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Programme

Welcome to our online programme for our production of Midsummer. 

To reduce waste and with an ecologically conscious production we have decided to create a digital programme accessible only to those who have attended our production. Here you can find out more about the production, the people who created it, and the performers in it.

THE CAST

THE PRODUCTION TEAM

DIRECTOR

CHARLOTTE JACOBS

PRODUCER

STEVE WILLIAMS

ASSISTANT PRODUCER

CATHY TREBLE

STAGE MANAGER

PETER NICHOLSON

SOUND

JACOB FRIETT

LIGHTING

ANDREW SMITH

COSTUME

SANDIE PETERS & SAMANTHA LITHCO

SET CONSTRUCTION

TONY JENNER, STEVE WILLIAMS, PETER NICHOLSON

SET DESIGN & DECORATION

CATHY TREBLE, CHARLOTTE JACOBS, JESSICA-ANN JENNER, GEORGINA LITHCO

DIRECTOR'S NOTES

Midsummer is an adaptation that takes Shakespeare’s classic, A Midsummer  Night’s Dream, and reframes it in every sense for today’s contemporary audience. What was once a lengthy, five-act play is now a one-act version that moves at a break neck pace, allowing for more new elements while keeping the characters and their world intact. Likeable, well known characters find themselves caught in one magical misunderstanding after another, offering plenty of laughs with a somber undertone. Its run time is that of an average feature length film so no late finishes here! 

 

This new world of Midsummer is connected to our societal concerns today, namely an impending extinction of nature and our eco systems. In the opening  of the play we find that magic has disappeared, only survived by a plastic forest that is ‘as rotten as ever oak was sound’  and the fabled sprite Puck finds themself alone, last keeper of the magic of nature. Puck decides on one last attempt, to bring back The Fairy King and Queen, creating chaos as they puppeteer wandering hapless mechanicals to relive fabled tales under the intoxicating power of their spell casting. This magic infused world required a much more physical approach to theatre where audiences could see the manipulation of these characters against their will right before their eyes, finding that the magic of this piece doesn't exist solely in the words but the spaces in between them also.

 

In keeping with the themes of the piece, all set and costumes for this production are made from recycled and upcycled materials and marks our first production made in accordance with The Theatre Green Book guidelines, an initiative we at Sevenoaks Shakespeare are committed to for all future open air productions to follow. This meant we had to find innovative ways to create the aesthetic of '90's grunge fairy core', so the flowers on set are made from waste plastic bottles, the abstract tree structure made from discarded pallet wood, its vines from bottle tops and ambient light from solar garden lights donated by cast and crew members. Similarly, costumes were made from upcycled materials paired with cast's own clothes and adorned with hand made flowers from the same materials. Puck's hat was knitted by a cast family member and anything that was bought was found in charity shops. 

 

Another reason this production is so unique is the script itself, carefully constructed by Tilt Yard Theater; it incorporates famous lines from all of Shakespeare’s other play scripts so to the observant Shakespeare fan there are many Easter eggs to enjoy and the result is a testament to the poetical genius of Shakespeare himself, a love letter to the bard.

We have had great fun putting this show together and we are sure you will have just as much fun watching it!

Now... Play out the play!

Charlotte Jacobs, Director.

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SPECIAL THANKS

This production, like all theatrical endeavors, has been a team effort with all members of the cast and production team lending their time and energy to create a brilliant show for our audiences. In addition, special thanks must go to Tony Jenner and Bromley Little Theatre for helping us construct the set, namely the abstract tree and trash heap. Also to Sandie and Samantha who have worked together to create beautiful and functional costumes. 

We are grateful to The Rising Sun, Twitton for providing our audiences with a bar and hot food. And finally, to Nick and The Archbishop's Palace for hosting our production and to the local residents.

THEATRE GREEN BOOK

The Theatre Green Book is an initiative by the whole of the theatre industry to work more sustainably. Trialled and operated by West End and high profile theatre makers such as the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sevenoaks Shakespeare is following suit and working to make our open air productions even more green. 

 

During our 2024 season, we will be developing and working to a practice of environmental sustainability in all of our work. While we have always had this as a background focus, from now on we will be bringing this to the fore of our work. Using this production of ‘Midsummer’ as a pilot scheme for this, we are following the principles of the Theatre Green Book, aiming for 50% of production materials (including set, costumes, props, and technical aspects of the show) to have had a previous life, and at least 50% of used materials to go on to a future life beyond the show. Where possible, this means the resources we use should be from recycled, recyclable, and ethically sourced origins. The materials used will then go on to be used in future productions, or are able to be recycled appropriately. 

In future years we will be looking at stepping up our commitment from a baseline to an intermediate level (from a 50% past life/re-use, increasing to a 75% commitment), beginning the process of mapping our carbon footprint, and examining the environmental impact of open air/touring theatre. We have even, with this production you are watching, designed the set in such a way that every part of it can be built only when needed and removed at the end of each performance, to lessen our impact on this location. 

 

Moving forward, we will then be expanding this scheme further into our main Summer production of ‘As You Like It’ and from August 2024 onwards, it will be standard practice on all future Sevenoaks Shakespeare productions. It is part of our ongoing commitment to create theatre that uses less resources, recycles more, and controls energy usage in all aspects of our productions.

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THE ARCHBISHOP'S PALACE

There has been a palace on this site since 821.  In 791 (or possibly in the preceding year) Offa, the King of Mercia, gave lands at Otford to Christ Church, Canterbury. Further gifts of land were made in 820 and 821.  The first, by Coenwulf, the Mercian King and son of Offa, and in the following year by Ceolwulf, his brother and successor, who donated to Otford lands bordering the East bank of the River Darent between Shoreham and today’s Bat and Ball.  Over the next seven centuries, the original house was extended, wooden structures were replaced by stone until, in the early 16th Century, Archbishop William Warham created his magnificent Palace by adding the North, West and East ranges, and rebuilt much of the Moated Manor at the Southern side of the site.  Otford Palace was home to 56 Archbishops of Canterbury until, in 1537, Henry VIII ‘persuaded’ Archbishop Thomas Cranmer to give him the Palaces of Otford and Knole.

Otford Palace was used as the principal venue for entertaining: Knole (about 6km to the South) was the private retreat.  It was many notable visitors including Cardinal Campeggio, Warham’s good friend Erasmus, Holbein and of course, King Henry VIII.  It remained in Royal ownership until Elizabeth I sold it to Robert Sidney who converted part of the North Range into a hunting lodge.  Over the next three hundred years the Palace fell into disrepair and was robbed for building materials.  It was saved from housing development by a public campaign in 1935 and the ruins were transferred to Sevenoaks Rural Council (now Sevenoaks District Council - SDC).  There were emergency repairs in the 1960’s, 1982, and again in 2017.

Over the past three years, the Archbishop’s Palace Conservation Trust has undertaken building stabilisation work on the Tower, to repair the stone and brickwork, and then glaze the building.

Between now and the spring of 2028, the Trust intends to restore the north range of Otford’s historic Tudor Archbishop’s Palace. In so doing they will deliver both a fascinating structure containing a vibrant and compelling interpretation and study centre; exploring the history of the Palace, its constructor and visitors, and bringing into perspective the wider ecological and historical importance of Otford and the Darent Valley. 

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THE RISING SUN
TWITTON

A traditional, family run Pub in Otford with a beautiful beer garden.

Many thanks to The Rising Sun who are providing our audiences with delicious hot food and a bar. You can find out more about this beautiful Pub through their social media linked below!

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OUR NEXT PRODUCTION
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Our summer production this year is As You Like It directed by Tony Jenner.

Performed at The White Rock Inn from the 27th - 30th June and the 4th - 7th July.

Then performed at St. Briavels Castle from the 13th-14th July.

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