A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Stage2 Student Matinees

March 14 - 21, 2024

The Strand Theatre, Dorchester

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Victoria Townsend

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most fanciful and enchanting comedies telling the tale of four bewitched lovers as they reckon with jealousy, desperation, and the complications of true love.  This year, Stage2 returns to the Strand Theatre, one of Boston’s hidden jewels, which serves as a cultural and educational resource for all.

We have all been told those famous bedtime stories of young heroes who adventure into the forest, encountering magic and mystery on the way to their happily ever after. But in real life, our own stories are much more complicated. Magic comes with a cost, and not every mystery has a perfect solution. What power do we have when what makes us happy is not quite what we thought it would be? This year’s Midsummer will take audiences to a darker wood where powerful fairies turn our familiar narratives of love, competition, camaraderie, and fantasy upside down. Lullabies are more lit, some trees have thorns, and sweet dreams will never be quite the same.

About Student Matinees

Our student matinee performances will be held the following days/times:

  • Thursday, March 14th at 10AM
  • Friday, March 15th 11AM (Extremely Limited Availability – Small Groups Only
  • Monday, March 18th 11AM
  • Tuesday, March 19th 10AM (Limited Availability)
  • Wednesday , March 20th 10AM
  • Thursday, March 21st 10AM

This project is funded in part by Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. CSC is one of 40 professional theater companies across the nation that produce Shakespearean plays with a professional team of actors for middle- and high-schools and conduct related educational activities for students. Additional funding for Stage2 is provided by Paul Kastner, The Paul and Edith Babson Foundation, The Boston Arts Summer Institute, The Boston Cultural Council, and The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Who is A Midsummer Night’s Dream appropriate for?

Stage2 productions are presented using Shakespeare’s original text, cut for length to under 2 hours without intermission. Our cuts focus on highlighting the themes, ideas and language that will resonate strongly for a student audience. Our creative team and performers make choices that serve to illuminate the storytelling for this audience without “watering down” the source material. School groups have the option of staying for a short post-show talk-back with the actors.

This year’s Stage2 production is created with a 6th through 12th grade curriculum/audience in mind. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most accessible comedies, touching on themes of jealousy, unrequited (or mistaken!) love, grand interference by the fairy kingdom, and finding confidence, maturity and personal agency. We do encourage educators and/or parents to read the play being presented and make the best choice for their students of any age. We recommend discussing the play with your students before and after you view our production. Please use the information and graphic below to gain a better idea of what to expect from this year’s play and let us know if you have specific questions about content.

 

About Accessibility

Open Captioning will be provided at every performance.

In addition, ASL interpretation or Audio Description may be available upon request.

For questions or more information, please email education@commshakes.org.

About School Workshops

Alongside this production, CSC will also be offering a number of in-school A Midsummer Night’s Dream enrichment workshops which can be delivered either virtually or in person.  Click the button below to learn more!

About Covid-19 Safety

CSC, in coordination with the Strand Theatre and the City of Boston, continues to diligently monitor the public health situation. Health decisions are made with the safety of our audiences, artists, and staff as our top priority. As a building run by the City of Boston, the Strand and CSC will follow city-mandated health and safety guidelines for COVID-19 or any other public health concerns at the time of performances. CSC also reserves the right to add additional protective guidelines where deemed necessary for the safety of all, which will be communicated to all attendees directly if implemented. Should you have an individual concern or question about our safety protocols, please reach out to us at education@commshakes.org.

About CSC2

John Hardin (Mercutio) in Romeo & Juliet, CSC2, 2019-Photo by Nile Hawver

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s Stage2 Performance Series provides the opportunity for students and their teachers to attend high-quality live theater created with them in mind. These abridged productions use Shakespeare’s original text, and focus on the themes and stories that will resonate most with young audiences. Performed by our young professional CSC2 Acting Company, these performances bring together the next generation of actors with the next generation theater goers.

CSC2 is a company of early-career professional actors that works with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company to further develop skills in classical acting through performance (including in CSC’s flagship Shakespeare on the Common production), artistic and professional development, and through different educational and coaching settings.

Creative Team

Victoria Townsend
Director

Victoria Townsend is a Boston-based director, teaching-artist and occasional performer who has been working with CSC since 2011. Directing Credits: For CSC: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2023), As You Like It (2022) and several Boston Theater Marathon pieces; Emerging Playwright’s Festival (Wheelock Family Theater), Cosi Fan Tutte (New England Conservatory’s UGOS Program), The Memorandum (Flat Earth Theater). Assistant Directing Credits: Fear and Misery in the Third Reich, Kiss me Kate, Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare and Leadership (CSC) and L’Egisto (NEC/UGOS). She has also served as a teaching-artist for Watertown Children’s Theater and Live Arts Education. A Massachusetts native, Victoria currently resides in Woburn and is a graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Vermont with degrees in Theatre and English Literature and holds a certificate in Social Impact Management and Leadership from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice & Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.

William Shakespeare
Playwright

William Shakespeare was a renowned English poet, playwright, and actor born in 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. His birthday is most commonly celebrated on 23 April, which is also believed to be the date on which he died in 1616. Shakespeare was a prolific writer during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theatre (sometimes referred to as the English Renaissance or the Early Modern Period). Shakespeare’s plays are perhaps his most enduring legacy, but they are not the only things he wrote. Shakespeare’s poetry has also remained popular to this day.

Shakespeare’s work includes 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, a collection of 154 sonnets, and other poems as well. No original manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays are known to exist today, and about half of Shakespeare’s plays are only available to us because a group of actors in his company collected them for publication after his death. These writings were brought together in what is known as the First Folio (‘Folio’ refers to the size of the paper used). It contained 36 of his plays, and none of his poetry. Shakespeare’s legacy is as rich and diverse as his work; his plays have spawned countless adaptations across multiple genres and cultures, and his plays have had an enduring presence on stage and film.

His writings have been compiled in various iterations of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by different entities, which usually include all of his plays, his sonnets, and his other poems. From Stratford to London and beyond, William Shakespeare was and is one of the most important literary figures of the English language.

 

Lisette Van Den Boogaard
Stage Manager

Lisette Van Den Boogaard is a freelance Stage Manager around the Boston area and is very excited about returning to Stage2 at CSC for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Recent credits include: Machine Learning (ASM, Central Square Theatre), How I Learned to Drive (ASM, Actor Shakespeare Project), Taming of the Shrew (SM, Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Romeo and Juliet (SM, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company) Metamorphoses (PSM, Suffolk University), Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus and Marry Me A Little (ASM PA, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre).

Kendra Elizabeth Waugh
Assistant Stage Manager
Kendra Elizabeth Waugh
Assistant Stage Manager

Kendra Elizabeth Waugh – Commonwealth Shakespeare Company: Apprentice Program & Stage2 productions of Romeo & Juliet. Hub Theatre Company: Slow Food, Into the Breeches!, Love, Loss & What I Wore, and The Book of Will. @stagemanagement101 (She/her)

Kelsey Whipple
Production Manager
Kelsey Whipple
Production Manager

Kelsey Whipple – PM roles: CSC Apprentice Program 2022 PSM roles: Wheelock Family Theater: Bud, Not Buddy; Commonwealth Shakespeare Company: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Hub Theatre Company: The Book of Will, Into the Breeches!, and Love’s Labour’s Lost; Boston Opera Collaborative: Marriage of Figaro. ASM roles: Actors’ Shakespeare Project: Seven Guitars, Merchant of Venice, Complete Works… (Abridged), Pride and Prejudice, Much Ado About Nothing; Hub Theatre Company: Peter and the Starcatcher, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Other work: Production business administrator at Emerson College, Choreographer for Suffolk University’s Show Choir, Rampage.

Mackenzie Adamick
Sound Designer
Mackenzie Adamick
Sound Designer

Mackenzie Adamick is a Boston-based Sound Designer and Composer. Her previous Sound Design credits include Macbeth [Composer] (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), How I Learned to Drive, As You Like It, Coriolanus, Let the Right One In (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), The Normal Heart, Aurora, Organic, By Any Other Name (New Repertory Theatre). Mackenzie is an aural storyteller and bases her theatrical soundscapes on a musical foundation. A couple of her upcoming projects include Romeo and Juliet (Actors’ Shakespeare Project) and composing music for CSC’s The Winter’s Tale this summer. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Sound Design at Boston University. Take a listen to her soundscapes and original compositions on her website: www.mackenzieadamick.com

Devon Drohan
Scenic & Props Designer
Devon Drohan
Scenic & Props Designer

Devon Drohan  – BroadwayWorld Berkshires 2021 Award for best Scenic Design of a Play/Musical for her design of Shakespeare & Company’s production of Becoming Othello: A Black Girls Journey. Other professional and academic credits include scenic design for Hamlet, A Walk in the Woods, Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and God of Carnage (S&Co), A Dream Play, Twelfth Night, The Piano Lesson (UAlbany), The Magic Flute (UNCG Opera), Antigone, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (UNCG), Machinal and Casanova (UMass Amherst); Devon has also served as Scenic Charge (S&Co), Props Master (S&Co and The Cape Playhouse), Production Designer (S&Co’s Fall Festival of Shakespeare) and teaches drafting and design at Berkshire Community College. MFA: UNC-Greensboro, BA: UMass-Amherst. Website: DevonDrohanDesigns.Weebly.com

Chelsea Kerl
Costume Designer
Chelsea Kerl
Costume Designer

Chelsea Kerl – Commonwealth Shakespeare Company: Beckett in Brief.  The Huntington: Witch (Elliot Norton Award Winner: Outstanding Design, Large Theatre).  SpeakEasy Stage Company: Cost of Living, Once on this Island, Pass Over, Grand Concourse.  Lyric Stage: The Game’s Afoot: Holmes for the Holidays, Rooted, The Treasurer, Twelfth Night, Warrior Class.  Wheelock Family Theatre at BU: The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka, James and the Giant Peach.  Her work has also been seen at Gloucester Stage,  Actors’ Shakespeare Company, The Kitchen Theatre, and Moonbox Productions, among others. Chelsea is the Costume Shop Manager and Costume Design professor at Wellesley College, and she has also taught at Bridgewater State University, Emerson College, Northeastern University, and Tufts University. www.chelseakerl.com

Andrea S. Sala
Lighting Designer
Andrea S. Sala
Lighting Designer
Kiara Escalera
Wardrobe Supervisor
Kiara Escalera
Wardrobe Supervisor
Antigone Brandel-Luliano
Wardrobe Substitute
Antigone Brandel-Luliano
Wardrobe Substitute
Connor Riordan
Captions Supervisor
Connor Riordan
Captions Supervisor

The Strand Theatre,
owned by the City of Boston and managed by the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture

543 Columbia Road
Boston, MA 02125

The view from the stage out across the 1,400 seats of The Strand Theatre. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

 

Driving Directions to The Strand Theatre

From South: Take I-93 North to exit 15, Columbia Road. Left at the bottom of ramp to third set of lights.There is a Kentucky Fried Chicken / Tedeschi’s on the corner. Turn left onto Columbia Road. Go through two sets of lights, the Strand is on the left, just past Bank of America.

From North: Take I-93 South to exit 15, Columbia Road. Right at the bottom of ramp to third set of lights. There is a Kentucky Fried Chicken / Tedeschi’s  on the corner. Turn left onto Columbia Road. Go through two sets of lights, the Strand is on the left, just past Bank of America.

From West: Mass Pike (I-90) east into Boston, to I-93 south. Follow “From the NORTH” directions.

From Jamaica Plain/ Brookline: Take the JamaicaWay south to the Arborway. Keep straight to the rotary. Go 3/4 around the rotary and turn into Franklin Park. Go through the park, and turn left onto Blue Hill Avenue. Go about 50 yards, then make a right onto Columbia Road. The Strand is about 1 1/3 miles down on the right, just past the Strand/ Walgreen’s Pharmacy.

Parking

On street parking is available on Columbia Road.

Free off-street parking is available in the Ramsey Street Municipal lot. Ramsey Street is located at the intersection of Dudley Street and Columbia Road behind CVS Pharmacy and Payless Shoes.

For evening and Sunday shows, free parking is also available in the Citizen’s Bank and Santander Bank parking lots. The Citizen’s Bank lot is located at the corner of Columbia Road and Cushing Avenue. The Santander Bank lot is located in the rear of the bank at 585 Columbia Rd.

Public Transit

Red Line: Get off at Andrew station. Take the #16 (Forest Hills) or #17 (Field’s Corner) bus to Upham’s Corner/Dudley Street. Get off in front of Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.

Orange Line: Get off at Ruggles station. Take the #15 (Upham’s Corner) bus via Dudley Station. Get off in front of Get off in front of Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.

Orange Line: Get off at Forest Hills station. Take the #16 (Forest Hills) or #17 (Field’s Corner) bus to Upham’s Corner/Dudley Street. Get off in front of Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.

What is the running time of the production?

The performance runs approximately 100 minutes without intermission.

For student matinees, each performance is followed by a talkback with the cast which will last no more than an additional half hour. Schools may choose to be dismissed before or after the talkback and can indicate this preference when booking.

We will endeavor to have an on-time start and consistency to each performance , but as is the nature of live theater, we cannot guarantee an exact end/dismissal time for your group. Thank you for your understanding.

What ages is the production appropriate for?

Stage2 productions are presented using Shakespeare’s original text, cut for length to approximately 100 minutes without intermission. Our cuts focus on highlighting the themes, ideas and language that will resonate strongly for a student audience. Our creative team and performers make choices that serve to illuminate the storytelling for this audience without “watering down” the source material. School groups have the option of staying for a short post-show talk-back with the actors.

This year’s Stage2 production is created with a 6th through 12th grade curriculum/audience in mind. Romeo & Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most accessible tales, touching on themes of love and family pressures. We do encourage educators and/or parents to read the play being presented and make the best choice for their students of any age. We recommend discussing the play with your students before and after you view our production. Please use the information and graphic below to gain a better idea of what to expect from this year’s play and let us know if you have specific questions about content.

What safety protocols do you have in place relative to covid-19?

CSC, in coordination with the Strand Theatre and the City of Boston, continues to diligently monitor the public health situation. Health decisions are made with the safety of our audiences, artists, and staff as our top priority. As a building run by the City of Boston, the Strand and CSC will follow city-mandated health and safety guidelines for COVID-19 or any other public health concerns at the time of performances. CSC also reserves the right to add additional protective guidelines where deemed necessary for the safety of all, which will be communicated to all attendees directly if implemented. Should you have an individual concern or question about our safety protocols, please reach out to us at education@commshakes.org.

Is there accessible seating available?

Yes, there are several locations in the theater to accommodate wheelchairs.  Please indicate any seating needs when selecting your tickets.

Are assisted listening devices available?

Yes, visit the box office for assisted listening devices or indicate in your request form.

What other accessibility services are available?

Open Captioning will be provided at every performance. Captioning for the talkbacks will be available by request.

For questions or more information, please email education@commshakes.org. Please indicate any accessibility needs and talkback captioning requests in your booking form.

When should I arrive?

We ask that your group arrive between 15-30 minutes before the performance to check in and be seated in the theater. Please arrive NO LATER than 15 minutes before curtain. School groups who arrive after curtain may need to wait to be seated in the theater.

What are parking and transportation instructions?

We will have space for buses to load and unload but buses should not plan to park/remain on the street during the performance. We recommend that buses that are not planning to return to school or another location during the show proceed to the South Bay shopping center nearby which has ample free parking up to 5 hours and amenities.

Smaller groups coming by car may find on-street parking on Columbia Road. Additionally, free off-street parking is available in the Ramsey Street Municipal lot. Ramsey Street is located at the intersection of Dudley Street and Columbia Road behind CVS Pharmacy and Payless Shoes.

For evening shows, free parking is also available in the Citizen’s Bank and Santander Bank parking lots. The Citizen’s Bank lot is located at the corner of Columbia Road and Cushing Avenue. The Santander Bank lot is located in the rear of the bank at 585 Columbia Rd.

MBTA
Red Line: Get off at Andrew station. Take the #16 (Forest Hills) or #17 (Field’s Corner) bus to Upham’s Corner/Dudley Street. Get off in front of Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.

Orange Line: Get off at Ruggles station. Take the #15 (Upham’s Corner) bus via Dudley Station. Get off in front of Get off in front of the Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.

Orange Line: Get off at Forest Hills station. Take the #16 (Forest Hills) or #17 (Field’s Corner) bus to Upham’s Corner/Dudley Street. Get off in front of Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.

Are concessions available?

There is no food or drink permitted in the theater.

Are shows delayed or canceled for weather?

Audience and actor safety is our main concern. In the case of snow or extreme weather, Stage2 Student Matinees will follow Boston Public Schools for notice of cancellation. Schools attending that day will be notified by CSC should a performance be canceled due to weather conditions. If an attending school’s district is closed due to weather in their area but Boston Public Schools remain open, our performance will still run and schools may choose to be rescheduled to another student matinee during our run. If a school is unable to attend another performance, CSC will offer the option to convert the total paid to credit for virtual programming / workshops (valid though the end of the 2023/2024 school year) or tickets for the 2025 production.

Can I take photos or video?

The taking of photos or video is strictly prohibited.

How can I support Commonwealth Shakespeare Company?

To make a donation or for more information call 617-426-0863 or  Click on the Ways To Give tab on our website to learn more about upcoming fundraising events and ways to get involved.

Grant Opportunities

Help fund your field trip!
Please note that these opportunities are listed as a courtesy and are not a guarantee of funding.

Local Cultural Councils – Your Local Cultural Council may approve grants for a broad range of projects and programs such as ticket subsidies/field trips and artist residencies. Each Local Cultural Council determines its own local eligibility requirements based on a community engagement process. Check out your community’s local cultural council here.
STARS Residencies (Students and Teachers working with Artists, Scientists, and Scholars) provides grants to schools to support creative learning residencies in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Cultural partners – teaching artists, scientists, and scholars – work with students on at least three days or more. Residencies take place during the school year to help schools bring creative learning to students, both in and outside the classroom. Visit the MCC’s Stars Residencies website and speak with CSC’s education staff (education@commshakes.org) to develop a residency program that can fit your curriculum needs!

School SAVOR Program is a Commonwealth Shakespeare Company initiative that receives generous funding from sponsors to provide student tickets to schools facing extreme economic hardships. SAVOR stands for Subsidized Art is a Value & Our Right. We firmly believe that art, and theater in particular, should be savored live, early, and often. We hope to break down barriers to theater, and show students art that is created for them. Through the SAVOR program, students attend a matinee at reduced or zero cost to them or their school. Interested schools should fill out the application at the button below. Please make sure you have ALSO filled out your Student Matinee Booking Request Form so that we have full information about your school’s needs.


Featured Photo: "A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare; Directed By Victoria Townsend; March 14 - 21, The Strand Theatre, Dorchester" in text over an image of a rustic bed in a dark wood. "Lullaby and Goodnight" in text. A Banner with "Seasons of Shakespeare 2024" and a CSC logo in gold.

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