted to see back”. Little wonder.

That show is Dracula: The Blood Count of Heaton, Bram Stoker’s bloodcurdling classic updated with references to Manchester and its most famous park, including lots of namechecks for Lord Egerton of Heaton Hall.

For those unfamiliar with the form, Feelgood audiences pack picnic blankets and folding chairs, then follow the production around the park to different locations, each serving as a reminder of how lucky we are to have the largest municipal park in Europe on our doorstep.

The cast first assemble in front of the Farm Café – location of the Box Office – before starting the play proper within the Grade I listed Heaton Hall itself.

Here we discover that the mysterious Transylvanian, Count Vladimir Tepes Dracula (actor and magician Peter Clifford), is planning to buy the hall.

We also meet our two leading female characters, Mina Seward (Sophie Coward) and Lucy Harker (Frederica Davis), and learn of their excitement that the annual gypsy festival has returned to Heaton.

Oh, and that headless corpses keep turning up around Heaton. Believe it or not, something sinister is afoot.

From the hall we move to the gypsy festival, where a colourful troupe mesmerise Mina and Lucy, and we first encounter the count.

As dusk falls, we find ourselves overlooking a forest glade, where demonic forces are circling in search of blood.

Later, we’re back at the hall, where the count has wedding plans. Will he succeed? You’ll need to find out for yourself.

Feelgood producer Caroline Clegg has once again pulled off an amazing feat, presenting a beautifully polished performance from her talented troupe against a stunningly atmospheric backdrop.

The show is recommended for people aged 10 and above. We opted to take our two younger children and they thoroughly enjoyed it.

Take the kids but keep them close, because this show’s bite is as big as its bark and you never know what might happen…

Dracula: The Blood Count of Heaton is on daily until August 11.

Visit https://www.feelgoodtheatre.co.uk/current-show for tickets and further details.