The latest rendition of the Joslyn Castle Literary Festival is called Shadows at the Castle and focuses on life, works, and times of Bram Stoker. Stoker is best known for his horror masterpiece Dracula, which was first published in 1897. The festival said the story was so significant because it was set “against a backdrop of late-Victorian industry and invention, burgeoning medical and scientific advancement, and volcanic social change. It is a wild story of vampirism, romance, mysterious folklore, dark gothicism and strange science fiction that has captivated the human imagination with unrelenting fervor since its first publication, spawning over 700 films and never going out of print.”

            This led the festival to ask, “What about this dark tale has held our fascination for so long? How was Stoker’s story a window into his own time, and how is it still pertinent today?”

            The festival seeks to explore and maybe answer some of those questions through a combination of drama, lecture, musical performance, film, as well as an exhibit by the Durham Museum at the Castle, and a Halloween night Vampire Ball.

            Among the many festival events include:

            Durham Museum at the Castle: Vampires and Victorians – From now until Nov 1st, rarely-seen from the deep vaults of the Durham Museum and private collections will be on display for the general public. The exhibit features historic artifacts and images relating to Victorian funerary customs, the horror genre, Transylvanian folk art and lore, the changing role of the Victorian woman, and vampirism in pop culture.

            Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker – The one man Dracula adaptation tells the story of Jonathan Harker When he ascends his attic stairs to break the seal on his dusty journal of past experiences, he is swept into the heart of his harrowing tale of supernatural terror!

            The Jewel of Seven Stars – Laura Leininger and crew draw the audience into a story of mystery and horror in readings inspired by Stoker’s 1903 novel about all things Egyptian and occult. Collector of Egyptian antiquities, Abel Trelawny invites his guests to witness a “Great Experiment”: an ancient Egyptian religious ritual that will resurrect the corpse of Queen Tera.

            Each of the two drama events will be presented together from now until the end of the month. More information on all of the festival events can be found at

            Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to

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