Upper Beeding-based theatre company This Is My Theatre embark on their biggest tour yet with nearly a month of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Founder and artistic director Sarah Slator is delighted at the way the company has expanded its reach in just two years since she set it up.
“We are going to be out for a whole month apart from three days in the middle. We are pretty solid apart from that. We are going everywhere from Sussex to Kent and to Bristol and even to do a show Norwich way. It is our biggest tour by far.”
And she can genuinely say that the show is by public demand. The company has generally focused on redundant churches, though it is now moving into active ones as well – plus open air.
“And when we have been doing our Macbeth or our Christmas Carol, people have been saying to us that A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be a really spectacular one for us to choose in the venues that we go to. There is the romance of the settings in particular. There is also a great atmosphere with the stained glass windows… though we are also performing in outdoor settings. Because every venue is completely different to the last, every show is tailored to the space. In terms of creating the show, the starting point is the language and the characters, but we are trying to create a show that is flexible enough to be performed wherever we are. An important thing for us is the music. We are using different styles in order to capture the different groups. We have got traditional Gaelic music for the world of the fairies. We have found some wonderful music, with wonderful harmonies, music that has a very elven atmosphere.
“For the Mechanicals, we are using English-language traditional folk songs, more buoyant, much more energy. For the court scenes, we are using much more instrumental pieces to differentiate between them. We have got quite a small cast, just a cast of six. There are precedents for small casts, but I don’t know how many have done quite so few. The couplings and the parts lend themselves quite well. There are traditional couplings and we have also been inventive.”
Grace Stone plays Titania, Hermia, Snug; Ethan Taylor plays Bottom, Lysander; Andy Colter plays Puck, Theseus; Simon Stallard plays Oberon, Quince; Matt Tweddle plays Demetrius, Flute; and Madelyn Smedley plays Helena, Snout.
Tour dates include: May 24, 7.30pm St Botolph’s Church, near Steyning; May 27, 7pm Cisswood House Hotel, Lower Beeding, (open air); May 28, 7.30pm St Botolph’s Church, near Steyning; June 8, 7.30pm, Church of St Mary Magdalene, Tortington; June 13-16, 7pm (and 2pm on 16), Brighton Open Air Theatre, Brighton. www.thisismytheatre.com.