Set design project - 'A midsummer night's dream'

For my degree project I designed a promenade production of Shakespeare's ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ on the Island of Inchmahome. This is a very beautiful, small island in the middle of Lake Menteith, Scotland, home to a ruined priory and an ancient orchard.

The play follows the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six actors (mechanicals), who are controlled and manipulated by  fairies. Most of the play is set in a forest. A key element of the play is the sense of confusion created by the fairies and the multiple narratives that collide and diverge. I saw this as an opportunity to divide the play into several acts, which would be performed simultaneously at various locations on the island ready to be discovered by audience members. The goal was to give the audience an immersive experience and create a sense of mid-summer magic with an overnight event, which began with Act 1 and dinner at the Athenian palace (the island’s ruined priory) and ended with the voyage back to shore at sunrise.

 

For this event I designed the guest experience from invitation through to departure. I reinterpreted the script, created photorealistic visuals for key scenes, developed temporary free standing set structures, and detailed lighting design. I researched event coordination and temporary lighting techniques.

 

The island has an beautiful ring of ewe trees named 'The Queen's Bower', which were planted while Mary Queen of Scots took refuge on the island as a child. To me, this presented the perfect location in which to stage  the Fairy queens Bower. In the visual I created we see her in love with Bottom who has been given a donkeys head by Puck, the fairy king's servant.