Shakespeare’s best loved comedy comes to audiences in a new live online adaptation

Shakespeare’s best loved comedy comes to audiences in a new live online adaptation

We are teaming up with the award winning Guildford Shakespeare Company (GSC) to present a live online production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Thu 24 to Sat 27 September 2020.

Premiering a live streamed production, the first of its kind for the venue, is the latest offering from Octagon Online – a hub of digital activities keeping audiences of Bolton and beyond entertained throughout the Covid pandemic and whilst the £12million redevelopment of the reimagined Octagon is completed. The theatre is set to open its doors in December.

This version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a special adaptation based on GSC’s 2017 acclaimed open air production which was directed by the Octagon’s Artistic Director, Lotte Wakeham, who also directs this latest online version.

Shakespeare’s farcical comedy follows four young lovers who find themselves lost in a mystical wood populated by warring fairies, mischievous sprites and a group of excitable amateur actors. This classic tale features some of Shakespeare’s best loved characters, including Bottom the weaver, who is transformed into an amorous donkey, and Puck the mischievous fairy, whose misguided love potions cause hilarious results.

The 75-minute production, which will be live streamed on Zoom, features a cast of six actors. Making their Octagon Theatre debuts will be Jack Whitam (credits include Hamlet and Macbeth at the Royal Shakespeare Company) Emma Fenney (Inherit the Wind, Old Vic) Sarah Gobran (co-founder of GSC) and Matt Pinches (co-founder of GCS) - all of whom appeared in GSC’s 2017 production - as well as Misha Duncan-Barry (credits include Hamlet at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre) and Nathan Ives-Moiba, who was nominated for the ‘Best Newcomer Award’ at the Manchester Theatre Awards for his performance in Tull at the Octagon, and most recently performed in the Octagon’s 2018 production of And Did Those Feet at the University of Bolton Stadium.

No stranger to producing exciting and unmissable live streamed productions, Surrey-based theatre company GSC have previously produced online versions of The Wind in the Willows and a number of Murder Mystery evenings.

Artistic Director and A Midsummer Night’s Dream Director, Lotte Wakeham said: We’ve had fantastic feedback from our audiences about other online content produced by the Octagon during lockdown, so it felt like a natural next step to try a full production, live on Zoom! A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a favourite with our audiences, and this 75 minute version will be perfect for all ages. I’m delighted to be collaborating with the Guildford Shakespeare Company again, who truly are experts in this field of Zoom productions. I’m also very excited to be working with a brilliant cast of northern and southern actors, who I’m confident will provide a magical evening of entertainment for our audiences.”

GSC Co-Founder, Matt Pinches added: “Our especially made online events have proved incredibly popular and it has been joyous to see families and friends able to come together to share a live experience in these toughest of times. We desperately wanted to stage a Shakespeare play in this format and Dream, with its accessible storyline, beautiful speeches and laugh-out-loud comedy, was an obvious choice. We have previously worked with Lotte when she directed a truly magical show for us in 2017 and so it seemed a natural union to make with Bolton. We are thrilled to be able to present this production with the Octagon; two theatres working together for their communities whilst sharing new ideas and best practices, was an opportunity not to be missed.”

Tickets are on sale now - find out more and book. 

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY (GSC 2017 PRODUCTION)

“This ‘Dream’ is a masterpiece of fun, invention and imaginative comic business.”

Essential Surrey ★★★★★

"Infectious humour and feel-good optimism"

The Stage ★★★★

"Quite brilliant, I would never miss one of GSC’s comedies"

Londontheatre1.com ★★★★★