Bristol Old Vic in association with South Africa’s pre-eminent puppet theatre company,  Handspring Puppet Company presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Santa Monica’s The Broad Stage, running April 3 -19, 2014. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Bristol Old Vic’s Artistic Director Tom Morris and Cape Town’s Handspring Puppet Company, the Shakespeare-with-puppets, previously collaborated on the Tony-Award winning phenomenon War Horse. They re-unite for this extraordinary production.

Dale Franzen, Director of The Broad Stage, says A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the perfect play for the Handspring treatment:

“The play has illusion at its heart and the wonderful puppetry heightens the magical stirrings and transformations. This is a delightful production, a riotous comedy in which anything can come to life.”

The play interweaves the lives of lovers, actors, friends, foes, and fairies. It is about love, transformation and survival in a place where the mystical presence of fairies isn’t mere superstition, but magic lore encoded in the routines of a community living on the edge.

The production is visually stunning, blending live actors, puppets and keenly choreographed movement that breathe life into everyday inanimate objects.

The puppetry involves a huge range of ground-breaking techniques and variety of creations – from the smallest mechanical creatures to the huge god-like masks and limbs that represent Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Fairies.

Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director Tom Morris says Handspring is “…the greatest puppet company in the world … it’s a huge thrill to be able to invite them to collaborate with us on this experimental version of Shakespeare’s sexiest and most magical comedy.”