ACTORS FROM GLASGOW CAST IN RSC’s PRODUCTION OF A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

Six amateur actors from Glasgow have been cast in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s forthcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Part of The Citizens Dream Players they will play the roles of the ‘Mechanicals’ when the production visits the Citizens Theatre between 29 March – 2 April 2016.

Some of Shakespeare’s best loved characters, the ‘Mechanicals’ (including the iconic role of Bottom the Weaver) are an under-prepared, yet loveable bunch of craftsmen and women who put themselves forward to entertain royalty at the end of the play.  In Glasgow the roles will be played by:

David Scanlan (Quince, the Carpenter), Katy Thomson (Snout, the Tinker), Emma Tracey (Starveling, the Tailor), Martin Turner (Bottom, the Weaver), Alistair Wales (Flute, the Bellows Mender) and Bill Whiland (Snug, the Joiner).

Martin Turner has been acting in amateur productions for 40 years, the father of two has starred in A Midsummer Night’s Dream before as lover Demetrius and this will be his first time playing Bottom. Both Alistair Wales and Katy Thomson began acting from an early age. Katy joined her local theatre group at age seven and Alistair has been acting since he was eight years old. Their roles as Flute and Snout will be the first time they have performed Shakespeare. Glasgow born Emma Tracey is currently studying acting and performing at Glasgow Clyde College and has been acting since she was 10. David Scanlan from Paisley has been acting for four years and currently holds a BA in Commercial Music from University of Paisley. Bill Whiland, a former policeman has just started acting but it has always been a lifelong ambition to perform on stage. 

The group will perform alongside a cast of 18 professional actors and a professional creative team, led by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman. Initially the amateur actors will rehearse in Glasgow with Citizens Theatre Associate Director (Citizens Learning), Guy Hollands. They will then rehearse with the RSC team from January 2016. Guy has been working as a director and drama worker in the theatre community in Scotland for over 24 years. He has made work and taught in schools, youth theatres, community settings, and further and higher education establishments as well as directing in the professional theatre sector. Guy’s directing work for the Citizens Theatre includes Southside Stories, Sports Day, Othello, The Wizard of Oz, Hamlet, Hansel and Gretel, Bauble Trouble, Yellow Moon, The Monster in the Hall and Waiting for Godot.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation will visit 12 theatres in each region and nation of the UK between 17 February and 4 June 2016, and will involve 14 different amateur theatre companies.  In each theatre a different local amateur theatre company will play the Mechanicals*, and local school children will take part as Titania’s fairy train. 

The production opens in Stratford-upon-Avon in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in February 2016.  After the UK tour, it will return to Stratford-upon-Avon in June 2016, and each of the 14 amateur companies, including The Citizens Dream Players will reprise their roles on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage.

Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, and director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation, said:
“I am absolutely thrilled to be directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play For the Nation, as part of the RSC’s plans to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016.  The experience of casting our amateur actors all around the UK has been inspiring and humbling.  I have met so many wonderful people:  talented, dedicated and brave.  The standard has been tremendous, and the wonderful diversity of men and women who will be taking on these major roles is very exciting, and perhaps most importantly, they have really made us laugh!  In every single region the cast we have chosen has a distinctive voice and a strong sense of connection to the place where they will perform.  I think it will be a real treat for audiences everywhere to see Shakespeare’s most magical play with a properly local flavour.”

Talking specifically of The Citizens Dream Players Erica added:
“We cast The Citizens Dream Players from nearly 100 individual actors who bravely auditioned for us on a cold day in February. We are extremely excited about this brand new amateur company and blown away by the great actors we saw! Martin is an impassioned Bottom, which works especially well with David’s gritty and determined Quince. Bill secured the role of Snug with his heartbreaking rendition of Yeats’ poem ‘The Cloths of Heaven’, and Emma, one of our youngest amateur actors will be a very spirited Starveling the tailor. Alistair is a delicate looking young man with most wonderful deep voice, ideal for Flute who has to play a woman! And Katy had a lovely bright confidence as Snout the tinker. They are going to represent the great city of Glasgow magnificently.”

Speaking about the partnership between the RSC and The Citizens Dream Players, director Guy Hollands said:
“At the Citizens Theatre, we are delighted to be embarking upon this bold and exciting adventure in partnership with the RSC.  I am personally hugely looking forward to helping our own cast of local ‘Mechanicals’ rise to the challenge of portraying some of Shakespeare’s best-loved characters in one of his most popular plays and of sharing the stage – both here in Glasgow and at the RSC’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon – with some of the best professional actors in the UK.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation is a co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and amateur theatre companies across the UK. This is an arrangement developed between the RSC and Equity.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation is supported by Arts Council England Cross-Border Touring Fund

Tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are on sale now and available from citz.co.uk or by calling the Box Office on 0141 429 0022.

For more information, interviews and images, or to request tickets, please contact Claire Lowney, Marketing Officer, 0141 418 6232, claire@citz.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS
A photo of the actors and director from The Citizens Dream Players cast in the production is available on request

A video trailer featuring all 14 of the actors playing Bottom can be seen:
https://www.youtube.com/user/theRSC

LISTINGS
The Royal Shakespeare Company in association with The Citizens Dream Players and the Citizens Theatre present
A MISUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM:
A Play For The Nation
By William Shakespeare

Dates: Tue 29 Mar – Sat 2 Apr 2016, 7.30pm
Preview: Tue 29 March
Matinees: 31 Mar, 11.30pm & Sat 2 April 2.30pm

Tickets £9.50 - £22.50

Bookings: citz.co.uk / 0141 429 0022

Full tour schedule
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Wed17 Feb – Sat 5 Mar 2016*
Northern Stage, NewcastleWed 16 – Sat 26 Mar 2016*
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow Tue 29 Mar – Sat 2 Apr 2016
Grand Theatre, BlackpoolTue 5 – Sat 9 Apr 2016
Bradford Alhambra, Tue12 – Sat 16 Apr 2016
Marlowe Theatre, CanterburyTue 19 – Sat 23 Apr 2016
Theatre Royal, NorwichTue 26 – Sat 30 Apr 2016
Nottingham Theatre Royal, Tue3 – Sat 7 May 2016
Hall for Cornwall, TruroTue 10 – Sat 14 May 2016
Barbican, LondonTue 17 – Sat 21 May 2016
New Theatre, CardiffTue 24 – Sat 28 May 2016
Grand Opera House, BelfastTue 31 May – Sat 4 June 2016
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wed 15 June – Sat 16 July 2016+

*2 amateur theatre groups will perform in both Stratford-upon-Avon and Newcastle.
+ All 14 amateur theatre groups will perform in Stratford-upon-Avon when the production returns in June 2016

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