A Midsummer Nights Dream 2013 - opera

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A Midsummer Nights Dream 2013 - opera
A Midsummer Nights Dream
Director Olivia Fuchs
Writer Benjamin Britten
Designer Niki Turner
Original Lighting Designer Bruno Poet
Revival Lighting Designer Warren Letton
Video Designer Jon Driscoll
Video Remounter Tim Reid
Conductor Timothy Dean
Venue- Fully Staged Performances 25th & 26th January 2013 at Theatre Royal, Glasgow,

31st January and 1st February 2013 at Kings Theatre, Edinburgh

Venue- Semi- Staged Concert Performance 29th January 2013 at Eden Court, Inverness


Now in its eighth year, our ambitious Winter collaboration with Scottish Opera continues with a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth with a revival of Olivia Fuchs’ 2005 production for the Royal Opera House of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Adapted from the Shakespeare play in collaboration with Peter Pears, Britten’s version is centred on the ethereal world of the fairies rather than the human action at the heart of the original.


  • Oberon- Tom Verney (student from Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
  • Tytania- Elinor Rolfe Johnson*/Louise Kemeny**
  • Puck- Jami Reid Quarrell (Aerial artist from original production)
  • Theseus- Dominic Barberi
  • Hippolyta- Elfa Drofn Stefansdottir
  • Helena- Anush Hovhannisyan*/Jessica Leary**
  • Demetrius- Daniel O'Connor*/Jonathan Stainsby**
  • Hermia- Catriona Morison*/Laura Margaret Smith**
  • Lysander- Andreas Backlund*/Raoni de Barros Hubner**
  • Bottom- Andrew McTaggart (Scottish Opera Emerging Artist)
  • Flute- Ronan Busfield (Scottish Opera Emerging Artist)
  • Quince- Bartholomew Lawrence
  • Snout- Jonathan Cooke
  • Snug- Andrew Tipple
  • Starveling- Brian McBride

Performances -*25th, 29th January and 1st February -**26th and 31st January

We also had a chorus of 14 children, including 4 who sang the roles of Moth, Peaseblossom, Mustardseed and Cobweb.

Performance Details

Theatre Royal Glasgow 25th and 26th January 2013

Eden Court Inverness 29th January 2013

King's Theatre Edinburgh 31st January and 1st February 2013

Sung in English with English supertitles.

Running time approximately 3 hours. This includes two 20 minute intervals after Act I and Act II.

The performance on 25th January at Theatre Royal Glasgow was a Deaf Theatre Club event delivered in association with Solar Bear.

The performance on 1st February at the King's Theatre Edinburgh was an audio described performance.


  • Chief Production Electrician- James Gow
  • Deputy Production Electrician-
  • Production Electricians-
  • Lighting Programmer/Operator-


This was a relativly simple show for TSM. There were a couple of technical challenges though; Mainly the fact that the show was designed for a studio theatre and we had to put it into two proscenium arch venues and one with a rake, pluss, The Bower and the Passarels.


Below is a copy of the Groundplan for MSND from the Theatre Royal Glasgow. This was the larger of the two venues, and had no rake!





Pucks Rope



TASK – Artist Rope into Position

HAZARDS – Rope, Stinger dropped from Height Rope to come loose during performance

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED – Fixed Truss Piece in grid 2 Wire Rope Stinger from grid Master link tied between 2 fly bars to stop swing Ratchet straps to tie off flybars



1. Wire rope Stingers taken to grid 2. Fixed onto load tested position 3. Lowered in to plump position 4. Artist rope taken up on to grid shackled on to stingers 5. Master link attached to fly bars 6. Rope dropped in from grid and through master link 7. Flybars ratchet off to flyfloor 8. Rope Tried and tested

Chinese Pole



TASK – Aerial Artist Pole Installation

HAZARDS – Pole/equipment falling from height

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED – Bracket arm required to secure in auditorium box position Boom plate/tank trap Scaff clamps Fixings for boom plate to deck


PROCEDURE 4 crew required 1.Bottom pole walked up with 2 crew with line on through pulley on scaff bar in auditorium box crew in box taking strain on rope line 2. Pole put into through deck hole and into boom plate and fixed into position 3.1 crew member in each box in auditorium as top Pole part is lifted up 4. Rope line dropped in from crew member in top box 5.Rope clove hitched and scaffolders knot onto Top pole 6. Guided up by grounds men as crew in boxes pull up with rope 7. Guided into positioned and top pole slotted into bottom pole


As part of the set up for A Midsummer Nights Dream a performer had to fly in what was called the 'bower box'. To achieve this effect we used a Stage Tech system similar to the one we use in the New Athenaeum Theatre. The system had been changed slightly and added to in order to fly a performer and to achieve the correct effect.

The system was made up of the following equipment;

  • Illusonist Control Desk
  • Au-Tour Rack
  • UPS
  • Big Tow Winch (modified with 2 points)
  • Truss
  • Various Drifts
  • Swifter Lines (tention lines)

Because the winch only had 2 points coming from it, we attached them to truss and then attached the 4 bower points to the truss so that; A-all of the points coming off the bower were straight and B-We could lift the bower using the 2 lines on the winch and did not have to have an even more complicated system

Below is a diagram of how the system looked and how it was cabled up.



Truck Load


Stage Management

Scene Settings

Some of the scenic elements of this opera moved around very freely, and very often, particularly the blue velvet Dream Chair. We kept track of this by having a thorough scene setting list. Below are a few examples.

Slide01.jpg Slide02.jpg Slide03.jpg

Creating the bursting paper effect

We used professional photography background paper and attached it to the Cage Truck using wide industrial strength double sided sticky tape. Before applying the double sided tape, we attached a layer of Gaffer Tape to the perspex of the Cage Truck so that the sticky residue from the double sided tape did not remain when the paper had to be quickly struck during an interval.

The roll of paper we bought was 2.72x25m. The colour, ChromaBlue_91*. The manufacturer, 'Colorama.'

We bought the paper from a company in Manchester who were very helpful and had the paper sent up to us within 24 hours. The company was Professional Film Direct. Their phone number 0161 273 3003. Their website www.pfdstore.com

King's Theatre Edinburgh

When touring to the King's we came up against a MAJOR problem. The main set elements are on wheels, and the stage is raked!!! The rake at the King's is 1:24, so not too severe, but severe enough that we had chairs and shelf trucks sliding close to the orchestra pit.

In order to adapt the set for a raked stage, we had heavy duty brakes attached to the back of the Shelf Truck, and also had a line running off the back of the truck and into the wing, so that a member of TSM could hold on while action was taking place on top of the truck. The Cage Truck had a pivot point that was screwed into the floor. The Red Theatre Chairs all had small brakes added to the back, but these weren't used all the time. At the top of the show we set the chairs so that the casters we horizontal to the front of the stage so they wouldn't roll down the rake. Although this is a simple solution, the brakes were much more reliable and successful to use. When the chairs were set without brakes it only took a small nudge to set them off.

So that the cast could get used to the raked stage we held a special rehearsal session in which we ran through any movements that were affected by the rake or adapted set elements. We held a specific fight call each evening so that the Lovers could get used to the rake.

This was all thoroughly risk assessed




As you can see the revival of this show is fairly large for electrics. Detail was key during the rig. Safety and percision was key during the rig of the Neon signs and Florry tubes.

NEON.png How I organised the FTs.

BUDGET.png To give you an idea of costs and the scale of hired equip.