India // Theatre  

A Midsummer Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare

June 6 – 15, 2008

Presented by
Toronto Star and Desi Life

A Dream that transcends language itself; a Dream as gorgeous to the senses as it is thrilling to the mind; a Dream beyond your wildest imaginings. This Indian Dream combines ancient traditions and modern urban sensibilities in a glorious fusion of styles and techniques.

This production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is presented by a company of 23 Indian and Sri Lankan artists whose skills are as diverse as their backgrounds – not only actors but also dancers, singers, musicians, street acrobats and martial arts experts. The play is spoken not only in English but also in tongues native to its performers: Tamil, Malayalam, Sinhalese, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi and Sanskrit. The result is a Dream that transcends language itself; a Dream as gorgeous to the senses as it is thrilling to the mind.

Following its sensational first run in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, the production played to packed houses at the Roundhouse in London, England, and twice in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works festival. After a sell-out British tour, it is now playing to audiences around the world.
By arrangement with Roger Chapman, Matthew Byam Shaw and Act Productions. Original production commissioned by the British Council. First presented in the UK at the Royal Shakespeare Company Complete Works Festival in June 2006.


Creative Team

William Shakespeare

Tim Supple


D. Padmakumar and M. Palani

Sumant Jayakrishnan

Zuleikha Chaudhari

Dig Deeper

An Introduction to A Midsummer Night's Dream
By the director, Tim Supple

In 2005 I travelled to cities in India and Sri Lanka working with an astonishing range of theatre artists. Many of these artists had worked for years to acquire the skills they now have. On my last trip to Mumbai to choose the cast and creative team, forty artists came from across the continent to join twenty resident artists for our final week-long session.

The production opened in New Delhi before touring India in outdoor venues that we created as we went. It has had to transform several times: from outdoor to indoor venues; from 2,000 to 450 seats, from amphitheatres to thrust stages to proscenium arches.

My encounter with Indian theatre has changed the way I see: the cast have travelled through a relationship with each other's languages and culture of performance; the production has developed hugely over two years and we have all travelled far and deep into the interior of a play of endless possibility. And over time this journey has inevitably taken on the feeling of life itself – or at least that aspect of life that is lived with others, working and experiencing together.

Two mighty traditions met in this production: English and Indian theatres. For centureis audiences in both continents have been offered a heady mix of the sacred and profane – of comedy and tragedy. Shakespeare's Dream is itself a great balancing act: humour and seriousness, supernatural and worldly concerns, divine and corporeal aspirations co-exist in its ample flesh. This production is simply one more attempt to catch your attention for two short hours and give a fleeting, bright glimpse of our brief and shared mortality.