The Bard really does turn up everywhere – this year’s Fringe will find Titania and Oberon scheming against each other in a bushland setting outside Nairne in the Adelaide Hills.
In a production that oozes Flinders connections, Ink Pot Arts will stage an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that boasts a distinctively Australian feel – the mechanicals will be sporting mullets and the soundtrack will contain some very familiar 1980s melodies.
Ink Pot Arts, a community-based theatre and arts company, has brought together 40 professional and amateur performers to stage A Midsummer Dreaming at the Gibberagunyah Amphitheatre.
The play will be co-directed by two Flinders graduates, Nescha Jelk and Jo-anne Sarre. Nesha is about to take up an associate directorship with the State Theatre Company, while Jo-anne is founder and artistic director of Ink Pot Arts. The not-for-profit organisation runs a variety of classes in performance as well as mounting productions, events and exhibitions from its base in Mount Barker.
Actor and Flinders graduate David Hirst will play Theseus, the play’s leading (non-supernatural) man.
Phi Thedoros, who is currently studying media with a drama major at Flinders, is stage-managing the play and also appears as one of Theseus’s servants.
She said the production will also feature Indigenous performers from Hahndorf’s Imbala Jarjum company, with music provided by local band Plasticine Army, whose members will double as the play’s “rude mechanicals”.
“There are a lot of community partnerships and a lot of community support for this production, which is something we’re really excited about,” Ms Theodoros said.
Ms Theodoros said the Gibberagunyah Amphitheatre is a remarkable venue, which was created in 1997 by a then student from Mount Barker’s Waldorf School as a Year 12 project “in his mum’s back paddock”.
The audience will enter it via a winding path: “It’s like a little journey into another world, so it’s perfect for this type of production.”
Ms Theodoros said the artistic ambitions and credentials of the company take the production out of the realm of ordinary, small-scale community theatre.
“It’s a very earthy, relaxed production, but uses a professional-amateur model to produce something amazing,” she said.
The play will have four performances on the weekends of March 9 and 10 and March 16 and 17. The venue is about an hour’s drive from the CBD, and bookings can be made through Venuetix.