Shakespeare’s Globe is preparing to reopen on Wednesday 19 May with a socially distanced revival of its celebrated 2019 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Bolstered by piñatas, colourful streamers, glitter and a cacophony of brass, the raucous production is a fitting choice, capturing the imaginations of an audience re-emerging from its own collective slumber and heading giddily towards hopes of a heady, party-fuelled summer.
The Globe is not the only theatre to take audiences into the bewitching forest of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream this year. Back in March, the Royal Shakespeare Company collaborated with Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Philharmonia Orchestra to create a virtual forest where a cast of seven actors-come-avatars brought to life the world surrounding the play.
The Globe's A Midsummer Night's Dream is being helmed by associate artistic director Sean Holmes and features a score by Jim Fortune, performed by members of the Hackney Colliery Band. Here, the lovers are four teens, escaped from the confines of an oppressive regime only to become the puppets of feuding fairies in the forest. Meanwhile, a gaggle of wannabe actors are determined to put on a play against the odds.
As has been done to success in Michelle Terry’s past seasons since she stepped in as artistic director of the Globe in 2018, the same cast taking on A Midsummer Night’s Dream will also perform a new production of Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s comedy of mistaken identity, twins, lovesick Illyrians and tomfoolery. The production is also being directed by Holmes and stars Terry in the gender-switching role of Viola/Cesario.
Further casting for the two productions confirms newcomer Shona Babayemi will play the parts of Helena and Olivia, Peter Bourke (Henry IV with the RSC) those of Oberon and Antonio, Bryan Dick (BBC’s Eric and Ernie) as Lysander and Orsino, and Victoria Elliott (Hebburn, The Lost Disc at Soho Theatre) as Titania and Feste.
Of the theatre’s reopening programme, artistic director Michelle Terry said: ‘To even be announcing a season means that we are inching ever closer to getting back to doing the thing that we love, the thing that the Globe was built for, and the thing that so many of us, artists and audience alike, have lost during this time: sharing time, space and story with as many people as is safe. This is a historic moment, and not to be underestimated; we have a long way to go as we emerge and heal from this, but theatre can help us get there: that’s what it’s for. To express the often inexpressible, bear the often unbearable, laugh, cry, be – safely – together. The readiness is all and Shakespeare’s Globe is ready.’
A Midsummer Night's Dream opens on Wednesday 19 May 2021. Culture Whisper readers have access to an exclusive ticket pre-sale from Wednesday 7 April, with general sale from Thursday 8 April. Click here to book.
|What||A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s Globe|
|Where||The Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London, SE1 9DT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|
19 May 21 – 30 Oct 21, Performance times vary
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|