Midsummer Night’s Dream in May will be spectacular

Midsummer Night’s Dream in May will be spectacular

Gavin Walker has welcomed the Terra Nova Production of their innovative and game-changing approach to one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies to Ards and North Down. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will feature a range of diverse communities from across the borough performing in a transformed Queen’s Hall Newtownards in a bold, engaging, magical intercultural theatrical event, 2-5th May.

“This is an exciting production which is being supported by the European Union’s PEACE Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body,” Gavin said.

Gavin with Deputy Mayor Eddie Thompson and Conor
Gavin with Deputy Mayor Eddie Thompson and Conor Cupples as Puck

The Dream Project celebrates the diverse range of cultures and classes across the borough. It will use ambitious theatre to encourage cultural diversity, understanding and cohesion between communities, pulling everyone into the challenge of staging a large-scale multifaceted extravaganza.  Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

Since April 2018, the Dream Project team has run almost a hundred workshops reaching out to hundreds of citizens from Ards, North Down and beyond.  This incredibly diverse group are involved in every aspect of the production, placed at the heart of the show, working alongside a professional team and neighbours they may never have met before.  The project is working towards pop-up performances across the borough in March 2019 followed by a full-scale transformation of the Queen’s Hall Newtownards into a magical theatrical space. The production will be free to attend, and tickets will be available to book in March.

Canadian Artistic Director of Terra Nova Productions Andrea Montgomery has made bold choices in staging this far-from-traditional production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has flipped the gender of various roles and reached out to friends and colleagues across the UK arts scene to cast outstanding black actors alongside exciting local talent.  She has cracked open the play: the fairy world showcases improvised dance ‘rumbles’ between magical gangs, south American salsa crops up at the play’s royal wedding, and a newly created court masque features some of the best text from across Shakespeare’s entire cannon.  Bottom and the clodhopping mechanicals have been transformed into Bottom and a hilarious group of Women’s Institute ladies, played by women from across the Ards and North Down borough.

Community cast members Arya Kokate, David Idris with Conor Cupples as Puck

Andrea Montgomery, from Terra Nova Productions, said: “We are committed to making outstanding intercultural work in Northern Ireland and the Dream project is a testament to this.  The play uses the outrageous power of love to challenge all the old rules, and that is very exciting. I would encourage anyone with any level of interest in the arts and who would like to participate please make contact  – there are still plenty of ways to get involved.”

Terra Nova Productions is Northern Ireland’s intercultural theatre company. With a mission to create theatre where different cultures meet, people explore, and the world is changed, the company was founded by Delhi-born Canadian writer and director Andrea Montgomery. Terra Nova has worked in Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, Paris, Vancouver, Greenland, Lebanon, Egypt and more. The Company is best known for its Arrivals Trilogy of theatre projects about immigration, and its extensive work with Northern Ireland’s new immigrant and refugee communities as well as its production of Belfast Tempest in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter as part of Shakespeare 400 in 2016. The company celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2017-2018.

Outstanding local professional talent featured in A Midsummer Night’s Dream includes: Rosie McClelland as Thesea and Titania, Roisin Gallagher as Hermia, Stefan Dunbar as Demetrius, Patrick McBrearty as Bottom, and newcomer Conor Cupples as Puck.

PEACE IV Programme:  

  • The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the The Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes – PEACE IV and INTERREG VA – which are designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG VA, Western Scotland.
  • The PEACE IV Programme has a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contribution of 229 million and is aimed primarily at reinforcing progress towards a peaceful and stable society and promoting reconciliation.
  • For more information on the SEUPB please visit www.seupb.eu.

About A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

 A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta (the former queen of the Amazons). These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of five amateur actors (the mechanicals) who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world in many different languages.