A comedy play based on the Dracula story, which has been invited to be performed at the Whitby Goth Festival, is to have three dates in Sunderland this autumn.

Dracula: Die Laughing which will be performed at the Isis pub in Silksworth Row, Sunderland city centre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday October 31 and November 1 and 2, has been penned by South Tyneside playwright Ed Waugh who came up with the idea after a friend returned from the Whitby Goth Festival and was raving about it.

The weekend festival, which is held every April and October, attracts 12,000 people of all ages from all over the world, many of whom dress as Goths but most attend to take in the styles, music and laid-back atmosphere of the event in the North Yorkshire town.

Ed, who with his writing partner Trevor Wood has notched up some of the most successful north east plays in the past decade, explained: “My mate Les went last year and he never stopped talking about it. So I agreed to go with him next year but I felt if we were going it should be with a play. Everyone knows about Dracula being a vampire, and how it was at Whitby that he first came ashore.

dracula coming to sunderland

Dracula and friends in Sunderland

“I felt we could have great fun with Dracula being a bit passed his best and, being pursued by Vampire hunters, takes refuge at the Whitby Goth Festival.

“We spoke to the organisers and they want to include us in the official programme alongside the bands, so we are delighted to be an integral part of the event next April.”

The north east tour will be to fine tune the show but director Gareth Hunter of Ion Productions is promising a cracking evening’s entertainment.

He said: “The script is hilarious. The show will include audience interaction and we initially want to run it at intimate venues in preparation for the Whitby event and a regional tour next year. This is Dracula as never seen before. People will actually feel sympathy for the poor old soul!”

Dracula: Die Laughing, opens at Collingwood College, North Road, Durham, on  Tuesday, October 29, and runs at the Magnesia Bank, North Shields (Wednesday 30) and Sunderland Isis pub on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (October 31 and November 1 and 2).

Tickets cost £8 and £5 (unwaged) and are available from the Isis (0191) 5147684; Collingwood College (Durham University) on (0191) 334 5172 and the Magnesia Bank (0191) 2578392 or via the Dracula: Die Laughing Facebook site.  The show is open to everyone and suitable for the 14+ age group.

Gareth added: “People are welcome to come in Gothic costume, especially for Halloween on the 31st.”