Islington am-dram group Tower Theatre to perform with Royal Shakespeare Company

The Tower Theatre Company on stage at the barbican. Picture: Topher McGrilli

The Tower Theatre Company on stage at the barbican. Picture: Topher McGrilli - Credit: Archant

A GP and a private hire driver will share the stage with theatre professionals when an amateur-dramatics group performs with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) on its touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

After hundreds of applications, the Islington-based Tower Theatre Company (TTC) was chosen as one of 14 am-dram groups from across the UK who are taking on the role of The Rude Mechanicals – the six characters, including Bottom, who perform Pyramus and Thisbe the ‘play within a play’ – for A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation.

TTC will perform with the RSC for four nights at the Barbican when the tour arrives in the capital on May 17, before sharing the run with the other 13 groups when the production finishes in Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, in June.

“It was like being asked to play a quarter of a game for Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium,” says TTC director David Taylor. “The RSC wanted to make the show as inclusive as possible.

“To play the Mechanicals, who are working people, they wanted real working people. It’s a very neat idea because it means that you have engagement with each place and each community wherever they go, and it gives a huge number of people the chance to play these roles.”


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The show, which has been brought forward to the 1940s, was also the subject of a BBC documentary, which followed the audition process to find the UK’s best am-dram groups.

The tour began in Stratford-Upon-Avon in February with west midlands am-dram groups The Nonentities and The Bear Pit before travelling to Newcastle, Glasgow, Blackpool, Bradford, Canterbury, Norwich, Nottingham and Truro. After stopping in London, it will go onto Cardiff and Belfast before returning to Stratford where each group will perform for two nights each.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation runs from May 17 until May 21. barbican.org.uk.

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