Hall and Dench in Elizabethan Dream

Published August 14, 2009

Dame Judi Dench is to play Titania as Queen Elizabeth I in a reimagined version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Sir Peter Hall, at the Rose theatre, Kingston next year.

The production, which runs at the Rose from 9 February to 20 March 2010 (press night 15 February) reunites Dench and Hall with a play they first worked on together in 1962 for the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the decades since they have collaborated frequently on productions including Antony And Cleopatra, The Royal Family and, most recently, Hay Fever.

Hall’s new production of Shakespeare’s magical comedy depicts Titania, the Fairy Queen, as the ageing Queen Elizabeth I, fascinated with the theatre, besieged by courtiers but ‘married to the people of England’. Dench previously portrayed Queen Elizabeth I on screen in Shakespeare In Love, for which she won an Oscar.

The production will be specially designed for the Rose theatre’s open stage, which was itself modelled on the original Elizabethan Rose theatre on London’s Bankside.

Seven-times Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress Dench is one of UK’s best-loved actresses with numerous credits on stage and screen over five decades. Among her London stage credits are acclaimed performances in Macbeth, Cabaret, A Little Night Music, Absolute Hell, Amy’s View, Juno And the Paycock, Pack Of Lies, The Importance Of Being Earnest and The Breath Of Life. She was last seen on stage earlier this year in Madame De Sade as part of the Donmar West End season at the Wyndham’s theatre.

Hall is the founding director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a former director of the National Theatre whose own company, The Peter Hall Company, has produced a season at the Theatre Royal Bath every year since 2003. Hall oversaw the creation of the Rose theatre and directed Uncle Vanya in its inaugural season. 

CB