Love, comedy and whimsy are at the heart of Queensland Ballet’s upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. While audiences may be familiar with Shakespeare’s iconic play, experiencing this romantic comedy through the beauty of dance presents an altogether different experience.
In this revival production, choreographer Liam Scarlett populates the suspended dreamscape of a moonlit forest with a company of dancers who become entangled in a comedy of mistaken identities and complicated love triangles.
Georgia Swan, a soloist in the Queensland Ballet company, plays Helena, one of the four human lovers to enter the forest.
“Helena is a little bit dorky and not so lucky in love. We follow her and the other lovers, Puck, Titania and Oberon, focussing on the romance and magic of the story,” she says.
“It’s quite comedic, as well as fast paced and entertaining. There is a little bit of everything in there.”
The sets and costumes designed by Tracy Grant Lord, together with the lighting design by Cameron Goerg and score by Felix Mendelssohn, create the fantastic world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“The colour, the glitter, the detail, is a spectacle in its own right,” Georgia says. “The set is quite interactive, which is unusual for ballet, where sets are normally 2D and where we want as much stage room as possible to dance.
“It’s all steel with catwalks the fairies can walk on. Other parts can be danced with and the whole thing is part of the story. It feels like we are literally jumping into the forest.”
Also special to this production is the opportunity it affords a young local dancer to take on the role of the Changeling.
“Everywhere we have been to so far this year, we have had a different child involved,” Georgia says. “It’s such a good opportunity for local dancers and it has been so nice and so special for them to be involved.”
Having a young dancer perform alongside the company has been memorable for Georgia, who began her own training in ballet at the age of eight in Ballarat.
“It is always so nice to see how much they [the young dancer] love it. You kind of remember, this is why I do this, to inspire the next generation.”
The upcoming season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be the first performance by the Queensland Ballet company in the nation’s capital in several years.
“We love coming to Canberra,” Georgia says. “We love performing in the beautiful theatre there. Being able to bring something that is so special to us and to share it with the Canberra audience is exciting. I am especially looking forward to coming back with this work.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Canberra Theatre Centre
25-28 October 2023