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School Production 2005 A Midsummer Night's Magical Mystery Dream

This 2006 production was a joy to work on. It was my first effort at directing a full length Shakespeare play and the first experience of acting in a Shakespeare play for the majority of this young company. Having seen many productions of the Dream, I wanted to create something that the cast and audience could relate to and connect with in their own lives. At the time, I was watching Beatles movies with my daughter who at ten was discovering the Beatles for the first time and enjoying them as much as I had at her age, and still do. We were watching The Magical Mystery Tour film when it suddenly struck me how its songs, themes and magical dream-like quality resonated with Shakespeare's best loved comedy. The idea was born to make the mechanicals in the play The Beatles, with Quince as Brian Epstein, their manager.

I was also influenced by Adrian Noble's beautiful RSC Dream from 1998, which used the device of a young boy's dream leading us into Theseus's court and the magical woods. It was a simple step them to creating Fred, a lad who dreams of becoming the fifth Beatle as he falls asleep to Golden Slumbers. As he sleeps, mackintoshed fairies enter his bedroom, change the record to The Magical Mystery Tour and transport him to a crossroads where the Fab Four are about to board a bus for Athens to entertain the wedding guests at Duke Theseus and Queen Hippolyta's wedding day. The rest is a surreal and joyous romp through the play against the soundtrack to the album, which amazingly could have been written for it.

The production team and cast loved every minute of the rehearsal process and production week and were sorry to see it end. Happily, we had a second chance to show our work when we took an abridged version of it to the Shakespeare Schools Festival in the Autumn term, and performed at the Paul Robeson theatre. The adjudicator loved the Summer-of-love concept and praised the company for their captivating performances.