Shakespeare Schools Festival 2017

SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork – giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.   The organization has worked with over 250,000 young people since the charity was founded in 2000, young people who come from every community, background and school-type nationwide.  The purpose is to use Shakespeare as a catalyst to uncover the most pressing themes of today in a neutral, creative and fun forum.  Students have the opportunity to explore topics such as racism, gender equality and mental health and the net result is  the development of confidence and lasting friendships.

The annual Shakespeare Schools Festival is the flagship project and the world’s largest youth drama project.  Months of preparation culminate in exhilarating performance evenings in professional theatres nationwide; a life-changing moment to remember forever.

As part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival 2017, our cast will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The play will be condensed into a 30 minute performance, enabling students to focus on the main points of the plot.

There will be a professionally-led workshop on Monday 9th October at Theatr Brycheiniog from 10.30 pm to 12.30 pm.  Information letter and consent form for this workshop can be downloaded below.

Theatr Brycheiniog Workshop Ltr 09102017

Theatr Brychioniog Workshop Consent Form

This is a great opportunity for the students to prepare for their full performance which will be on Monday 20th November, 7.00 pm at Theatr Brycheiniog.

For tickets, please visit the Box Office website at www.theatrbrycheiniog.co.uk/en/booking-information or call them on 01874 611622 between the hours of 10.00 am and 6.00 pm. Monday to Saturday.

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Plot Overview

Theseus, duke of Athens, is preparing for his marriage to Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, with a four-day festival of pomp and entertainment.  He commissions his Master of the Revels, Philostrate, to find suitable amusements for the occasion.  Egeus, an Athenian nobleman, marches into Theseus’s court with his daughter, Hermia, and two young men, Demetrius and Lysander.  Egeus wishes Hermia to marry Demetrius (who loves Hermia), but Hermia is in love with Lysander and refuses to comply.  Egeus asks for the full penalty of law to fall on Hermia’s head if she flouts her father’s will.  Theseus gives Hermia until his wedding to consider her options, warning her that disobeying her father’s wishes could result in her being sent to a convent or even executed.  Nonetheless, Hermia and Lysander plan to escape Athens the following night and marry in the house of Lysander’s aunt, some seven distance from the city.  They make their intentions known to Hermia’s friend, Helena, who was once engaged to Demetrius and still loves him, even though he jilted her after meeting Hermia.  Hoping to regain his love, Helena tells Demetrius of the elopement that Hermia and Lysander have planned.  At the appointed time, Demetrius stalks into the woods after his intended bride and her lover; Helena follows behind him.

In these same woods are two very different groups of characters.  The first is a band of fairies, including Oberon, the fairy king, and Titania, his queen, who has recently returned from India to bless the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta.  The second is a band of Athenian craftsmen rehearsing a play that they hope to perform for the duke and his bride.  Oberon and Titania are at odds over a young Indian prince given to Titania by the prince’s mother; the boy is so beautiful that Oberon wishes to make him a knight, but Titania refuses.  Seeking revenge, Oberon sends his merry servant, Puck, to acquire a magical flower, the juice of which can be spread over a sleeping person’s eyelids to make that person fall in love with the first thing he or she sees upon waking.  Puck obtains the flower, and Oberon tells him of his plan to spread its juice on the sleeping Titania’s eyelids.  Having seen Demetrius act cruelly toward Helena, he orders Puck to spread some of the juice on the eyelids of the young Athenian man.  uck encounters Lysander and Hermia.  Thinking that Lysander is the Athenian of whom Oberon spoke, Puck afflicts him with the love potion.  Lysander happens to see Helena upon awaking and falls deeply in love with her, abandoning Hermia.  As the night progresses and Puck attempts to undo his mistake, both Lysander and Demetrius end up in love with Helena, who believes that they are mocking her.  Hermia becomes so jealous that she tries to challenge Helena to a fight.  Demetrius and Lysander nearly do fight over Helena’s love, but Puck confuses them by mimicking their voices, leading them apart until they are lost separately in the forest.

When Titania wakes, the first creature she sees is Bottom, the most ridiculous of the Athenian craftsmen, whose head Puck has mockingly transformed into that of an ass.  Titania passes a ludicrous interlude doting on the ass-headed weaver.  Eventually, Oberon obtains the Indian boy, Puck spreads the love potion on Lysander’s eyelids, and by morning all is well.  Theseus and Hippolyta discover the sleeping lovers in the forest and take them back to Athens to be married—Demetrius now loves Helena, and Lysander loves Hermia.  After the group wedding, the lovers watch Bottom and his fellow craftsmen perform their play, a fumbling, hilarious version of the story of Pyramus and Thisbe.  When the play is completed, the lovers go to bed; the fairies briefly emerge to bless the sleeping couples with a protective charm and then disappear.  Only Puck remains, to ask the audience for its forgiveness and approval and to urge it to remember the play as though it had all been a dream.

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Characters

Demetrius—a young man of Athens, initially in love with Hermia and ultimately in love with Helena. Lysander—a young man of Athens, in love with Hermia.

Egeus –  Hermia’s father, who brings a complaint against his daughter to Theseus.

Francis Flute –  The bellows-mender chosen to play Thisbe in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration.

Helena –  A young woman of Athens, in love with Demetrius.

Hermia –  Egeus’s daughter, a young woman of Athens in love with Lysander

Hippolyta –  The legendary queen of the Amazons, engaged to Theseus.

Nick Bottom –  The overconfident weaver chosen to play Pyramus in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration.

Oberon—King of the Fairies

Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed –  The fairies ordered by Titania to attend to Bottom after she falls in love with him.

Peter Quince –  A carpenter and the nominal leader of the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration.

Philostrate –  Theseus’s Master of the Revels, responsible for organizing the entertainment for the duke’s marriage celebration.

Puck —Oberon’s court jester.

Robin Starveling –  The tailor chosen to play Thisbe’s mother in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration.

Snug –  The joiner chosen to play the lion in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration.

Theseus –  The heroic duke of Athens, engaged to Hippolyta.

Titania—Queen of the Fairies

Tom Snout –  The tinker chosen to play Pyramus’s father in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration.