We speak to Jonathan Willis, Co-Founder of Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein in Gay Street…
Tell us a bit about Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein…
Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein is a world-first visitor attraction dedicated to author Mary Shelley and her most famous creation. It’s a multi-sensory, immersive experience set over five atmospheric floors, predicted to be a major draw in Bath, the city where she wrote her novel. Bursting with unusual artefacts and vintage items, interactive multi-sensory environments and assorted body parts, Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein will deliver an unnervingly visceral, illuminating and entertaining experience.
The pièce de résistance is our creature (Mary Shelley never called it a monster), which was commissioned, built, crafted and constructed by Chris Goodman of BAFTA-award-winning Millennium FX. This is a world-first representation of how Mary Shelley described Victor Frankenstein’s creation in the 1818 novel.
Because it’s a creative hub bursting with opportunity, and that’s exciting for an entrepreneur. When we arrived in Bath seven years ago, there was no indigenous bottled water brand, which seemed odd in an aqueous city, so, in concert with colleagues, we invented Bath Water, now served at 90 local establishments. There was no Bath-based movie production company, so now we make films here, and there was no tribute to Mary Shelley, so we are opening our new attraction to celebrate the city that helped inspire the world’s first science fiction novel.
Share something new and exciting that you have discovered in Bath…
Amazing creative talent. The majority of our gifted team, who have conceived, developed and constructed House of Frankenstein and who will operate our new attraction, are Bath-based or local. It’s been refreshing to call out to those on your doorstep whose imaginations have proven awe-inspiring.
What do you do to spoil yourself?
Find the time to take on a new project. With Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, we have eight associated assets we wish to develop, for the benefit of the business and the city. Given a little space and time, we will roll these out over the coming year.
Your top indie recommendation in Bath?
For staff functions, we’ve discovered Bar Breton, on Barton Street, just down the road, offering wonderful French tapas. For Sunday lunch, it’s got to be the platters of invention at Underwood on Argyle Street.
What are you most looking forward to in the city over the next few months?
Naturally, I would say the opening of our inaugural venture, that we intend to franchise globally. Counter-intuitively, I would also have to say escaping Bath, simply because everyone needs a holiday. And then returning to fine-tune the attraction and help it evolve organically.
Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein opens on 19th July.