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Midsummer Night's Dream-7643 Who are the Rondo Theatre Company and Bath Drama and how long have they staged outdoor productions together?

The Rondo Theatre Company is the resident theatre company of the Rondo Theatre  – effectively part of the Rondo Theatre itself and can trace its roots back to the Octagon Theatre before then.  Bath Drama are the longest established community theatre company in Bath.  We’ve been collaborating on the big Summer Charity production at Victoria Park for many years, but this year has seen a big change – both in terms of location and style of the event.

What is the show about?

Three interwoven stories. Firstly there are the lovers, with the usual themes of young love – unrequited love, a lack of parental approval, passions running high – and everyone wanting that one true love!

 

Then there is the fairy world – torn apart by a lovers quarrel between Oberon and Titania. A typical squabble of people who have been together a long time – a fight over nothing…blown out of all proportion.

 

Finally, the Mechanicals – ostensibly the comic relief – but you can’t help loving them.  Trying to rise above their simple backgrounds to put on a show before the Duke.

 

How the three stories are woven together is what makes the play magical…

 

What attracted you to directing this particular show?

 The Dream is clearly Shakespeare’s most popular play and for good reason – it incorporates everything I love about Shakespeare, beautiful language, a great story, bawdy comedy and, for an outdoor show, a happy ending.

 

Midsummer Night's Dream-7627What was your vision for the production and why did you choose to stage it in the steam punk style?

I was influenced by the venue – i wanted something that would complement the Victorian railway we were in.  I did a lot of research on Brunel and his obsession with iron – and it became very apparent that Theseus would make a wonderful Brunelian figure, so the venue became a fictional station called Athens on the GWR.   The Mechanicals became Victorian railworkers – with their trades still apparent.  And Quince – well, Quince is perfectly cast as a powerful woman, someone who stands up for the rights of the less well off – a forerunner of the suffragettes maybe – trying to improve the lot of the simple workers around her, whether they want to be improved or not.

 

As for the fairies, clearly their world borders on ours – so its only natural that they would incorporate elements of our industry and fabrication into their lives and costumes – so their costumes became hybrids of the natural world and the cogs, and workings of victorian industry – a sort of steampunked style if you like.

 

Where can people find out more about you, the company and the show?

http://shakespeareinthegreenpark.eu.pn/  is the official website.  

Tickets available from Bath Box Office (www.bathboxoffice.org.uk)

18 – 22 June, 7.30pm tickets: £8 / £5

For sold out nights, additional groundling tickets (great position!) will be available on the door, so come early and bring a cushion.

Midsummer Night's Dream-7658What other productions have you directed?

I used to direct shows at Bath University, including shows at the Fringe in Edinburgh.  In Bath I’ve directed a number of shows for Rondo Theatre Company, including Ian McGlynn’s first two productions, Reunion and Presence.  Recently I directed Silent Laughter at the Rondo.

Who inspires you as a director?

I like the work of directors who give their productions a little extra pizzazz – someone like Baz Luhrmann – there’s always so much going on in his productions. Also directors who spend a lot of time making things perfect – Stanley Kubrick must rate highly there…

 

What was your approach to directing this piece?

We started with workshops. And kept the three stories separate allowing us to rehearse with smaller more manageable groups until quite late in the process, then assembled everything.

 

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