Casting has been announced for the the Royal Shakespeare Company's forthcoming tour A Midsummer Night's Dream - A Play for the Nation.
The tour, which is part of celebrations commemorating 400 years since Shakespeare's death, will visit each region and nation of the UK and features a professional company of 18 actors alongside 14 local amateur theatre companies who play the Mechanicals - including Bottom - and schoolchildren who form part of Titania's fairy train.
Ayesha Dharker will take the role of Titania, Queen of the Fairies. Dharker was most recently seen in Anita and Me (Birmingham Rep and Theatre Royal Stratford East) and her other acting credits include Bombay Dreams and the RSC's production of Othello.
Joining Dharker will be Jamie Cameron (Fairy), Lila Clements (Fairy), Lucy Ellinson (Puck), Aimee Gray (Fairy), Peter Hamilton Dyer (Egeus), Laura Harding (Hippolyta), Jack Holden (Lysander), Chris Nayak (Demetrius), Mercy Ojelade (Hermia), Chu Omambala (Oberon), Sam Redford (Theseus), Laura Riseborough (Helena), Isaac Ssebandeke (First Fairy), Alex Tomkins (Fairy) and Jon Trenchard (Philostrate).
Commenting on the production, Dharker said: "I am delighted to be playing Titania for The Dream! I have fallen in love with the RSC because every project I have done with them involves strong women and magical stories with ancient roots."
Erica Whyman, RSC deputy artistic director and director of A Midsummer Night's Dream added: "I am thrilled by the professional acting company and the creative team we have brought together. They are hugely talented... I'm looking forward very much to getting into rehearsals and responding to this magical play."
The BBC will film the experiences of the groups taking part in a documentary with the working title The Best Bottoms In the Land, which will be screened as part of the broadcaster's Shakespeare celebrations in 2016.
The 30 minute programmes will show the pressures and pitfalls of such a project, culminating in the opening night of each region's local performance.
Further casting to be announced.
A Midsummer Night's Dream - A Play for the Nation opens in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in February 2016, before embarking on a nationwide tour and returning to Stratford-upon-Avon with the entire company in June 2016.
- Royal Shakespeare Company
- Erica Whyman
- Royal Shakespeare Theatre
- Ayesha Dharker
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