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A Midsummer Night’s Dream rehearsal diary: Week One

‘Laughter filled our joyous rehearsal room’

As the Ensemble convened at The Watermill to begin rehearsals for a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we caught up with Assistant Director Robert Kirby to find out what’s been happening behind the scenes.

The first week of rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a well and truly jam packed one. The week was filled with our ensemble of ten company members throwing themselves into the read through. This was quickly followed by improvisations, music calls, movement, exploring character relationships and time spent getting our heads around the language, before starting to put the play up on its feet.

After being welcomed to The Watermill by Artistic Director and Director of our production, Paul Hart, we kicked Monday off with Designer Katie Lias and Paul sharing the model box and costume designs with the cast, creative team and Watermill staff. Set in an abandoned Victorian theatre, the play begins initially ‘backstage’ until the full set design is revealed later on.

After a read through of the play, the company then explored the ‘play within the play’ and in small groups came up with their versions of Pyramus and Thisbe. As laughter filled our joyous rehearsal room, this was a terrific way to playfully discover key ideas that we can revisit in the next few weeks when we begin to shape this part of the story in greater detail. This also enabled the company to quickly engage with the energy and improvisational nature of the ‘mechanical’ characters in the production.

With a talented company of singers and actor-musicians, music calls took place with our Musical Director Joey Hickman (who is also playing Demetrius and Flute… the character, not the instrument). Joey led us through his initial harmonies and arrangements for some of the songs that would be fused into our production. From the get go, the soulful sounds inspired by Simone, Lennox & Holiday sounded just beautiful as our ensemble got to grips with Joey’s magic. It’s pretty tricky to stop humming after rehearsals!

We blinked and ‘twas the weekend.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is touring the UK in September and October 2019. See the tour dates here.

UK tour supported by The Sheepdrove Trust.

This rehearsal diary was written prior to the first performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Watermill in 2018.

Principal Sponsor of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Watermill

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