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A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare's Rose Theatre

REVIEW | A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre

It seems to be the summer for open-air theatre this year, as the scorching weather has provided the perfect setting for outside theatre. What better way to enjoy the British sunshine than with an open-air pop-up Shakespeare theatre in the stunning city of York.

Located in one of York’s prime locations, built just behind the Clifford Tower is Shakespeare’s pop-up Elizabethan theatre. As the first pop up of its kind in Europe, it creates a 16th-century theatre experience with both its interior and exterior. The open air theatre has a standing area that mirrors the Globe, and a plenty of seating in the round.

Outside the theatre is a ‘village’ with food, drink and entertainment. Perfect for the long summer days we’ve been having this year, it truly feels as if a Shakespeare festival has been created in the heart of the city.  Inspired by the 1957 Rose Playhouse in London, it creates a beautiful theatrical atmosphere.

With classic Shakespeare’s production programmed in Rep at the Rose Theatre including Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I caught the whimsical and enchanting production of Shakespeare’s most famous comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Juliet Forster’s production uses Elizabethan backdrop with traditional styling creating a clear canvas for the characters to explore. Blending that with pockets of modern design, such as the fairies’ wilderness inspired costumes complete with horns made from twigs and bark. This is also echoed in the staging which is simple, but uses ropes to create the forest and aerial silks for the fairies to hang off and twirl in the air. This is a particularly gorgeous moment as they move gracefully above the stage, creating some stillness in a raucous high-energy production.

Amy Lennox gives a strong performance as the passionate and belligerent Hermia, her fiery nature lights up the stage and creates a great dynamic with Jordan Peters in the role of Lysander. Olivia Onyehara has excellent stage presence as Helena and Mark Holgate is utterly convincing in the role of Demetrius. However, stealing the show is Paul Hawkyard as Bottom who has sublimely natural comedy timing and encapsulates the audience with his humour.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream at York’s Shakespeare Rose Theatre is an organic and earthy performance mirroring an authentic Shakespearean experience. With four shows currently rotating in rep, the Rose Theatre really are providing the whole experience.



Tickets and information for all shows at the Shakespeare Rose Theatre can be found here.

Check out our vlog of our experience in York visiting the theatre and exploring the city…


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