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Perfect outdoor venue announced for MACT production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

THE beautifully-landscaped gardens at the Moree Town and Country Club will be the setting for Moree Arts Council Thespians’ new live theatre production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream when the first of five performances premieres on March 17.

Director Tim Barklay says the stunning gardens will provide a perfect backdrop to one of William Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies.

“It will be an open-air production and the club’s garden will create a magical and forest-like atmosphere,” Mr Barklay said.

“Of our five performances, one will be a matinee for school children and two will include a picnic dinner.

“The club offers the ideal outdoor setting, and the weather at that time of year will no doubt be perfect,” he said.

The MACT production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is performed, designed and directed by local talent, many of whom helped to reinvent – and reinvigorate – live theatre in Moree last year with the local production of The Red Barn.

In The Red Barn, Mr Barklay shone as cowardly village idiot Tim Bobbin, whose self-proclaimed wisdom and simple, yet refreshing outlook on life, won over the Moree audience.

This year he takes the director’s chair as well as a role as Snout, a member of a bumbling amateur theatre company rehearsing fervently for a royal wedding performance, one of the many subplots of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.NightsDream001

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a classic Shakespearean comedy that follows three separate but intertwining stories.

There are the four youths who run off into the forest for the sake of love, a lovers’ quarrel between the King and Queen of the fairies and the aforementioned theatre company rehearsing for a show to be performed before the Duke.

“The play is one of Shakespeare’s most accessible comedies and explores themes of love, sexuality, identity and gender,” Mr Barklay said.

Produced by well-known and much-loved Moree musician Stevie Drenkhahn, MACT’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream features a cast of local amateur thespians – both adults and children – ready to again have Moree audiences cheering for more.

Duke Theseus of Athens is played by Greg Cumberland, who weds Amazonian Queen Hippolyta in the woods – a magical place known as Fairyland.

The mixed-up quartet of lovers – Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena – is played by Clare Muggleton, Sam Penfold, Will Penfold and Bernadette Quirk respectively.

Anella Carroll is cast as Hermia’s father Egeus and Nicole Fitzgerald plays Philostrate, the Master of Revels at Theseus’ court.

The Mechanicals, the bumbling theatre company planning to perform at Duke Theseus’ and Queen Hippolyta’s wedding is headed up by Helena Ross (Peter Quince), Kate Brennan (Nick Bottom), Matt Ross (Francis Flute), Jason Barret (Robin Starveling), Tim Barklay (Tom Snout) and Kate Lumbar as the forgetful Snug, who readily admits to his vagueness “for I am slow of study”.

The band of fairies is led by Tom Tramby, who plays King Oberon, as well as Stevie Drenkhahn as Queen Titania and Greg Fisher, playing Oberon’s mischievous servant, Puck.

Aspiring young actors Ava Kellett, Lucy Carter, Isobella Donaldson, Bonnie Cumberland, Brennan Cumberland and Michelle Dunlop also play fairies with awe-inspiring names such as Pease-Blossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustard-Seed.

“The children cast as fairies are a wonderful group of kids and are really enjoying the entire process of theatre production,” Mr Barklay said.

Mr Barklay says William Shakespeare’s timeless comedic classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream will have audiences in stitches when the curtains roll back in late March.

“The show will be a hilarious and magical event that is not to be missed,” Mr Barklay said.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will premiere on Friday, March 17 with tickets available online from late February, details of which will be announced soon.

Words: Bill Poulos