Running from 15 February (previews from 9 February) to 20 March, Hall's new production will be set in Elizabethan England, with Titania, the Fairy Queen, imagined as “a portrait of the ageing Queen Elizabeth I, fascinated with the theatre, besiged by courtiers but 'married to the people of England'”. Dench won an Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth I in 1998 hit comedy Shakespeare in Love.
Dench and Hall have enjoyed a fruitful working relationship since she became one of the founding members of the RSC in 1961. As well as A Midsummer Night's Dream, their subsequent collaborations include Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre), The Royal Family and Hay Fever (Theatre Royal Haymarket).
Dench was last seen on the London stage earlier this year in Michael Grandage's Donmar West End production of Madame de Sade, while Hall is currently producing his annual season at the Theatre Royal Bath, with several productions transferring to the Rose next month (See News, 7 Jul 2009).
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 will play exclusively at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, and public booking opens on 14 September 2009.