A Midsummer Night's Dream (Queensland Theatre Co)

QTC The Queensland Theatre Company

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Queensland Theatre Company

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare, in Albert Park, Brisbane from the 26th of September to the 6th of October 1979 for the Queensland Theatre Company.

Directed by Alan Edwards; Designed by Peter Cooke; Assistant Director: Geoffrey Rush; Lighting Design by Derek Campbell; Conducted by Brian Stacey; Musical Supervision by Ronald Hamner; Stage Managed by Ellen Kennedy; Deputy Stage Managed by Victor Ashelford; Trainee Production Assistant Toby Simkin; Fireworks by Howard Pyrotechnics; Headdresses by Jenifer Muir-Smith; Artistic Director of The Queensland Ballet Company: Harold Collins; Artistic Director of The Australian Youth Ballet: Inara Svalbe; Director of The Queensland Opera Company: John Thompson; Mendlessohns’s music for this production recorded by The Queensland Theatre Orchestra and musical coordinator Ron Hanmer.

STARRING Robert van Mackelenberg (Theseus / Oberon); Douglas Hedge (Philostrate / Puck); Ken Kennett (Egeus / Quince); Gregory Gesch (Lysander); Frank Garfield (Demetrius); Reg Gillam (Bottom); Geoffrey Rush (Flute); Rod Wissler (Snout); Jim Porter (Snug); Michael McCaffrey (Starveling); Judith Anderson (Hippolyta / Titania); Suzanne Roylance (Hermia); Kerry McGuire (Helena); Rosemary Ricketts (First Fairy); Phyllis Ball and Sally Robertson (Sang the Mendelssohn Duets) with singers from The Queensland Opera Company Maree Timchur (Peaseblossom); Sally Taylor (Cobweb); Krista Reeves (Moth); Anne Bazeley (Mustardseed); Jade Huckins (Indian Boy); Garry Doherty and Paul Galbraith (Attendants on Theseus); with dancers of The Queensland Ballet Company: Helen Booth (credited in program but did not perform due to injury); Jenny Castle, Janine Claire, Robyn Harvey (un-credited in program but performed entire season covering Helen Booth), Jacki (Jacqueline) Kay, Diane Storer, Janet Walsh, Owen AndersonGarry Doherty, Paul Galbraith, Trevor Green, Donald Macleod, William (Bill) Pengelly, along with dancers of The Australian Youth Ballet: Anne Bazeley, Lisa Bolte, William Burke, Paul Hourigan, Jade Huckins, Jacinta Kinnane, Leanne Mauchlin, Krista Reeves, Sally Taylor, Maree Timchur, Nadia Thompson and Susan Walsh.

Understudies Kate Richter (female roles); Brian Plumb (male roles) and Robyn Harvey (ballet)

Dogs included BillContrary MaryMcConachieSteady Teddy and Wilhelmina from the Dalmation Society of Queensland.

And for the Queensland Theatre Company:
(collectively over my tenure)

Executive Staff: Alan Edwards, AM MBE (Founding Artistic Director); Joe MacColum / John Krummel OAM / Gregory Gesch (Resident Director); Peter Duncan* (Assistant Director); Arthur Frame AM (Production Manager); Gillian Coar (Executive Officer); Christine WalshKen Kennett OAM (Public Relations & Publicity Officer); June Craw OAM (Finance and Business Officer); Lewis Savage (Ticketing & Subscriptions Officer); Helen Mayes (Clerical Assistant); Lloyd Nickson (Director, Theatre in Education); Richard Magnus (Fundraising Chairman); Diane Leith (Administration) and Susan BonningJennie Lewis (Receptionist).

Production Staff: Graham MacleanJames Ridewood (Resident Designer); Bill ShannonBeverley Hill (Design Assistant); Caroline Gyucha (Scenic Artist); James Henson (Lighting Designer); David Lees (Electrician); Michael WormaldGary CameronPaul ParkinsonDavid Palm (Properties); Howard Steele (Head Carpenter); Des Dougan / Peter Vosiliunas (Carpenter); Cornelis Boogaart* (Apprentice Carpenter); Marie Perry-WatsonLexi WrightJay Mansfield-Askew / Cynthia Bowen (Wardrobe Supervisor); Ken Bushby / Thelma CopeMeredith Fogg / Margaret ReevesDanny Healy / Arlie McGill / Anne Long / Kerry Yates (Wardrobe); Ellen Kennedy / David McCrudden / Kit Oldfield / Patrick Whelan / Kristin Reuter / Jan Levi / Victor Ashelford / Colin Wilson / Barry Melville / Toby Simkin / Brian Barnes / Vito Arena / Peter Reeve± / Sussanne Humphries / Julianne White (Stage Management); Vicki BirchYvette (Capt) O’Brien (Production Secretary); Dawn Grieg (Wardrobe Hire) and Ivan/Gloria Pierce, Gregory Gesch & Derrick George (Photographers).

Representation: Yolande BirdDiana Franklin (London Representative); Michael Menzies / Stuart Thompson (New York Representative) and John Krummel OAM (Sydney Casting & Repertoire Consultant).

S.G.I.O. Theatre Staff: Jim Wright (Manager); Alban RileyDon Fergusson (Assistant Manager); Peter PetrovichRay Calcutt (Head Mechanist); Patrick (Paddy) Teuma / David Malacari (Head Electrician) and Dallas Black / Kay Fifas (Booking Office)

Albert Park Theatre Staff: Wayne McKenna (House Manager); Margo Morris (Box Office)

Associate Artists: Bille Brown AM; Carol Burns; Reginald Cameron OAMIvar Kants; Joe MacColum; Warren Mitchell; James Ridewood, Cliff Simcox; Babette Stephens AM MBE and Geraldine Turner OAM.

QTC Guild: Magda Wollner (Coordinator); Alice BeacroftJoan Chamberlain, Bobbie Glyn Evans, Maureen Fallon, Sonja FarmerBeryl Foote, Neil FulwoodDolores Garland, Elaine Heath, Edna HeathwoodMargaret Hill, Ena Huppert, June Jamieson, Eva Klug, Irene Lefman, Patrick Mellick, Hillary MostenMaureen Mortensen, Barbara Nielsen, Joyce Nixon Smith, Gloria Phillips, Vivienne Reddy, Marea Reed, Melina Reed, Margaret Robinson, Grace Reynolds, June Sheedy, Ann Shevill, Toby SimkinSybil Simpson, Elaine SkinnerAnne Smith and Jess Yeowart (Volunteers)

* Salaries were assisted by a special grant from the Theatre Board of the Australia Council, a statutory body of the Commonwealth Government.
± Services were provided by the National Institute of Dramatic Art.
^ Services were provided courtesy of the Queensland Theatre Orchestra

The Queensland Theatre Company acknowledged the financial assistance of the Queensland State Government and the Commonwealth Government through the Theatre Board of the Australia Council without which the continued operation of the Company would not have been possible. The Queensland Theatre Company was a founding member of CAPPA (Confederation of Australia Professional Performing Arts)


Four Athenians run away to the forest only to have Puck the fairy make both of the boys fall in love with the same girl. The four run through the forest pursuing each other while Puck helps his master play a trick on the fairy queen. In the end, Puck reverses the magic, and the two couples reconcile and marry.

A Midsummer Nights Dream iconAs Duke Theseus prepares for his marriage to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, he is interrupted by a courtier, Egeus. Egeus asks for the Duke to intervene in a dispute. His daughter, Hermia, will not agree to marry Demetrius (whom Egeus has chosen for her) because she loves a gentleman named Lysander. The Duke asks Hermia to be obedient to her father. He offers her one of two options: she must either die or accept a celibate life as a nun in Diana’s temple.

Naturally upset with the offer, Lysander and Hermia plan to elope and share their secret with Helena, Hermia’s friend. Helena is desperately in love with Demetrius, who seems to have abandoned her in favour of Hermia. At night, Lysander and Hermia escape from Athens; but they soon lose their way in the woods. After Helena tells him of their intention to defy the law, Demetrius decides to follow the lovers into the woods. In turn, Helena follows Demetrius in the hope that he will give up on Hermia and choose her instead.

Meanwhile, a group of working men are preparing a play of the tragic love-story of Pyramus and Thisbe to present before the Duke Theseus on his wedding day. Nick Bottom, the weaver, is to play the lover Pyramus, while Flute, the bellows-mender, begrudgingly agrees to play Thisbe.

Oberon, there King of the Fairies—has recently quarrelled with his queen, Titania. She acquired a magical child from one of her waiting women, and now refuses to hand him over to Oberon to use as a page. Oberon begins to plot a way to get revenge on Titania for her disobedience. He sends his fairy servant, Puck, to fetch a purple flower with juice that makes people fall in love with the next creature they see.

Afterwards, Oberon overhears Helena and Demetrius arguing in the forest. Oberon hears Demetrius mistreat Helena and tells Puck to anoint ‘the Athenian’, so Demetrius will fall in love with the first person that he sees. Puck mistakes the Athenian and puts the flower juice on the eyes of the sleeping Lysander. When he is woken by Helena, he immediately falls in love with her and rejects Hermia. When Demetrius rests, Oberon puts magic juice on his eyes, which makes him fall in love with Helena as well.

The workers’ rehearsals in the wood are overheard by Puck, who plays a trick on them by giving Bottom an ass’s head. After frightening the others away, Bottom is lured towards the sleeping Titania whom Oberon has anointed with Puck’s magic flower juice. On waking, the fairy queen falls in love with the ass and entertains him with her fairies.

Meanwhile, Demetrius and Lysander, still under the spell of the flower juice, pursue Helena. Hermia is jealous and confused about the lack of attention paid to her. Oberon and Puck watch the chaos, and Oberon commands Puck to put it right again. The lovers’ arguments have tired them all out as they have chased one another through the woods. Puck eventually distracts the two men from their pursuit of Helena by impersonating their voices, and they get lost in the woods. The four lovers fall asleep, exhausted. Puck places restorative juice on Lysander’s eyes.

After an afternoon of being pampered by Titania’s fairies, Bottom falls asleep beside her. Oberon restores Titania’s sight and wakes her (thank goodness). After expressing her dismay at the sight of Bottom, she reconciles with Oberon, and she ends up giving him the little Indian prince for his page. Bottom’s ass head is removed, and he returns to the city to rejoin his friends as they prepare to perform their play. The lovers are woken by Theseus and Hippolyta’s hunting party. Lysander sees Hermia and falls in love with her once again.

Happily reunited (Lysander with Hermia and Demetrius with Helena), they agree to share the Duke’s wedding day. The play of ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ is presented before the wedding guests. As the three couples retire to bed, Puck and the fairies return to bless the palace and its people.

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