A Midsummer Night's Dream - Filter Theatre


Originally created in a week-long workshop with The Lyric Hammersmith and Filter Theatre for the Latitude Festival 2011 - this joyous and enduring production has toured Nationally and Internationally for 10 years to sell out audiences and critical acclaim. In it’s latest iteration we worked with Home in Manchester who brilliantly transformed a disused car park into a covid safe outdoor theatre and festival site for the summer of 2021.  It was a genuine joy to be part of live performance again after the year we have all endured.


The fundamental production concept for the show centres around conveying the magic and madness of Shakespeare's fairy forest by conjuring it live in sound. The live sound is, in turn, captured in samplers and diffused into an immersive magical soundscape for the audience, before their eyes (and ears!). For example a single human whistle note is sampled and reintroduced to the audience as an immersive forest of a thousand birds. Tom Haines designed and developed a series of Max MSP patches for the sampling and diffusion processes in the show.  Audio Magic!


The musical concept for the show is that the band are also the rude mechanical characters inside Shakespeare's play.  A theatre troupe within a theatre troupe. Attempting to put on an ill fated play within the play throughout whilst also creating the music and sound live to tell our story alongside the rest of the company..


“Miraculously captures the madness at the heart of Shakespeare’s comedy.”


“Filter's forte, which is sonic experiment, also gives consistency to the seeming chaos: the magic flower wielded by Puck is evoked by a distant aerial buzz; we eavesdrop on the intimate love-talk of Lysander and Hermia through a mic held up to a portable tent; and Bottom's asinine transformation is achieved simply through the clip-clop of a donkey's hooves.”


Michael Billington / The Guardian

Credits:
Directed by: Sean Holmes
Music and Sound: Chris Branch and Tom Haines

Photo: Drew Forsythe