Brixton theatre showcasing unique performance of Shakespeare play to celebrate 400th anniversary

A Brixton theatre will be transformed into a magical forest for a unique performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death next month.

The production, which runs from May 2-5 at Brixton East 1871 on Barrington Road, is the first production by producer Amy Ambrose and director Matthew McPherson.

Working under the Dream East banner, the duo believe they can put a fresh spin on Shakespeare’s classic tale by turning it into an immersive experience that gets the audience involved.

“The venue is screaming out for live theatre,” Matthew said. “This is a skin and bones production with no money for sets or lighting effects, but we’re hoping the energy from the crowd will create the atmosphere for the play.”

The production comes 400 years after Shakespeare’s death and Matthew feels people keep flocking to see the bard’s plays because of his timeless writing.

He said: “Shakespeare wrote for everyone and we can see ourselves in all of his characters.

“I think people will see that the themes he wrote about are the exact same things we deal with in society today.”

But while Shakespeare may be more popular then ever before, Matthew and Amy hope their stripped back take on the play can attract a new audience to the playwright’s work.

Matthew said: “I hope Shakespeare lovers will see it as a faithful version of the play that doesn’t mess too much with the text, but it’s not untouchable for newcomers – I want them to see that it is fun, funny and has lots of energy.”

Though the production will only run for one week this year, Amy and Matthew hope to gain enough attention to bring it back next summer for a professional run that can make the most of Brixton’s cultural community.

Amy said: “We really want to build on the summer solstice theme by using more of the local community in Brixton by having food stalls, love bands and getting lots of young people in the area involved.

Image courtesy of Amy Ambrose, with thanks

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