Published: 14:17, 17 December 2019
| Updated: 14:17, 17 December 2019
Shakespeare is set to meet RuPaul's drag race for a theatre company's 20th outdoor summer tour next year.
Maidstone-based Changeling Theatre's 20th year of al fresco touring across the county will see the company staging the playwright's most popular comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream for 2020.
The play is a love-fuelled supernatural tale of dreams and deceptions set in an enchanted forest of meddling fairies.
And with their trademark cheekiness, the troupe plan to mix Gothic fantasy with RuPaul's Drag Race for the show, which will be staged at venues across the county and beyond, starting at Boughton Monchelsea Place in Maidstone, where it all began 20 years ago.
A Midsummer Night's Dream was the first Shakespeare play the company toured back in 2001.
Changeling’s creative director Rob Forknall said: “Every year we ask our audience to vote for their choice of plays the following year. We decided not to do this in 2020 because we wanted to mark our 20th tour and well, audiences always want us to do A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
"It’s going to be our best tour yet, and we hope it will be our way of saying thank you to the wonderful audiences who support us year after year.”
Maidstone Borough Council leader Cllr Martin Cox, said: “I have a long personal connection with great theatre in Maidstone and have enjoyed Changeling’s original and brilliant Shakespeare adaptations for years. I was at their first ever touring performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Boughton Monchelsea Place in 2001, so it’s wonderful news that they’re doing it again in 2020 on their 20th tour.
"Many of Maidstone’s stunning gardens and grounds are discovered for the first time by going to a Changeling outdoor show."
Rob Forknall first staged A Midsummer Night’s Dream back in 1992, with his previous company Querk Theatre.
The promenade performance weaved the actors and audience through the gardens of Boughton Monchelsea Place. In a nod to thatproduction, some of next year’s Boughton Monchelsea Place performances will also be in the promenade style.
A more traditional setting of the play will be staged at other venues on the tour.
The play is set on Midsummer’s night. Four young lovers find themselves in an enchanted and mysterious forest, ruled by prying pixies and feuding fairies. The Fairy King and Queen are at war and keen but clueless amateur actors Bottom, Quince and friends are putting on a play.
Mischievous fairy Puck is up to no good, playing tricks on them all in a magical comic tale where the course of true love is well and truly scuppered.
The tour runs from Friday, June 26 to Sunday 16 August 2020, in venues ranging from Margate seafront to Biddenden Vineyard and parks to amphitheatres and castles. Venues, dates and booking details will be released in March. Find out more at changeling-theatre.com