‹ Back to What's On A Midsummer Night’s Dream

28 Sep - 22 Nov 2013

Benjamin Britten

Revival of 2008 production

Oberon, the fairy king and Tytania, his queen are locked in a conflict which spills over into the human world. Shakespeare’s witty words and the composer’s mesmerising music come together in this colourful and vibrant production where costumes and music are equally sparkling.

Running time: approx 3 hours (including 2 intervals)

Production supported by a gift from Reg and Margaret Hindley

Festival of Britten Special, book 3 Britten operas and get one free.

Download our complete opera performance diary for 2013-14 here.

Season supported by:

The Opera North Future Fund

What the critics say

Seeing such a physically lively production increases one’s admiration for Britten’s score – with every kink and quirk in the music reflected in Ben Wright’s choreography. The mechanicals’ rehearsal is hysterically funny, as John Savournin’s uptight Peter Quince attempts to impose directorial authority on his unruly cast. Their performance near the close of Act 3 is painted in the broadest of strokes, and is all the wittier for it

The Arts Desk - Full Review ›

Laing and Bern are both outstanding in their roles. Quirijn de Lang (Demetrius), Sky Ingram (Helena), Andrew Glover (Lysander) and Kathryn Rudge (Hermia) manage to quash the usual criticism that the music for the lovers is below the standard of the rest of the score. Waddington is about as good as it gets, as is Nicholas Sharratt's hilarious Flute. Stuart Stratford conducts with great insight and passion. The playing is gorgeous.

The Guardian - Full Review ›

The confusions of the lovers in the forest are organized with all the skills which would be required for a French farce, thanks to director Martin Duncan, and the orchestra, conducted by Stuart Stratford, proves that it is one of the best.

Bachtrack - Full Review ›

Martin Duncan, who directed the opera in 2008 and is back in charge for this revival, is an ideal choice with his outstanding record in comedy, operatic and otherwise: details of expression, gesture and intonation ensure that we never lose touch with the fact that this may be a psychedelic trip, but it's also a funny show.

What's On Stage - Full Review ›

It is not difficult to believe that the composer would have been immensely proud of these musicians, the singers and entire creative team involved in this heartwarming experience.

Opera Britannia - Full Review ›



John Savournin on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'


John Savournin, one of the 'Mechanicals', takes time out of the final rehearsals of A Midsummer Night's Dream to tell us about his first role for Opera North, including comical costumes, long distance relationships and exploring Leeds.  Read More

  • Oberon JAMES LAING (ex 12, 15, 19, 22 November)
  • Oberon CHRISTOPHER AINSLIE (12, 15, 19, 22 November)
  • Tytania JENI BERN
  • Helena SKY INGRAM
  • Lysander ANDREW GLOVER
  • Demetrius QUIRIJN DE LANG
  • Theseus DARREN JEFFERY (Leeds)
  • Theseus DEAN ROBINSON (Salford Quays, Newcastle, Nottingham)
  • Hippolyta YVONNE HOWARD
  • Bottom HENRY WADDINGTON (Leeds)
  • Bottom DARREN JEFFERY (Salford Quays, Newcastle, Nottingham)
  • Starveling GEOFFREY DOLTON
Creative Team
  • Conductor STUART STRATFORD (ex 15, 19 November)
  • Conductor OLIVER RUNDELL (15, 19 November)
  • Director MARTIN DUNCAN
  • Set Designer JOHAN ENGELS
  • Costume Designer ASHLEY MARTIN-DAVIS
  • Lighting Designer BRUNO POET
  • Original Choreographer BEN WRIGHT

Click on the venue below to plan your visit.

Leeds Grand Theatre

Find Us

46 New Briggate
Leeds Grand Theatre

Important Information

Box Office: 0844 848 2720 (calls cost 7ppm)

  • To access the Grand Theatre, there are six steps from the street up to the foyer or a wheelchair lift from the Grand Theatre Box Office to the foyer, and then lift access to the rest of the auditorium (excluding the Upper Balcony). Some areas of the auditorium do have steep stairs and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility. Please check with the Box Office. 
  • There are 6 wheelchair spaces: four in the Stalls and two in the Dress Circle.
  • There are accessible toilets at Stalls and Dress Circle levels. 
  • There is an infra-red system in operation for sound amplification. Headsets are available from the Grand Theatre foyer for a £5 refundable deposit. Please ask Box Office staff when booking for advice on the best seats to use this service. 
  • Support dogs are welcome in the auditorium and can be looked after on request. 
  • For refreshments, there are bars at Stalls, Upper Circle and Balcony levels.  

Choose from these fantastic pre-theatre dining options and make your experience complete!

The Alchemist

Opera North ticket holders can enjoy 20% off their food bill at The Alchemist. Located on the second floor of Trinity Shopping Centre, The Alchemist offers a fantastic menu and stunning views of Leeds City Centre. Not available Saturdays. 

Download Menu | Book online 


Manahatta is a recently opened bar and kitchen located on Merrion Street, just a minute's walk from Leeds Grand Theatre. Serving a fantastic New York inspired menu made with fresh local produce, guests will receive 20% off their food bill before 6.15pm with proof of ticket. Booking is required. 

Download Menu | Book online

North Bar

Opera North and Howard Assembly Room ticket holders can enjoy 10% off all drinks at New Briggate's finest craft beer hotspot — North Bar, just a stone's throw from Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Find out more 


Enjoy 15% off all food and drink at authentic Italian wine bar Veeno (Leeds branch only) on presentation of ticket for an Opera North performance. Excludes Fridays and Saturdays after 5.00pm. 

Download Menu | Book a table 

Veritas Ale & Wine Bar

Enjoy a special pre-opera meal at Veritas Ale & Wine Bar. Just a 5-10 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, choose either two courses for £13.95 (£17.50 with a 175ml house wine) or three courses for £15.95 (£19.50 with a 175ml house wine). Available 5.00-6.30pm. Booking is required.

Download Menu | Book via email or call 0113 242 8094 and quote 'pre-opera menu'

Brasserie Blanc

Sample the fabulous pre-theatre menu at Brasserie Blanc and choose from two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £15.45, with a complimentary glass of fizz for Opera North ticket holders. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Leeds Grand Theatre. Available 12.00-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday. 

Download Menu | Book online or call 0113 220 6060

The Reliance

Just a 5 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, The Reliance bar and dining room offers a fantastic pre-theatre menu. Choose from two courses for £14.45 or three courses for £18.90. Available 5.30-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday.

Download Menu

Salford Quays

Find Us

Pier 8
Salford Quays
M50 3AZ

Important Information

Box office: 0843 208 6000 

There is a passenger drop-off point immediately in front of The Lowry. Secure parking is available in The Lowry Outlet Mall multi-storey car park. There are designated areas for disabled parking on every level. 

The Lowry is accessible by train, tram and bus. http://www.tfgm.com/

From national railway stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria you can travel to The Lowry by Metrolink tram. You can board an Eccles line tram and should alight at Harbour City, or Media City UK for trams which stop there, as this is slightly closer.

More info: http://www.thelowry.com/plan-your-visit/getting-here/


Find Us

100 Grey Street

Important Information

Box office: 08448 112121


Free Parking in all City Council multi-storey carparks after 5pm.

The two closest car parks to Theatre Royal are the Oxford Street multi-storey (just behind the Laing) and the Dean Street multi-storey. Click here for more info.

There are two parking spaces for blue badge holders on Shakespeare Street and three on Hood Street. Most parking meters are free to Blue Badge Holders.


Alight at Monument Metro Station and follow the signs for the Theatre Royal. We are less than one minutes walk from the Metro entrance on Grey Street.

Travel free on the Metro with your theatre ticket (up to two hours before and after the performance) - simply retain your theatre ticket for inspection by Metro Staff.


The Theatre Royal is only ten minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station.


Find Us

Theatre Square

Important Information

Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Find access details for Nottingham Theatre Royal

By Car

Follow signs for the city centre and the 'Royal Zone'. Nearest car parks are Talbot Street car park and Crowne Plaza Hotel car park on Wollaton Street.
For maps and information about on-street parking, off-street car parks, park and ride and the blue badge scheme please visit Parking In Nottingham

By Bus

For bus times call Nottingham City Transport on 0115 950 6070, Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk   Find out about our £1 return bus ticket here.

By Tram

 The 'Royal Centre' tram stop is directly outside the venue and runs every 10 minutes until midnight. There are five Park and Ride sites along the route. Visit www.thetram.net or call 0115 942 7777 for full details of the tram route. Find out about our £1 return tram ticket here.

By Rail

Nottingham Station is a 15 minute walk or a short taxi or tram ride from the venue. Call 0845 748 4950 or www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times and fares. 


Discover exciting pre-theatre dining options for Nottingham Theatre Royal

What you say

Comment from Pam


Pam said ago

Just home from this excellent production in Newcastle. Brilliant singing, acting, choreography, staging. So many 'cameo' roles - and each one performed excellently. And the superb children's chorus. Well done Opera North for yet another great evening of opera! Thank you.

Comment from Richard Turner


Richard Turner said ago

Excellent performance but let down by the scenery which was cheap and banal. Who wants to see masses of sheets of corrugated plastic outside a builder's yard ?

Comment from Jeremy Horsell


Jeremy Horsell said ago

Another delightful and magical evening with Opera North. I must confess that my heart sank somewhat at the prospect of an undiluted Brittenfest but you have excelled with each and every production. So it has turned out to be a courageous and confident decision to celebrate the Britten Centenary as well as the linkage to Opera North through the late lamented Lord Hardwood. Congratulations to all concerned. We are so fortunate to have a company of such quality and integrity in our midst. Thank you

Comment from Edward Royle


Edward Royle said ago

This was an excellent production and lived up to the high standard set by many of the same people last time. The humour of Britten's music for Pyramus and Thisbe matches that of Shakespeare's words. As Pyramus spent an age dying I thought of the whole of the second half of Werther!
Of the three pieces performed just now, this was the least needful of surtitles. Even so it was useful to have them and they could always be ignored.

Comment from Bryn Moore


Bryn Moore said ago

A Midsummer Night's Dream was a quite brilliant production. The performance of 'Pyramus and Thisbe' at the end was the funniest I have ever seen; Bottom perfectly matched the mock heroism of Britten's music. Power and sexuality were brought out in a darkly mysterious way in the relationship between Oberon and Puck.

Comment from Patrick Herring


Patrick Herring said ago

Liked this the first time. I remember thinking Puck's radio mike was an opportunity to do something spacey or unearthly with his voice: an idea?

Leave a comment

The Music

With one of Britten's richest vocal scores, A Midsummer Night's Dream shows a composer at the heights of his powers. Marvellously orchestrated Britten succeeded in creating perfectly fitting, highly atmospheric yet utterly distinctive soundworlds for the various group of characters evoking the sighing, creaking and rustling of a forest

Production Info

The imaginative staging by director Martin Duncan - with designers Johan Engels (sets), Ashley Martin-Davis (costumes) and Bruno Poet (lighting) - gives this operatic version of Shakespeare great comedy a wonderfully fantastical feel. 

Did You Know?

Atypically for Britten, the opera did not include a leading role for his partner Peter Pears - it is the only one of his stage works that did not. Instead, Pears had the comic drag role of Flute/Thisbe.

Restaurant Deals


Harvey Nichols: Prix Fixe & Prosecco
Using only seasonal ingredients of the freshest quality from both local and distant sources visit the Fourth Floor Café at Harvey Nichols Leeds and enjoy two courses and a glass of Prosecco for £20 when you dine from our Prix Fixe menu. Diners also have the option to upgrade to three satisfying dishes and a glass of Prosecco for £22.50- an offer not to be missed! Available Tuesday – Friday, between 5.30pm – 10pm. Booking is essential, please call the Fourth Floor Café on 0113 204 8000 or email leeds.reservations@harveynichols.com quoting OPERA NORTH. 

Enjoy 20% off your bill at Sandinista (Cross Belgrave Street - New Briggate) on presentation of your Opera North ticket when placing their food order. To book a table call 0113 305 0372. Food is served till 10pm through the week with final orders at 9pm Friday and Saturday. Only valid on the day of the performance their ticket is for. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Just a short walk from the theatre, another fantastic dining option is The Reliance (76-78 North Street).Treat yourself to the pre-theatre menu served between 5:30 and 6:30pm, Mon - Sat. Enjoy 2 courses for £13.95 or 3 courses for £17.90. Call 0113 2956060 to book a table.

The Food Academy at Flannels have set up a pre-theatre special menu for Opera North audience members. 2 courses for £15.50 or 3 courses for £18.50, the menu can be found here and they ask that people book in advance.

Kendells Bistro - Located in St Peters Square, opposite The Leeds College of Music, Kendells Bistro is a casual Informal place to dine with the main focus on quality of food, wine and service within a French bistro atmosphere. Everything stops for tea 2 Courses £17.95, 3 Courses £19.95, 3 Courses £25.95 includes ½ Bottle house wine. Available: Tuesday – Thursday 5.30 – 8.00 pm, Friday - Saturday 5.30 - 7.00pm


10% discount (on food only) in The Restaurant. This discount only applies when you book a table in advance and mention the discount when you book, you will also need to present your Opera North ticket when placing your food order.