Organisations across the West Midlands have come together to devise an online programme of events for the online Midsummer Festival, which is on from today (Saturday) from morning to late night – see link below
Whether you want to don a donkey’s head a la Bottom, Druids’ robes or stay in your PJs and watching on a laptop while in bed (my preferred choice!) there’s nothing stopping you, anything goes at Midsummer.
The RSC are very involved with Midsummer Festival, and here Events Manager Hannah Moore tells us about that.
Can you sum up the Midsummer?
We’re celebrating all the amazing work that is being done by all the organisations and individuals across the region. The Midsummer Festival is the first of that – obviously it has to be online and it’s been interesting for everyone who usually does their work live to see how we can creatively get an online programme together. It has been new experience for all of us.
Tell us what the RSC is up to.
Everything that we’re doing involves A Midsummer Night’s Dream, either excerpts from the play or inspired by it in another way. What has been a real positive from lockdown is how everyone all around the world has been creatively making things – funny films and videos for example. So we wanted to capture that escapism and celebration; and we’re messing about with that. We turn up at three points in the programme today. One is the Mechanicals who as they can’t in the forest for rehearsals in lockdown have to meet over Zoom, and all the technical disasters that can go with that.
As MSND is so full of imagery and the natural world we’re also doing Wild Thyme Stories – based on the Oberon’s speech “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows…”
We are also inviting people to make their own video love song to things from the natural world that they have discovered during lockdown. Some of the actors have captured what they see as they walk along the river in Stratford, with a voice over – it’s funny, playful and creative.
Midsummer is very magical but does it have special significance of this year?
I think it’s many things – Midsummer is about a turning point in time. We’ve had such good weather in lockdown, lots of people would be going out to festivals or having outdoor arts experiences, and so to be part of this that is a marker is significant. The programme ends with a live dance hosted by DanceXchange, it’s a chance to let your hair down and have a good time, and reflect on the turning of the year.
If you could get Oberon or Titania to cast some magic, what would you wish for?
For everyone to find a moment of peace – for people to feel strong in themselves, that’s what we need at the moment.
The full programme of events can be viewed here