Nearly 50 years after she first played Titania in Peter Hall's 1962 Royal Shakespeare Company production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Judi Dench has returned to the role for Hall's production at the Rose – a venue both have long championed.
And there was no shortage of friends, family and theatrical luminaries on hand to share the occasion with them (See Michael Coveney's Blog) – from old hands like Timothy West, Anna Carteret and Eileen Atkins to new kids on the block Michelle Dockery and John Simm.
Dench, who was last seen on the London stage in Michael Grandage's Donmar West End production of Madame de Sade, is joined in the cast by Oliver Chris (Bottom), Annabel Scholey (Hermia), Rachael Stirling (Helena), Charles Edwards (Oberon), William Chubb, Msimisi Dlamini, Richard Keightley, James Laurenson, Ben Mansfield, Reece Ritchie, Susan Salmon, Simon Scott, Sophie Scott, Timothy Speyer, Julian Wadham, Leon Williams and Tam Williams.
TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM’s 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.
Peter Hall was the founding artistic director of the Rose Theatre, Kingston, which is modelled on the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre on London's Bankside. The venue has endured financial worries since its inception, and a £2.7 million council bail-out package was approved earlier this year (See News, 6 Jan 2009).
Dench is a long-standing supporter of the venue, and hosted a fundraising gala in 2004, its inaugural year. Having spearheaded the construction campaign, Hall handed over full-time administrative responsibility for the Rose to Stephen Unwin at the time of opening (See News, 21 Jan 2008).
A Midsummer Night's Dream continues until 20 March 2010.