Scene form A Midsummer Night's Dream

Scene form A Midsummer Night's Dream

This production of A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Harley Granville Barker was hugely influential on later directors because of its simplicity and poetic beauty. Granville Barker had been influenced in his approach to Shakespeare by William Poel, whose productions attempted to recreate the playing conditions of an Elizabethan playhouse.

Here we see Titania's bower. The fairies were played by adults with only four children - unusual at the time. All were covered in gold paint and were mysterious and slightly sinister, rather than the pretty, sentimental figures who danced to Mendelssohn's music in other productions. This decision provoked mixed responses from the press, from 'golden memories' to 'a Shakespeare nightmare'. For the most part the reviews were enthusiastic, praising both individual performances, and the production's attempt as a whole to 'get back to what the poet planned'.