Home' Aurora : Aurora July 2014 Contents 7
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
WHEN FAIRIES, ELVES AND
CLOWNS FALL IN LOVE
If William Shakespeare was asked,
he would surely say that his comic
masterpiece, A Midsummer Night's Dream,
could only be improved by the addition of
a travelling circus!
Director of ASPIRE, Anna Kerrigan,
in adapting the play for this year's
production, has come up with a ver sion
that is respectful of the original but
contemporary enough to captivate
the ASPIRE cast of 95 students and its
audience. They range across Years 5-12,
and come from 26 Catholic schools.
"Titania and Oberon speak in
Shakespearean language, because as
the king and queen they're on another
plane, but the other char acter s use the
ver nacular, with Puck sometimes acting as
unofficial tr anslator," said Anna.
The research Anna under took to adapt
the play included visiting several diocesan
schools to work with dr ama classes and
invite feedback on her dr afts . This means
that the finished work, A Night in the
Forest, includes significant investment not
only from the ca st, musicians and audience,
but diocesan drama teacher s and students
It's impor tant to know that the delicious
confusion and fun that is A Midsummer
Night's Dream will be integral to the
production, and ther e is much to engage
actor s and audience. Stage combat,
puppetry, music and dance, as well as
beautiful language and the enthusiasm of
youth, are all on the bill -- and a tr avelling
Why A Midsummer Night's Dream? "I
love the play! " said Anna. "It's quite ea sy
for young people to grasp the story, but
complex enough to be interesting. It's
comedy, it's quite different from la st year 's
production, Treasured, and in terms of
adaptation, all those elves and fairies offer
plenty of scope to suit a large cast."
Anna Ker rigan's mining her professional
acting experience in the UK, mainly in
reper tor y theatre, in her work with the
ASPIRE ensemble. She moved from being
on stage to dir ecting and mentoring and
perhaps most satisfyingly, "making theatre
with young people.
"Their lives are so caught up in film
and TV and the inter net -- in screens
-- whereas theatre's right there, it's so
immer sive and it's different every time.
I take my two-year-old to the Oper a
While not everyone can be par t of
ASPIRE, or study dr ama at school or in
the community, Anna is a fir m believer
in the value of live theatre for ever yone.
"Theatre is the best for m of expression, it
just allows you to get up and have a go.
I love theatre because there's no right or
wrong, it's about ideas and building on
other people's ideas and young people
are so good at that."
To see Anna and her ensemble ca st's
vision played out, why not spend a night
in the forest? Then you will under stand
the integr al role of the travelling circus in A
Midsummer Night's Dream !
ASPIRE is the flagship of the perfor ming
ar ts in schools of the Diocese of
Maitland-Newcastle. It's audition-ba sed,
involving actor s, musicians, vocalists and
dancer s and culminates in a professionally-
staged per for mance in the Civic
ASPIRE offer s holiday workshops and
classroom experiences as well as the
intense coaching that leads to the
annual per for mance. To lear n more ,
and read Anna's ASPIRE blog, visit
Book tickets at the Civic Theatre Box
Office, any Ticketek outlet or P 4929
1977. Performances are on Thursday 24,
Friday 25 and Saturday 26 July.
Anna Kerrigan directs members of the ASPIRE cast. Photograph courtesy of Priscilla Scanlon.
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