FRINGE PREVIEW – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: WDG Productions

A Midsummer Night's Dream - WDG Productions

A Midsummer Night's Dream - WDG Productions

Richard Hill’s first challenge was finding a play. When the director struck a deal with the members of WDG Productions promising that those who wanted to act were guaranteed a place in their Edinburgh Fringe production, 16 people volunteered.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream kept coming back,” says Richard. “It’s one of those great shows. I also chose it because it has no single lead character: giving a good opportunity for all the actors to share the stage.”

His next challenge was how to take Shakespeare’s full-length original and pare it down to a length more suited for a Fringe show.

“In the end, we’ve got it down to 90 minutes,” he says. “The script now really brings up the essence of the original. We’ve got a happy script – and a happy team!”

In total, 29 members of WDG will be making the trip north from the Midlands in August. WDG is a long established company, with reviews which show they’re consistently accomplished and of a high standard.

“We celebrated our 60th anniversary as a theatre group last year,” says producer Dawn Crooks. “WDG Productions was formed in the ’50s by amateur actors; now we put on a full repertoire of shows.”

“We’ve done some challenging stuff of late,” says Richard. “And with this production, we’ve decided to put our own slant on things.”

“We’ve set our Midsummer Night’s Dream in the 50s,” he continues. “It incorporates 50s pop music and dance numbers; and we’ve taken things from Athens to a town hall – and our Duke is the local mayor.”

“We’re quite a female dominated company too. So our Mechanicals are all members of the Women’s Insititute – they steal the show, in fact!”

“We’re in rehearsals at the moment,” says Dawn. “Then we’ll preview the show at a local theatre the week before coming to Edinburgh.”

Richard has been to the Fringe many times before as a patron and a participant.

“It’s a chance to mix and share things with interesting people; the camaraderie is something I revel in.”

“I first came to the Fringe two years ago,” says Dawn. “The sheer volume is breathtaking – everyone from one-man bands to big companies. But there’s no hierarchy. And the buzz and the excitement – you just can’t describe it.”

WDG’s first trip to the Fringe was in 2009, where they performed ‘Our Country’s Good’.

“We were very green,” says Richard. “But we sold all our tickets on the Royal Mile prior to the shows!”

“It’s just the biggest kick – and it takes our activities to a whole new level.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs from Aug 22-27 at 14:15 on theSpace at Niddry Street. Further information is on the Fringe website.

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