A Midsummer Night's Dream

Benjamin Britten

12 October - 20 November 2024

Dates & venues

Step into the magic

An operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream traces a tangled web of relationships hurtling towards catastrophe. In the woods, meet the feuding Fairy King and Queen, and in Athens, meet a confused quadrangle of lovers. As these characters’ stories intertwine, one thing is inevitable… magic, mischief and mayhem are sure to follow.

Britten’s music vividly sets the scene for a light-hearted and enchanting romp and is recognised as some of his best opera writing. Combined with Martin Duncan’s joyously theatrical production, expect an intoxicating atmosphere and plenty of laughs.

“How exhilarating to hear an audience convulsed with laughter in an opera house”
★★★★ — The Times

“Wonderfully funny… about as good as it gets”
★★★★ — The Guardian

“Full of wit and wonder”
★★★★★ — The Arts Desk

Price
From £16*
Venues
  • Leeds Grand Theatre
  • Newcastle Theatre Royal
  • The Lowry, Salford Quays
  • Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Running time
Approximately 3 hours including two intervals

Language
Sung in English with English subtitles

Buy your programme in advance
Digital (£4) or printed (£6+£2.50 postage)

Save with…
Season Ticket Packages
Under 30s membership
New to opera discounts
More discounts & concessions

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

Staycation Festival

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Talks from top chefs and food writers, exclusive menus, adventurous masterclasses and pop-ups, films that whisk you away to other places, and live music with bespoke dining experiences. Book a holiday for your senses… at home in the heart of Leeds. 

Discover more

Story

Oberon, King of the Fairies, is arguing with his queen Tytania over a young changeling boy. So Oberon sends Puck to find a magical flower whose juice, sprinkled on Tytania’s eyelids, will cause her to fall in love with the first creature she sees.  

Meanwhile, lovers Lysander and Hermia have eloped to the forest. They are running away from Demetrius, who is in love with Hermia, and who in turn is loved by Helena! Oberon has witnessed their troubles and orders Puck to use the magic juice on Demetrius too, so that he will fall in love with Helena. 

Six craftsmen arrive in the forest to discuss a play they hope to perform at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. They argue over casting, but finally Bottom and Flute agree to play the title roles, Pyramus and Thisbe.  

Lysander and Hermia go to sleep. Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius and sprinkles the juice of the magic flower on Lysander’s eyes. Demetrius arrives with Helena soon after. Helena sees Lysander and wakes him. Under the spell, Lysander is smitten with her. She runs off, believing he is mocking her, and Hermia awakes alone.  

Nearby, the fairies prepare Tytania for sleep. Oberon slips in to sprinkle the magic juice on her eyes… 

Later in the day, the craftsmen meet to rehearse their play. Puck decides to entertain himself by turning Bottom’s head into that of a donkey. The others run away in fear and left alone, Bottom sings to keep his spirits up. This wakes Tytania, who, under the spell, falls instantly in love with the donkey-headed Bottom!  

Oberon is delighted with this result, but soon realises that Puck has made a mistake with the lovers. When Demetrius falls asleep, Oberon sprinkles the magic juice on his eyes. Helena and Lysander arrive, waking Demetrius, who immediately falls in love with Helena — now loved by both men, and Hermia by neither. Furious, Oberon gives Puck an antidote to give to Lysander.  

Before sunrise, Oberon releases Tytania from the spell. The four lovers wake up, now as the correct couples. Bottom wakes from what he thinks was a strange dream. When the other craftsmen find him, they tell him that their play has been chosen for Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding.  

At the wedding, the two couples ask Theseus’ for forgiveness. Theseus pardons them, promising that they can be married together with him and Hippolyta. The craftsmen perform their masterpiece, ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’. As everyone goes to bed, Oberon, Tytania, and the fairies bless the sleeping household, and Puck gets the final word. 

Cast & creative

A man with short hair wearing a shirt.
James Laing

Oberon

A woman with long, dark hair.
Daisy Brown

Tytania

A man with a beard wearing a shirt.
Henry Waddington

Bottom

A woman with should length wavy hair.
Camilla Harris

Helena

A man with short dark hair.
Joel Williams

Lysander

A man with combed back hair and a beard.
James Newby

Demetrius

A man with curly ginger hair and a beard.
Andri Björn Róbertsson

Theseus

Molly Barker

Hippolyta

Nicholas Watts has a short beard and is wearing a dark suit.
Nicholas Watts

Flute

A man wearing a shirt with short hair.
Colin Judson

Snout

Dean Robinson

Quince

A woman wearing earrings looking up.
Siân Griffiths

Hermia

Nicholas Butterfield

Starveling

Image of conductor Garry Walker
Garry Walker

Conductor

A man with short hair and a black shirt.
Martin Duncan

Director

A man with thick wavy hair.
Johan Engels

Set Designer

A man with short dark hair.
Ashley Martin-Davis

Costume Designer

A bald man wearing a chequered shirt.
Bruno Poet

Lighting Designer

A man with a jumper and moustache.
Ben Wright

Choreographer

A Midsummer Night's Dream
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