THE famous horror story about the monstrous creation of Frankenstein opens the new theatre year at Worcestershire’s leading stage venue.

Now that the fun and laughter of the hugely successful panto season has subsided the curtains around the county and other nearby theatrical venues will be opening to herald a number of new week-long productions at Malvern’s Festival Theatre and also plenty of one night shows in the centre’s Forum.

Also the Royal Shakespeare Company has announced what’s in store in the coming months and there’s also a full and varied programme just up the road at that prime Midlands venue, the Birmingham Hippodrome.

Setting the ball rolling at the Malvern Festival will see Scottish screen actress Eilidh Loan starring in the new theatrical adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, depicting Shelley herself onstage as the author - personally unfolding her monstrous tale of creature and creator.

With a cast also including Ben Castle-Gibb, Thierry Mabonga, Sarah MacGillivray, Natali McCleary, Michael Moreland and Greg Powrie, the seminal 1818 gothic horror novel adapted by award-winning writer Rona Munro will be on stage at the Festival from Monday, January 13 to Saturday, January 18.

Eilidh Loan’s screen credits include: London Kills (BBC, Acorn TV), Doctors (BBC), Clique (BBC) and England’s Forgotten Queen (BBC). Her stage credits include: Me & My Left Ball (Tristan Bates Theatre).

Rona Munro’s excellent new adaptation of Shelley’s Gothic masterpiece places the writer herself amongst the action, as she wrestles with her creation and with the stark realities facing revolutionary young women, then and now.

This is followed by a ‘spoof’ offering, with 'Dead Ringeresque' impersonations, in The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson which opens on Wednesday, January 22 and runs until Saturday, January 25.

January concludes with the much anticipated Blithe Spirit prior to it going to the West End.

Noel Coward’s wonderful comedy will feature Jennifer Saunders as the legendary medium, Madam Arcati.

Blithe Spirit runs from Monday, January 27 to Saturday, February 1.

Later in February The Cat and the Canary will be visiting along with a number of regulars from the Classic Theatre Company such as Dennis Lill, Ben Nealon and Mark Jordon, and also Dakota Blue Richards and screen actress Britt Ekland.

This Bill Kenwright production is the original country house thriller which inspired three successful movies.

Dates for this one are Monday, February 17 to Saturday, February 22, and the month then concludes with the one time sensual and shocking story of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Other productions later in the year include Holes, Dennis and Gnasher - The Musical and Once.

Tickets for these shows are now on sale at the Box Office 01684 892277 and online at Offerings from the RSC in Stratford open with The Whip at the Swan in February, and then in April at the RST it’s the Winter’s Tale.

The Comedy of Errors opens at the RST in May and Pericles in August, while at the Swan the productions of Europeana in April, Peer Gynt in May and Blindness and Seeing in August.

A number these productions will also be screened live to various cinema venues around the country.

At Birmingham’s Hippodrome there’s ballet and dance with The Red Shoes for six days from February 11 and then the BRB presents the legendary Swan Lake from Tuesday, February 18 to Saturday, February 29.

Other shows for early in the year are the musical, The Book of Mormon in March, Priscilla Queen of the Desert in April and the wonderful We Will Rock You in April - which takes its audience through the lives of Queen.

But the big one this year at the Hippo, which has celebrated its 120th year, will see Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed production of the Boublil and Schönberg musical, Les Misérables.

This returns from Tuesday, June 30 through to Saturday, July 18.

Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this new production of Les Misérables in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary it has taken the world by storm. Originally touring the UK throughout 2009/10, and concluding with 22 performances at the Barbican, this production was hailed by audiences and critics alike.

The current tour opened in Leicester in November last year and has already played sell out runs in Dublin, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Inspired by the hugely successful movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, this brilliant new staging features scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo.

The production has been a phenonemal world-wide success story with Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent score of Les Misérables including the songs, I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Master Of The House and many more.

Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, Les Misérables is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals.

Fiona Allan, Birmingham Hippodrome artistic director and chief executive said; “A show of the phenomenal appeal of Les Misérables comes along only a few times in your life: its enduring popularity and beloved status with audiences is incomparable. This is another opportunity to catch the world’s favourite musical.

Also this summer there's Mama Mia! in May and in mid-year there’s another big stage and movie heavyweight heading for Brum - with The Phantom of the Opera from the end of July.

So many treats to look forward to.