Theatre NorthWest is bringing an outdoor theatre experience to Prince George by presenting William Shakespeare’s most popular play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Northern Lights Estate Winery amphitheatre.
Produced with a local cast and crew, the play will be performed in its original language but set in the 1950’s in Athens, Georgia.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies which contains interconnecting plots that tell the tale of four loves who find themselves bewitched by fairies.
“It is a very lighthearted show, although there are some dark overtones in it – there’s betrayal – but balanced with magic and comedy,” says director, Melissa Glover.
When adapting the play, Glover said she wanted to set it in the 1950s because of the post-World War II societal changes that were taking place, especially in the U.S., which make that decade a specifically interesting time period.
“They were kind of questioning where our identifies fall and so we have the birth of rock and roll and music which reflected the society at the time,” adds Glover.
“We also get to play around with some gender swaps and the woods represent the free aspects of ‘we can love who we want to love out there' and it doesn’t matter.”
In terms of the play being performed outside, Glover said it’s an exciting opportunity.
“I think with the last two years going inside a building can be a bit scary for people so being outdoors offers a bit more accessibility for people and it is just a beautiful landscape here in Prince George that as actors we don’t get to play with very much so to be able to have that opportunity is really exciting.”
This production will be the first time a play has been performed at the Northern Lights Estate Winery’s amphitheatre set in the orchard overlooking the Nechako River.
“Theatre Northwest was a huge inspiration for us when we built this amphitheatre and we designed it in a way that we wanted the community to come in and be able to use it and it is just so thrilling to be able to do that now,” said Northern Lights owner Doug Bell.
“This is the first play that will be hosted we have had concerts, weddings, movie nights, we have had tacos and sangria, a variety of other things and but we have never had the opportunity to do this so we are just thrilled.”
It will also be the first Theatre Northwest play for local actor Rory Polson, who plays Demetrius.
“There’s a lot to see, especially this play, there’s a lot of fun moments, there’s a lot of sad moments, and there’s a lot of drama. Hopefully, we can make you laugh,” said Polson, who added he’s excited to perform outdoors.
The production begins Thursday, June 9 and runs until Sunday, June 12. Tickets are available online or at Studio 2880.