Following the West End success last year of Rose Rage, Edward Hall's all-male Propeller Theatre are now mounting a new production of Shakespeare's best-love comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream. The production opens tomorrow (5 February 2003) for six weeks at the company's home venue, the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, before embarking on a two-month tour taking in eight UK venues and culminating with a stint, from 16 to 23 June 2003, at the international Shakespeare Festival in Ness, Germany.

Rose Rage - a two-part adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy - was first seen in early 2001 at the Watermill, where Hall has premiered Propeller's other productions of Shakespeare's Henry V, Othello, The Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night.

In summer 2002, Rose Rage transferred for a six-week season at the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket. To date, the production has earned Hall and Propeller the Barclays TMA award for Best Touring Production and, from its London run, received a nomination for Best Ensemble Performance in the Whatsonstage.com Awards and put Hall in the running for Best Director in both the Whatsonstage.com and Laurence Olivier awards.

Edward Hall, son of Sir Peter Hall, has established a formidable reputation for his handling of the bard's work elsewhere as well. For the Royal Shakespeare Company, his productions have included Two Gentlemen of Verona, Henry VI and Julius Caesar; and, currently in the West End, his Macbeth with Sean Bean has proved a huge box office success. Amongst Edward Hall's other notable productions is the Greek tragedy, Tantalus, the ten-hour epic which he co-directed with his father, and the revival of Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife, also seen this year in the West End.

A Midsummer Night's Dream will feature the same ensemble as Rose Rage: Tony Bell (Bottom), Dugald Bruce-Lockhart (Lysander), Richard Clothier (Titania), Emilio Doorgasingh (Hippolyta), Matt Flynn (Theseus), Robert Hands (Helena), Vince Leigh (Demetrius/Snout), Jonathan McGuiness (Hermia/Snug), Chris Myles (Quince/Egeus), Simon Scardifield (Puck/Starveling), Guy Williams (Oberon) and Jules Werner (Flute). Design will once again be care of Michael Pavelka with lighting by Ben Ormerod.

Following Newbury, the production will visit Bromley, Cambridge, Salford Quays, Guildford, Reading, Newcastle, Richmond and Oxford before appearing at the Globe Theatre in Ness, Germany, as part of the 2003 Shakespeare Festival.

- by Terri Paddock