The Royal Shakespeare Company
A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Erica Whyman

A co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and amateur companies across the UK

The Tower Theatre performing at the
RSC Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Evenings at 7.15 : Monday 11th & Tuesday 12th July, 2016

The Tower team performing at the Barbican Theatre

Photography by Topher McGrillis © Royal Shakespeare Company

This year, the RSC and amateur companies around the UK take you on a very special Midsummer adventure with a unique production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The nation's favourite Shakespeare play is performed as never before; magically intertwining professional and amateur actors, deep in an enchanted wood on Midsummer's night. During its tour of the UK, catch the show in Stratford-upon-Avon and on tour around the UK where regional amateur groups will perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The Tower Theatre group was selected as the RSC's London partner. Our team is led by David Taylor who is the main point of contact for the RSC. The Tower actors play the roles of the "mechanicals" - John Chapman (Bottom), Maria Waters (Quince), Adam Moulder (Flute), Peta Barker (Snug), Al Freeman (Snout) and Tom Tillery (Starveling). 18 professional actors play the other roles.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Play for the Nation is part of the RSC's plans to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. The RSC believes Shakespeare is a playwright for everyone, so what better way to mark his death than with this production which is touring all of the UK, involving professional and amateur theatre makers. The production involves 14 amateur theatre groups, each of which represents a region or nation of the UK.

Our performances in London were on Tue 17th - Sat 21st May at the Barbican. Coming up are a couple of performances on July 11th and 12th in the RSC theatre at Stratford-upon Avon.

Read all about the Tower team's journey from the first audition to now and beyond in John Chapman's Bottomdream blog!

This is an arrangement developed between the RSC and Equity.
Supported by Arts Council England Cross-Border Touring Fund.

At the Barbican : Al Freeman, Tom Tillery, Adam Moulder, David Taylor, Maria Waters, Peta Barker and John Chapman
Photo copyright : RSC/Topher McGrillis
By day John Chapman (@johnchapman398) works as a freelance education consultant and writer recently completing work for the BBC's Bitesize revision website. Prior to this he worked at the "chalkface" for rather longer than he cares to remember.
He has always been interested in the world of drama and in 2004 served as a panellist on the Olivier Awards, seeing a mammoth 70 productions in one year.
Not counting the odd (probably very odd) Nativity play, John first took to the stage as a schoolboy pretending to be a Latin frog; he has since been involved with over 140 productions. Favourite acting roles have been Hector in The History Boys (an award winner), Norman in The Norman Conquests, Felix in Humble Boy and Mr Micawber in David Copperfield (in London and at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall). Best directing jobs have been with The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Lord of The Flies, Glorious! and the ten works of Alan Ayckbourn which he has steered to a successful conclusion.
Currently with the Tower, John spent over 25 years with the Redbridge Stage Company. He is now proud to be working with the other, more famous, user of the same acronym.
Al Freeman has been a Tower member for over 40 years, although less active in recent years because of working as a Drama Teacher in Kent, where he directed musicals such as Guys and Dolls and West Side Story, and plays including Arturo Ui, Sergeant Musgrave's Dance, The Birthday Party and several productions for the National Theatre's Connections seasons of new writing for young people. He holds LAMDA and Guildhall teaching diplomas and has been working freelance for the last three years. Tower productions that Al particularly remembers working on include Burke's Company, Billy Liar, Look Back in Anger, The Alchemist, The Duchess of Malfi, Valmouth and Volpone. He loves going to the Minack, having been in Vivat, Vivat, Regina, the first Tower production there, and since in The Man of Mode, Little Shop of Horrors, Once in a Lifetime and David Copperfield amongst many others. He also played Mark Antony in Julius Caesar in Paris, as well as many other parts including Oberon, Leontes and Malvolio for the Polesden Lacey Open Air Shakespeare Company in Surrey.
Born and educated in the West of Scotland Tom Tillery's first stage appearance was as the Knave of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland while still a schoolboy over 60 years ago. He broadcast regularly on BBC Children's Hour before moving to London and joining the Tower Theatre in 1959. He has appeared in over 170 productions in London, the East and West Coasts of America, France (Arles and Paris), Austria, Germany, Gibraltar and Prague. He was in the London premieres of The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, Vatzlav, The Car Cemetery and This Was a Man.
He has appeared in 14 of Shakespeare's plays and has played Bottom, Theseus and Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Ventures into musicals have included Percival Browne in The Boy Friend, Cardinal Pirelli in Valmouth and the Emcee in Cabaret. Favourite roles include Jack in Home, Pickering in Pygmalion, Jaques in As You Like It and Sadie Spangle in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. He worked at the Royal Opera House as Music Librarian for over 25 years and contributed programme notes for the Royal Ballet, Sadlers Wells Ballet and the English National Ballet. His own programme collection contains over 6500 programmes. He was pleased to serve on the Olivier Awards Panel in 2004.
Maria Waters is a GP who works in Ealing and lives in Richmond. She loves performing in both musicals and plays and joined the Tower in 2008 for David Taylor's production of Putting it Together. Since then, she has performed in The Fabulous Eddie & Otis Soul Revue in 2009, and in 2012 played the Blues Singer in The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife and Dinah in Brighton Beach Scumbags. Favourite roles with other companies include Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Belle in My Favorite Year, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and Berthe in Boeing Boeing, all with SEDOS, as well as Beverley in Abigail's Party, Mrs Erlynne in Lady Windermere's Fan, Blanche in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Mrs Johnson in Blood Brothers, the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods, Phyllis in Follies, Lina Lamont in Singing the the Rain, Anita in West Side Story and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. She has directed a couple of shows, Little Shop of Horrors and Assassins. Maria also loves getting together with the boys in her old Medical School band from time to time, which is tricky as they are now scattered all over the country. They all performed together at a medical school reunion last year and in a music festival this summer.
Adam Moulder is a freelance Assistant Producer living in trendy Peckham Rye. His 'day' job usually entails producing sport for the television, predominantly tennis and motorsport for BT Sport and Eurosport. When not working at all hours of the day he is usually found at a rehearsal for a Tower Theatre, SEDOS, KDC, Centre Stage or other London amateur theatre company's latest production. Some of his favourite roles include Hamlet in The Tragedy of the Prince of Denmark, Lt. Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men, Bernard in Boeing Boeing, Hal in Proof, Lewis in Our House and Arvin in Zanna Don't! He has performed in a few other Shakespeares too : King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure, The Merry Wives of Windsor and is excited to be adding Dream to the list. Adam is a big fan of musicals and stand-up comedy when he's in the audience! Aside from theatre he enjoys watching all sports and playing a number too including tennis, cricket, golf, squash, skiing, running and wasting his time on Facebook and Twitter (@adammoulder).
Peta Barker was born in St. Vincent, West Indies and lives in Stoke Newington, London. His acting credits include : Ariel & Caliban (The Tempest), Macduff (Macbeth), Autolycus (The Winter's Tale), Iago (Othello), Mrs Yajnavalkya (Valmouth), The Voice of Audrey II - the Plant (Little Shop of Horrors), Mbongeni (Woza Albert! ), Scullery (Road), Ash (Dealer's Choice), Jack Mullen (The Weir), John (Shining City), Samuel Byck (Assassins), Derek (Brighton Beach Scumbags) and Hoke (Driving Miss Daisy). Directing credits include : Blue Remembered Hills, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Burn This, Lysistrata, The Blue Room, Brimstone and Treacle, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore.
He has also adapted Russell Hoban's novel, Kleinzeit, for the stage.
Peta plays drums and percussion, guitar and bass guitar, and has played in musicals including: The Wizard of Oz, Blues Brothers, Chicago, Mr Cinders, The Producers, Return to the Forbidden Planet and Annie.
Peta works as a Private Hire driver, and continues to be amazed by the wealth of cultural diversity and the rich architectural history of London.
David Taylor lives in Islington off the Caledonian Road by the canal. Early years were spent tinkering with model theatres and doing school plays but his first directing job for the Tower Theatre (as a very young man) was The Boy Friend in 1975. Since then he has directed and designed and occasionally acted in a wide range of shows. Favourite play productions include Pygmalion, Nicholas Nickleby, My Night With Reg, As You Like It and Lark Rise, and favourite musicals include Mr Cinders, West Side Story, On The Town, Blitz, Valmouth, Sail Away and Guys and Dolls. His last production was The Producers which won the 2014 Minack trophy. He is a part time manager with the Crossrail project and says sorry to anyone fed up with the disruption caused.

An audio recording of the final scene of A Midsummer Night's Dream prepared by the team as part of the rehearsal process in preparation for the project ...

Recording engineer : Leon Chambers