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Fun down on the farm with cast of Red Rose Chain’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, plus autumn shows announced

PUBLISHED: 09:10 03 July 2015 | UPDATED: 09:10 03 July 2015

The cast of Red Rose Chain's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo: Bill Jackson

The cast of Red Rose Chain's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo: Bill Jackson

BILL JACKSON 2012

Barely an hour after meeting, the cast of this year’s Theatre in the Forest found themselves performing to a live audience.

Eleanor Cotton-Soares and Oliver Mawdesley in Red Rose Chain's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo: Bill JacksonEleanor Cotton-Soares and Oliver Mawdesley in Red Rose Chain's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo: Bill Jackson

Barely an hour after meeting, the cast of this year’s Theatre in the Forest found themselves performing to a live audience.

Instead of reading the script round a table at Red Rose Chain’s HQ The Avenue, Kirsty Thorpe, Rachael McCormick, Eleanor Cotton-Soares, Oliver Mawdesley, Robert Dowdeswell, Adam Wilson, Daniel Booroff and Joanna Brown spent midsummer eve performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream beneath the trees at Jimmy’s Farm. I was there and can safely say audiences are in for a treat.

“We only met at 7pm. We were all quite nervous, just because it’s the first day; a lot of us hadn’t really met each other before. At the same time within the first few minutes you felt the pressure was off,” said Oliver.

“Normally rehearsals start with a read-through and all the people involved in the production come and have a little listen. To get the show up on its feet and the freedom to make choices and try out things in front of a little audience so early on... It was terrifying but exceptionally useful and a helluva lot of fun.”

Director Joanna Carrick wanted to do something special for Theatre in the Forest’s 16th year. She thought it would be a great way for the cast to connect to the Shakespearean comedy.

“It was going to be low-key but before you knew it it was really full on and full out and really exciting. I think it was really good for their confidence in the end, they were getting large laughs from the audience there even without any rehearsals... In a way it’s taken the pressure off for rehearsals and I felt I’d got a long way in a couple of hours; plus everybody got to know each other which was really nice.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream sees Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena lost in the woods. They and some tradesmen rehearsing a play soon find themselves in the middle of a row between fairies Titania and Oberon. It runs from July 22-August 30 at Jimmy’s Farm.

The company has also announced their autumn shows.

The Green Children, a multi-sensory play for young people with complex or multiple difficulties, enjoyed a successful run at The Avenue earlier this year. It returns October 17-24. Read my review here.

Wesley The Owl Showcase, November 13-14, is adapted and directed by Carrick. It’s about our relationships with animals and with each other, the different types of intelligence between us and nature and features some groundbreaking puppetry from Jimmy Grimes.

The Tale of Mr Tod, December 10-January 3 is a Christmas adventure of mystery, suspense and slap stick featuring Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Jeremy Fisher, Samuel Whiskers, Tabitha Twitchett and umpteen more.

There’s more stand-up comedy too, with James Campbell’s Comedy 4 Kids November 1 and Mitch Benn’s Don’t Believe A Word November 20.


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