A Penny Dreadful

From Austin Improv Community Wiki

A Penny Dreadful was the December 2014 student mainstage production at The Hideout Theatre. It drew inspiration from the Gothic horror genre.


This was an hour and a half show with a ten-minute intermission. It ran in the upstairs theater. Each performance included all ten cast members, although each show had two designated "snoggers" (scene-ographers) who donned black masks and created environments and emotions using their bodies.

The cast took the stage to the Toccata and Fugue. They then took a suggestion -- "Imagine a spooky mansion. What sort of rooms would be in such a place?" -- and began the show. The story followed a single protagonist and usually focused on love, one of the show's main grounding themes. The pacing alternated between slow-paced intensity and higher-energy horror scenes. The format utilized character monologues to better understand backstories and relationships as well as character naiveté to allow horror to escalate throughout the show.

Selected Source Material


The stage performers wore formal blacks, reds, and grays that suggested the 19th century.


The show was scored with classical music, and used red washes to emphasize murder scenes. Washes were preferred over spotlight scenes as per the genre.

Publicity Blurb

From the show announcement:

"Inspired by the tales of Bram Stoker and Edgar Allen Poe, by the British Hammer Studios horror films of the 1960s, and featuring a dash of Scooby Doo, comes an improvised gothic horror tale replete with rich characters, terrible secrets, and all kinds of spooky goings-on."




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