PASSION and spirit are the motivations behind an all-female production of a classic horror story, a headteacher has said.

Students of Talbot Heath in Bournemouth will perform Frankenstein at Shelley Manor, once intended to be the home of the book’s author Mary Shelley, tonight and tomorrow.

And the labour of love will bring the darkest gothic novel magically back to life.

School head Angharad Holloway said: “We feel a very strong connection to Mary Shelley.

“Our English teacher is an expert on gothic novels, and we teach our A-level students about the genre, so we felt there is a link between her work and our students here today.

“Mary is an inspirational literary figure for our girls, and we hope that she would approve of our all-female cast and production team, particularly as her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women.”

Even the set has been exclusively designed by women from the Arts University Bournemouth, who will count the work towards their degrees.

Mrs Holloway said: “There are just three students acting in the production, and each will take on six separate characters. The set design has had to complement these rapid changes, and so it has been a hugely difficult challenge.

“However, everyone involved has such passion for the project and is absolutely committed to it, heart and soul.”

Like the students themselves, Mary Shelley was very young when she began to pen Frankenstein – just 18 years old.

The novel was published when she was 20 in 1818.

The author is buried in St Peter’s churchyard in the town centre, along with the heart of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Mrs Holloway said the young women involved in the performance have displayed “courage and vision”.

“There is a real desire to make this ground-breaking production as wonderful as it can be,” she said.

“It’s been an absolutely magical thing to be a part of.”