Shakespeare in the Ruff's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM to Cast a Spell Over Withrow Park

Shakespeare in the Ruff's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM to Cast a Spell Over Withrow Park

Shakespeare in the Ruff presents "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare, running August 15 - September 3rd in Withrow Park.

Featuring Dora award winning actor Michelle Polak as Titania, Nikki Duval (Workin' Moms) as Bottom, AJ Richardson as Oberon (Macbeth-Ruff), Eva Barrie as Helena, Jonelle Gunderson as Hermia, Joella Crichton as Lysandra, Danny Ghantous (Salt Water Moon-NAC) as Demetrius and Tim Welham as Puck.

"When most I dream, then do mine eyes best see"

For us, Shakespeare's plays provide the framework to reflect the diversity & vitality of our audiences and our city. It is an opportunity to manifest the world we want while re-examining and reflecting the one in which we live.

Helmed by director Megan Watson (2018: The Glass Menagerie, Grand Theatre) with choral music composed by Maddie Bautista (Nightswimming Artist-in-Residence), this Dream showcases a world Watson describes as "post-gender but pro-sex." It's a sensual, surreal landscape, where fairies, humans and mechanicals jockey for supremacy over who gets to stake out the territory of your subconscious. With these female powerhouses leading the production, Joella Crichton playing Lysandra and Nikki Duval playing the iconic role of Bottom, we are recalibrating the gender imbalance in Shakespeare to further reflect and celebrate our community.

Bautista began her singing at age 10 in an underground children's choir in Saudi Arabia - the only one in the Middle East. There, she experienced the healing power of music by singing for displaced Filipina domestic workers. Now Bautista is taking the helm of Ruff's 17-member Community Choir. Her compositions feature Filipino folk elements, Arabic scales, and Spanish rhythms, all reimagined for a Toronto audience. The sound of the world that Watson and Bautista are building is ancient, vast, and draws on many cultures, which will resonate in different ways for each audience member.

Using dreams as a jumping-off point for design, Nick Blais (set and lighting) and Erin Gerofsky (costumes) have created a world replete with contrasting layers of form and meaning that coalesce to tell a story that will enchant, inspire and challenge our audiences.

For 6 years now, Ruff's audiences know that when they arrive for a night in Withrow Park, they will not be getting traditional Shakespeare. From a female Romeo to a puppet Macbeth, our audiences come back year after year to reimagine these classic characters and stories. This Midsummer Night's Dream promises a magical venture into the poetic possibilities of our minds and our world.



VENUE: Withrow Park, 725 Logan Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 3B9.
This year, we are located in the middle of the park between the two large Willow trees

DATES: August 15th - September 3rd Tuesdays - Sundays. 8pm.
August 22 is a relaxed performance.

TICKETS: Pay-What-You-Can on site, or available here for a set price:


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