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2022 - A Midsummer Night's Dream


Welcome to the 2020 Wellington Summer Shakespeare production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington is proud to have supported Summer Shakespeare in Wellington for over a decade, reflecting the value we place on the creative arts and our commitment to Wellington as a thriving capital city. 

The University’s, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ strong association with Summer Shakespeare began in 1983. For nearly four decades, our students, graduates, and staff have participated in Summer Shakespeare productions. It is a privilege to us to take part in these plays, together with others, such as Toi Whakaari, in a way that continually reaffirms the relevance and joy of Shakespeare. 

This year, award-winning director Shane Bosher is reimagining Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a contemporary audience. This was the first production ever staged by Summer Shakespeare back in 1983, performed in the old Victoria University Quad. I’m very interested to see how  Shakespeare’s personalities and poetry come to life in this Dream interpretation. 

Summer Shakespeare is an institution for the city of Wellington’s theatrical calendar, and an annual tradition for many of us who live in the city. It prides itself on being accessible to all, and plays an important role in our collective abilility to imagine and innovate, and explore diverse ways of being in the world. It is always a memorable way to spend a summer evening. 

Enjoy the performance and the magic! 


Professor Jennifer Windsor

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Wellington Faculties of Humanities & Social Sciences and Education
Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington 


The very first Summer Shakespeare production to be staged in Wellington was A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  It was 1983, and Adrian Kiernander’s production saw punk fairies take over the University’s Quad.  In his debut writing reviews for the Dominion Post, Laurie Atkinson commented that Kiernander “used the enormous acting area with great skill and imagination”.


Fast forward to 1991 and the next production of Dream coincided with Summer Shakespeare’s first staging in the Botanic Garden’s, Dell.  Having dealt with jet planes flying overhead and other such issues that go along with staging an outdoor production, opening night was called off due to rain.


Given the popularity of the text, it seems strange that Wellington has had to wait nearly 30 years for the next Summer Shakespeare staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this year, we have changed space and challenged tradition again.  Shane Bosher’s realisation of the forest indoors allows us to move away from the conventional idea of forest and fairies, just as Kiernander before him. 


The Summer Shakespeare Trust are pleased to invite you to our latest Dream.  For those of you who are part of our returning audience, we thank you for following us around the city; we hope you are enjoying the journey as much as we are.  For those of you who are new, we hope that in 20 years time you talk about the first time you saw us take on Dream, revelling, as we do, in finding the new in what we have come to know and love so well.


In preparation for his politically convenient marriage to Amazonian Queen Hippolyta, Theseus, Duke of Athens, commissions his Master of the Revels, Philostrate, to find suitable entertainment for the festivities. #royalwedding #happilyeverafter?


They are interrupted when Egeus, Hermia’s father, demands her obedience to marry Demetrius, his choice of suitor, rather than Lysander, the man she loves. #ihatemyparents Complying with an ancient law, Theseus presents Hermia with an ultimatum: wed Demetrius or be put to death. #harshmuch? #nah-marriagepact  Presented with an impossible choice, Lysander and Hermia hatch a plan to escape Theseus’s harsh court for the Athenian woods and ultimately seek the help of Lysander’s rich auntie who will help them get hitched. #YOLO. After Hermia confides in Helenus the elopement plot, Helenus in turn informs Demetrius who rages into the woods in hot pursuit. Little does he know Helenus is likewise lowkey chasing him. #desperate_spaniel Awks.


The lovers aren’t the only ones in the woods. A group of working classers, led by Peter Quince, are using the forest to rehearse a play in hopes of staging it for the Duke’s wedding. #amdram #wellingtontheatreawards


Elsewhere in the same woods, Fairy Leaders Oberon and Titania argue. Seeking revenge, Oberon sends her mischievous henchfairy Puck, to acquire a magical flower, love-in-idleness, the juice of which makes its victim dote on the next creature they see. Oberon uses the flower on Titania as she sleeps. #extra #hugsnotdrugs


Overhearing the play’s rehearsal, Puck decides to have a laugh and magically transforms the head of the lead actor, Bottom, into that of an ass. When Titania awakes, Bottom is the first creature she sees and she falls lustfully in love with him. #tapthatass #toofar?


Taking pity on the shunned Helenus, Oberon orders Puck to love juice Demetrius, but Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius. Lysander encounters Helenus upon first waking and falls instantly in love with him. Chaos ensues. #thatboyismine


SPOILER ALERT: Oberon lifts all enchantments, and by morning all is well. Titania is reconciled with Oberon, and lovers think all was a dream. Bottom is reunited with his fellow workers. The marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta turns into a triple wedding celebration complete with a performance of the fumbling, hilarious version of Pyramus and Thisbe. As the couples retire - alone, Puck asks the audience for applause. #lend_me_your_hands #the_end


TLDR: Everyone falls in love with the wrong person. #hotmess #LoveIsland


Director - Shane Bosher

Producer - Keely McCann

Production - Joshua Tucker

Marketing - Medici Arts Management

Stage Manager - Alyssa Hatton

Assistant Stage Manager - Mikayla Heasman

Costumiers - Polly Filla & Meredith Dooley

Intimacy Direction & Fight Choreography - Carrie Thiel

Choreography - Charlotte Dodd

Technical Operator - Riley Gibson

Wardrobe Assistants - Ruby Longworth & Penny Wyatt 


Oberon Grace Hoet

Titania Catherine Zulver

Puck Ariadne Baltazar

Hermia Aimee Sullivan

Helenus Dryw McArthur

Demetrius Matthew Staijen-Leach

Lysander Andrew Clarke

Bottom James Bayliss

Hippolyta/Cobweb Sara Douglas

Theseus Hamish Boyle

Egeus Phil Peleton

Quince/Peaseblossom Charlotte Dodd

Flute Jake Brown

Starvling Rosemary Lewis

Snout Lucy McCarthny

Snug David Bowers-Mason

Fairy/Moth Zoe Crane

Mustardseed / Philostrate Finnian Nacey

Bodyguard Slaine McKenzie

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