Castle Theatre Company is delighted to announce its 2023 touring production of one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This production will be Castle Theatre Company’s 44th production to go on a summer tour, and we are thrilled to be included in Durham University’s Shakespearean Festival to celebrate the first folio’s 400th birthday.
Let the grass be your stage!
Tour is such a unique experience to be part of, and following the completion of my studies at Durham University, I am so incredibly grateful to have had the privilege of taking part in this production. Performing outside enables a new form of acting to breathe. The characters become bigger, brighter, and a new kind of interaction with the audience is born. There is no stage, only grass – and so it actively involves the audience in the action, and in Midsummer, that means that everyone is part of the chaos! Each outdoor location is different – there are new bushes to hide behind, potholes to negotiate, and multiple entrances to spook the audience from, and this ensures a freshness of performance that I believe is unrivalled elsewhere in Durham Student Theatre.
Shakespeare, Pimms, and sausage rolls!
Outdoor Shakespeare becomes this terrific event where everyone is swept up into an evening of Pimms, sausage rolls, music, dance and, of course, the Bard’s incredible verse. I have always held the Durham Fellow’s Garden performances particularly close to my heart because the opportunity to create this magical world within the realms of this magnificent heritage site, which is also my own college, is an unprecedented honour.
Touring in America
From a young fresher acting in All’s Well That Ends Well, to a finalist undertaking my second year as Tour Coordinator and taking the company back to their previous international heights with an American tour leg, the past three tours have been an integral part of my personal development and enjoyment of university. From this sentimental spiel, it is perhaps unsurprising that I chose Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for this year’s tour.
Escape life’s pressures in the woods!
In times of uncertain change, I believe that it is a relatively universal feeling to want to escape from the pressures of life by running into the woods. In my circumstance, the realisation that I am now facing the ‘real world’ of a 9-5 job makes this escapism feel particularly relevant (although I would prefer to leave the talking donkeys out of this analogy!) Alongside being one of the most well-known Shakespearean shows, I believe that A Midsummer Night’s Dream also encompasses a desire for time to slow down. Set over the course of one night, the action of the show appears a timeless blur, in which all characters are forced to confront the here-and-now, and reconcile the immediacy of living in the moment.
Embracing change and noticing the ‘now’
As time seems to jet past all of us, this show demonstrates that changes that may appear sudden, abrupt or alarming, may also provide new opportunities and the chance to forge stronger relationships. This show has taught me to try and be more aware of the present, and to be grateful and welcoming to change, as hard as it may be at times. Although I am relatively certain that the organisation of these tours has potentially subtracted some years off my life expectancy, I would do it all again without hesitation. I have had the honour of working with some of the most talented students, who constantly baffle me with their abilities, both onstage and off, and I owe so much to every individual who has helped facilitate these shows.
If you are available to come watch our show this summer, we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the midsummer chaos!
About the show
‘When a quest for true love is thwarted by a hilarious series of enchantments-gone-wrong from a mystical fairy world, this charming play explores one hysterical night of chaos.’
‘Hermia and Lysander are in love, and flee to the forest, pursued by Demetrius, intent on marrying Hermia, and Helena, intent on loving Demetrius. Meanwhile, in the warring fairy world, Puck and Oberon hatch a plan to trick Queen Titania into loving a beast, and Puck seizes this opportunity to cause chaos when he encounters a gang of bumbling mechanicals rehearsing a play. As the three hilarious plots collide with the Fairy Queen doting on a bewildered ass-headed man and the lovers blindly chasing each other around the forest, will the farcical madness of this summer’s night ever end?’
About the company
‘Castle Theatre Company is one of the oldest performing arts groups at Durham University, and for over four decades has taken an annual summer Shakespeare tour around the south of England and the USA, performing classic comedies on the lawns of stately homes, gardens, and abbeys. The company is renowned for its high standard of performance, offering a full length Shakespeare comedy that is suitable for all the family. 2022’s touring production of The Comedy of Errors was performed to sold-out audiences around the south of England.’
Where to see us on tour
- Durham: 13th – 15th June, 14:00
- Doors open: 13:30
- Run time: 2 hours including a 20-minute interval
- Where: Fellows’ Garden, Durham Castle, University College
- Why: Have a laugh watching Shakespeare in a sunny (fingers crossed) Castle!
- Content warning: Audience participation
Tickets available now (links below)
We encourage people to come along thirty minutes before the show to set up their picnics in the beautiful Fellows’ Garden. You are more than welcome to bring your own food to the event. However, we ask for any alcohol to be bought from the Undie (Castle College bar, aka the Undercroft) due to licensing purposes. Castle Theatre Company will be providing seating. However, we also recommend bringing picnic blankets or your own chairs for a full ‘in the garden’ experience! We cannot wait to see you for some midsummer madness!
UK Tour: 7th – 21st July, all around the south of the UK
USA Tour: 22nd – 31st August
Tell your friends in New York and North Carolina to look out for us!