Another use for a church: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in and around St. Paul’s Church Covent Garden


Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by...

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Tonight Kristi, Pat, and I saw a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that took place in three locations in the churchyard of Saint Paul’s Church Covent Garden and ended inside the church.

This open-air approach had a few advantages.

First, the sets are set and don’t (necessarily) have to be changed.

Only one of the three locations in the churchyard had a scene change. The other two locations kept the same sets throughout the play.

Second, the audience moves with the cast during the performance.

No one has to get completely cramped while waiting for the rescue of the intermission. Fresh air is nice, too!

Third, the actors can easily enter from all sides of the stages or performance spaces.

Even with actors entering from the back or sides of the audience in a traditional theater, the options fixed by the physical structure of the theater. Especially in one of tonight’s churchyard locations, the cast entered the performance space from four points, like the points of a compass.

If you’re in London sometime between now and August 5, check out this performance. The good news is, London is fairly cool right now — not at all like summer in the States!

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