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Northern Ballet, Britain’s favourite ballet company, presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream

13 – 26 Jan 2014

Northern Ballet brings its magic to Shakespeare's most bewitching play in this critically acclaimed dance version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The romantic antics of a touring dance company are played out on one midsummer night as the company travels by sleeper train from London to Edinburgh. Dior inspired costumes and stylish black and white sets provide a dazzling contrast to the glorious Technicolor of the dream-world, whilst David Nixon's choreography brings out the comedy, romance and entanglements of this enchanting story. Set to music by Mendelssohn and Brahms, A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of NB's most magical productions.
Act One

Ballet studio - Midsummer Day

Class ends, and the company prepare for a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet. The Artistic Director, Theseus, soon to be married to Hippolyta, his Principal Dancer, has decided it is time for her to bring her career to a close, and to remove her from her role as Juliet. He is encouraged by his Ballet Master, Robin Puck, to select his protégée Demetrius as Romeo to Hermia's Juliet. She wants to dance the role with Lysander as they are in love. Demetrius is also at the moment infatuated with Hermia and has jilted her best friend Helena. To complicate matters further, Nick Bottom, the company carpenter, is in love with Hippolyta. The rehearsal disintegrates and Theseus angrily calls it to a halt and the company disperses to prepare for the overnight train journey to their touring engagement in Edinburgh.

Left alone Hippolyta contemplates life without dance, and though Theseus attempts to persuade her towards her new life as his wife, she breaks from him in distress, leaving him alone in the studio.

Puck retrieves and pockets Hippolyta's discarded pointe shoes from the studio as the shadows darken.

Kings Cross Station - evening

The dancers and crew board the sleeper, en route for Edinburgh.

The Flying Scotsman

On the train tempers and sleeping arrangements are affected by the day's events. The train enters the tunnel to begin its journey North into Midsummer Night.

Act Two

Fairyland - Midsummer Night

As Theseus sleeps, he dreams. His status alters and he is Oberon, King of Fairyland, warring with his Queen, Titania, mirroring the problems of real life. Everyone, including the audience, enters his dream. Initially Oberon is intent on punishing Titania and sends his henchman Puck to find the magical juice that will cause her to fall in love with the next living creature that she sees, preferably a wild animal!

Puck, discovering Nick Bottom in his dream rehearsing as Romeo with the crew, transforms him into a donkey and leads him to the sleeping Fairy Queen. The charm works and Titania takes the delighted donkey to her bower, deleriously in love.
Through the shortest night the young couples' confusions grow as Puck mistakenly places the love juice on Lysander's eyes who falls instantly in love with Helena. Puck and Oberon finally release them all from the spell and the Fairy King and his Queen move beyond anger and manipulation and are lovingly reconciled.

Act Three

The train and Edinburgh Waverley Station – Morning

Arriving at their destination the next morning, the company awake to the new day, sleepily recalling their dreams and leave the train for the theatre in wonder, at their reconciliation and new found happiness.

The Theatre - Night

The audiences enthusiastically applaud the end of Romeo and Juliet, danced by Hermia and Demetrius. The company congratulate them and happily celebrate the engagement of all three couples with a backstage party. As the evening ends, Puck gathers up the remnants of the dream.