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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Dream at Broughton Castle was presented in the open-air in July 1977. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare was performed by Banbury Cross Players in the grounds of Broughton Castle with permission of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele.

Midsummer Nights Dream Programme Front
Midsummer Nights Dream Programme Back

The Cast

Theseus — John Bennett
Hippolyta — Anne Parkin
Egeus — Gerry Steer
Hermia — Loretta Bridger
Lysander — Ron Bridger
Demetrius — Tim Conrad
Helena — Janice Lake
Philostrate — Clive Carey
Puck — Liz Scamans
Oberon — Graham Wilton
Titania — Sonia Blinkhorn
Titania’s Maid — Heather Macnair
Puck — Dee Bauckham
Quince — Malcolm Punchard
Bottom — Bob Clement
Flute — Mike Sheldon
Starveling — Richard Moat
Snout — Jeremy Turner
Snug — David Lake
Courtiers to Theseus, Titania & Oberon — Simon Bonner, Rachel Boulton, Pat Clement, Nadine Nitison, Tim Davis, Kath Dayton, Maggie Finan, Pete Lofthouse, Tim Moulding, Jan Sewell, Julian Sleath, Tony Snee, Perry Taylor, Tony Thatcher

The Play takes place in Athens and in a wood nearby.

Midsummer Nights Dream Boating on the lake
A day out in the sun … From Banbury Cake newspaper.

A day out in the sun …

THE setting couldn’t have been better for Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by the Banbury Cross Players at Broughton Castle last week.

With the castle battlements as a backdrop, the Players made full use of the moat, as this “peeping-tom” shot of the audience by photo-grapher Doug Marshall shows.

Packed “houses” for the open-air performances raised about £500 for the new Jimmie Black Memorial Theatre to be built in the Spiceball Park complex — bringing the £90,000 target total that much closer.

The actual performance of the Players was extremely good, even if a few asides were lost into the cold night air through lack of acoustics.
Bottom (Bob Clement), Titania (Sonia Blinkhorn) and Helena (Janice Lake) are worth a special mention although the whole cast performed almost immaculately.

The Players managed to upstage Shakespeare’s reputation for comedy just a little with such scenes as Puck popping with an Instamatic to snap Titania and Bottom’s love scene) Helena appearing in Roaring Twenties costume, and, of course, the punt floating down the moat at opportune moments, guided by a stage man-ager in touch with his cast by a Territorial Army radio telephone.

It was obvious to one and all that the Players were enjoying every moment of escape from the confines of a traditional theatre — a freedom on which they built using such unexpected costumes and props.

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