Mary's Monsters




A true tale of daring, determination and dinosaurs!

Told with dynamic storytelling, songs, puppets and objects from the natural world.

10 year old Mary Anning loves to hunt for fossils on the beach near her home in Lyme Regis. The cliffs are full of secrets.people say there are monsters buried inside!

For audiences aged 5+
Audience capacity per show: Up to two school classes - ie. 60 children
Performance duration: 45 mins plus 10 minute Q+A if desired . Space requirements:Playing space minimum 3.5m wide x 5m deep.

For images of Mary's Monsters in performance at the Horniman Museum, please see our Gallery page

More about the story

This interactive show tells the extraordinary true story of young Mary Anning who lived in the town of Lyme Regis in Dorset, 200 years ago.

Mary grows up in a poor family and has little education, but she has a rare talent for finding fossils. The cliffs near her home are full of danger - landslides may crush your bones and the tides can sweep you away.

When a powerful storm rips along the cliffs destroying half the town, it uncovers the biggest, most exciting secret of all. Against the odds, Mary uncovers the first ever Ichthyosaurus specimen, a fossil monster that has been buried for millions of years!

During the show, the audience will:

  • Be transported back millions of years to the times when dinosaurs walked the earth and ancient marine reptiles ruled the waves!
  • Learn some of the names of these creatures, and find out how a fossil is formed.
  • Visit the town of Lyme Regis, meet Mary Anning and her family.
  • Experience a wild and windy coastal storm, and learn a fossil hunting song!
  • Follow Mary on her journey to uncover the famous Ichthyosaurus in the cliffs and come face to face with this fossil monster!

The history of the show

Mary's Monsters was originally conceived as a touring theatre production that was devised and built by One Moment In Time, with support from the Lyme Regis Museum and Arts Council England. You can read more about the original touring production in our archive. The show toured nationally from 2010-2011. Due to the popularity of the story, we have worked with the Horniman Museum to remake Mary's Monsters as a smaller scale interactive storytelling and puppet performance. In this new format it is currently available to museums, libraries, schools and festivals as well as theatres and arts centres.

Curriculum links

Mary's Monsters links to several areas of the Key Stage 1 and 2 National Curriculum, including:

  • Science - rocks and soils, life processes and living things in their environment
  • Geography- coast lines, rivers, water erosion
  • History - Mary Anning's life began in the Georgian era, continuing in to the Victorian era. Her family was an example of working class poverty in Britain during the early 19th century.
  • PSHE - women and their place in society past and present.
  • D+T and Art - the show uses both tabletop style puppets and shadow puppetry, either or which could form a starting point for an art / design project.

Education pack

This pack has been designed especially to accompany Mary's Monsters and will be available free to each participating school. The pack provides resources and inspiration for teachers to explore the show's many links to the National Curriculum, from science and geography to history, art, D+T and music.