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A musical for a midsummer night

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Driftwood Theatre began its tour in Oshawa where it all began with a rendition of A (musical) Midsummer Night’s Dream. They put the show on at Parkwood Estate because of the history of the building, according to show director Jeremy Smith. (Photo courtesy of Driftwood Theatre)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

It was a gathering of thespians as Driftwood Theatre put their own spin on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The play, considered by many to be one of William Shakespeare’s best, received a new twist at Parkwood Estate.

Instead of doing the same play performed since Shakespeare’s hay day, Driftwood turned it into a musical number called “A (musical) Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The play is adapted by Kevin Fox, Tom Lillington and Jeremy Smith.

This isn’t the first time Driftwood has put on this particular musical number.

“In the first year, [we put on the play] because of a slightly narcissistic desire on my own part to play the role of Puck,” says Jeremy Smith, artistic director at Driftwood. “That was really it. I mean that was the driving thing – I want to play this role, I think this play is funny, and I want to get out there and do it for my community.”

Driftwood is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Smith says he started the theatre company in Oshawa because of his love of theatre.

“[I started Driftwood] out of a desire to share the kind of theatre which had inspired me when I had gone through school,” explains Smith.

He was inspired by other theatre companies he had seen in Toronto to start his own.

“It was that simple of an idea, and it started with this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which we did 25 years ago,” he says.

Driftwood celebrated its anniversary with speakers and a cake before the show began.

Smith says Driftwood has become Ontario’s longest running professional outdoor touring theatre company.

In its first year, the company toured to four towns in two weeks, but has grown to have 27 performances in 22 cities this summer.

While the tour kicked off in Oshawa, Smith says the company still has other shows in Durham Region.

For those who have missed their shows in Oshawa, Whitby and Pickering, the show must go on as they will perform in Port Perry on Aug. 11 at the Scugog Shores Historical Museum, and in Bowmanville on Aug. 14 at the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington.

“It’s part of our vision to make theatre for everyone in Ontario,” says Smith.

Smith explains they chose to put the show on at Parkwood because of the history of the estate.

“We’ve been performing in Parkwood since about 1999 on and off, and we just have a long history with Parkwood, and our audiences – especially in Oshawa, I think – have come to really enjoy the sight,” he explains. “It really does lend itself to an outdoor theatre experience.”

For more information about Driftwood, visit driftwoodtheatre.com/

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