COSTUME designer Jay Lad has pulled out all the stops for this month’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Rugby Theatre.
The Shakespeare comedy, which opens on Saturday, features the King and Queen of the Fairies as well as their entourage of sprites with attitude, all decked out in some of the most spectacular outfits the Henry Street theatre has ever produced.
It has been a labour of love for Jay, who has admitted to have spent every spare hour creating, sewing and stitching in the run up to the show’s week-long run.
Jay, who works full-time at a shop in the town centre, said: “I have set up a design studio at my home, and it’s packed with A Midsummer Night’s Dream costumes.
“The director asked me to create some spectacular outfits for Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, and for the youngsters who play her fairy subjects.
“It’s been really hard work and has meant an incredible amount of hard work from the theatre’s wardrobe team, but it will all be worth it when it comes together on the stage.”
Jay trained at North Warwickshire College in Nuneaton, and at the London School of Fashion specialising in millinery, but said getting into the fashion world professionally was really difficult.
And show director Rob Sloan said working with him and the rest of the team has been a delight.
“Everyone has had to work so hard to pull it all together, and it’s not just the wardrobe team who have been going the extra mile.
“We’ve transformed the auditorium to change the shape of the stage so that it looks like a smaller version of the ‘thrust’ stage they have in Stratford.
“We’ve taken a few seats out to accommodate the new shape of stage, and it has worked really well as it allows to bridge the divide between the stage and the audience.
“We want our production to be truly accessible, to make sense and to be fast paced and full of action.”
The production has already been selected by the Royal Shakespeare Company to be part of this year’s Open Stages project, where experts from the professional theatre work closely with the director and production teams from amateur groups.
Rob’s relationship with the RSC has blossomed since his production of Romeo and Juliet was chosen to close the RSC’s Open Stages project in Stratford in 2012.
“We’re planning an enchanting night in the forest featuring a bunch of fairies with attitude, a king and queen at war, a mischievous sprite, and of course Bottom and his band of amateur actors who are busy rehearsing another play.
“It’s full of laughter, dark magic and of course forbidden love. This will be a version like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”
The show features a blend of the theatre’s most experienced actors with some talented newcomers. Rob has also been working with a team of schoolchildren, some as young as seven, who play a bunch of badly-behaved fairies.
Rob said: “It has been lovely to work with such a mix of people. The children have been incredibly enthusiastic and energetic, it couldn’t fail to rub off on everyone else.
“It has been so much fun trying to bring it all together with the rest of the production team and I’m certain something really magical is going to happen every night on stage.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens on Saturday, May 10, then runs from Monday, May 12, to Saturday, May 17. For ticket details turn to the What’s On page.
The group of young actors who will play the fairies. Picture by Martin Pulley.