Is it a play? Or is it a film? There are two sides to director Hope Dickson Leach’s ambitious staging of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale

“Cinema is about change,” says Hope Dickson Leach. “We watch people transform. That’s the heart of the Jekyll and Hyde story.” In February, Dickson Leach’s hybrid production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic classic Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is taking over Edinburgh’s Leith theatre. In an ambitious crisscrossing of media, her team will be simultaneously creating a live theatrical event and a livestreamed cinema screening. The combined footage from the live shows will later be edited into a feature film. “Our hunger for storytelling is different now,” the director says of the colossal project. “Audiences want an event.”

Dickson Leach is in her office in Leith theatre, bundled up in a coat, scarf and bright bobble hat. “Half of the theatre has no heating,” she says, her breath visible over Zoom. “I do have three heaters going, but it normally doesn’t warm up until lunchtime. Then at least I can take my hat off.” The winter sun is blinding through the large windows behind her. As she talks animatedly, she flits in and out of shadow and silhouette.

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