The National Youth Music Theatre will present a new work, entitled The Dreaming, at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre. A musical collaboration between Howard Goodall and Charles Hart, based on A Midsummer Night's Dream, the production opens on 18 December 2001.

The Dreaming is set in the grounds and woods of a Somerset country estate in June 1914, on the eve of World War One. Sylvia and Angel are two rivals battling for control of the forest, which is also home to a young runaway who has fled to the woods. As the local villagers prepare for a performance of The Ballad of St George and the Dragon, the antics of those in the forest result in chaos among would-be suitors in the village.

The NYMT production premiered earlier this year at Exeter Northcott to wide acclaim, and will also head out for further dates in the UK and abroad. The last venture between Goodall and Hart was The Kissing Dance, based on She Stoops to Conquer, which also performed at the Linbury and nationwide.

Howard Goodall trained as a chorister and music scholar at Oxford. His other theatre work includes The Hired Man which won the Ivor Novello Best Musical in 1985. Television compositions include Blackadder and Mr Bean, and he also won a BAFTA Huw Weldon award for Howard Goodall's Big Bangs (Channel 4). Charles Hart provided the lyrics for Lloyd Webber's shows The Phantom of the Opera and Aspects of Love.

Future planned projects for the NYMT include Oklahoma! as part of the Richard Rodgers Centennial in 2002, and a new Alan Ayckbourn play in 2003 at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre. The NYMT also runs residential music theatre courses for young people throughout the country and programmes for disadvantaged youngsters in certain areas. Past members of the NYT include Jude Law, Jonny Lee Miller and Jamie Bell.

The Dreaming is directed by Russell Labey and NYMT Artistic Director Jeremy James Taylor, with choreography from Leah Hausman and design by Peter Rice. Labey is currently the resident director for the Sunset Boulevard tour, and he directed his own adaptation of New Boy at the Pleasance earlier this year.

- by Gareth Thompson