Halesworth's Shake Fest hosts dream play with star-studded cast

Rebecca Hall, the daughter of Sir Peter Hall the former director of the National Theatre, leaves aft

Rebecca Hall, the daughter of Sir Peter Hall the former director of the National Theatre, will be playing Titania in her sister's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream - Credit: PA

Some of nation’s finest theatrical talents are coming together to perform an online version of Shakespeare’s timeless comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream to help keep Halesworth’s Shake Festival in rude health after a year in lockdown.

The play, directed by Jenny Caron Hall, daughter of former Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre director, Sir Peter Hall, will star Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as Oberon and her sister and West End actress Rebecca Hall as Titania along with a host of experienced actors and a couple of ‘lovely’ young RADA graduates.

Dan Stevens in the winners room at the Three Empire Awards held at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, Lon

Dan Stevens is playing Oberon in the Shake Festival's digital production of A Midsummer Night's Dream - Credit: PA

Jenny said: “As everyone knows we can’t do The Shake Festival this year because of Covid and we wanted to do something to keep the flag flying. I always wanted to do A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it’s a play I know really well, and I wanted to put into practice some of the things that my Dad taught me and I thought it is better to do that with a play that you are already familiar with.

“So, I wanted to do something positive – something uplifting that would bring live theatre back into people’s lives and to do something to keep the festival going until we perform in front of live audiences again.”

Jenny Hall will be staging a rehearsed reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream to keep the festival alive

Jenny Hall, artistic director of Halesworth's Shake Festival will be staging a digital rehearsed reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream to keep the festival alive through lockdown - Credit: Shake Festival

She said that having staged a digital version of The Tempest last year with Geraldine James and Rebecca Hall that was well received she wanted to do something exciting that would bring fans of Shakespeare back into the world of Shake Fest.


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“I think that we have built up a sense of momentum and its important that we don’t lose it and for myself I just love working with actors and even online its great when we get together and bounce off one another and create a little bit of magic.

“The other thing which is lovely about The dream is that it has a large cast and at a time when so many people are out of work because the theatres are closed we can offer just a little bit of work to as many people as we can.”

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The cast includes Luisa Omielan, Wendy Morgan, Robert Hands, Mark Quartley, Tim Fitzhigham, David Sibley, Ed Hughes, Richard Blaine, Daniel Bowerbank, Máiréad Tyers, Barnaby Taylor and Louis Rudnicki.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will have one digital performance on March 31, 2021. Tickets can be purchased online for £10. A link to the performance will be emailed with the ticket.
 

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