Am-drams’ Midsummer dream

From left, Anthony Henry (Bottom), Ian Rowe (Snug), Garry Houghton (Flute), Tony Stone (Amateur Director), Huw Rose (Snout), Roger Lloyd-Jones  (Starveling) and Catherine Lloyd (Quince) on stage at the Grand
From left, Anthony Henry (Bottom), Ian Rowe (Snug), Garry Houghton (Flute), Tony Stone (Amateur Director), Huw Rose (Snout), Roger Lloyd-Jones (Starveling) and Catherine Lloyd (Quince) on stage at the Grand
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For once, a ‘mechanical’ performance will be one to celebrate for a group of actors joining the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Six amateur actors, all members of Poulton Drama, have won roles in the RSC’s special production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play For The Nation, at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool, next April.

The group will perform as the Mechanicals – including the iconic character Bottom, the weaver – in the play.

The Mechanicals are an ‘under-prepared, yet loveable bunch of craftsmen and women’ who stand up to perform for royalty in the tale.

Some 14 amateur theatre companies have been selected across the country to perform in 12 regional theatres during the tour next spring, as part of the RSC’s plans to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The project will feature in a series of BBC documentaries, following the pressures and pitfalls of the project for both the amateurs and professionals, culminating in each of the regional opening nights.

Cast after local workshops, the Poulton Drama members are Anthony Henry as Bottom, Garry Houghton as Flute, Catherine Lloyd as Quince, Roger Lloyd-Jones as Starveling, Huw Rose as Snout and Ian Rowe as Snug.

They will join a professional RSC cast of 18, as well as the legendary theatre company’s creative team, led by RSC deputy artistic director and director of ‘A Play For The Nation’, Erica Whyman.

“The experience of casting our amateur actors all around the UK has been inspiring and humbling,” she said.

“I have met so many wonderful people; talented, dedicated and brave.

“The standard has been tremendous, the wonderful diversity of men and women who will take on these major roles is exciting.”

Initially, they will work under Poulton director Tony Stone, above with the cast, centre, before joining with the RSC in the new year.

After the tour, the production will return to the RSC’s Stratford home, where each cast will have the chance to take the historic stage.

Tony said: “This has already been the ultimate experience for both myself as director and the hard-working cast from Poulton Drama.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dreamis at the Grand Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday, April 5 to 9 2016. Tickets £19, now on sale, call 01253 290190.

Anna Cryer