Filming a Dream of 1959

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As part of the first Shakespeare Film Festival here in Stratford-upon-Avon we had a special showing of Peter Hall’s 1959 A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A young Vanessa Redgrave can be seen as Helena, Robert Hardy is Oberon, Ian Holm is Puck…

Charles Laughton, who plays Bottom, introduces the film with a four-minute tour of Stratford-upon-Avon.

The production was filmed on the main stage of the then Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and was languishing in our archive until Shakespeare film expert Professor Russell Jackson retrieved it, dusted it down, and was able to tell us all about it.

You might like to join us for Filming Shakespeare: a webinar on Friday 26 October at 4.00pm (BST). I’ll be in conversation with Professor Stanley Wells and Russell about the Shakespeare films of Sir Kenneth Branagh. You can find out more and register by clicking here. The webinar is sponsored by Cambridge University Press.

In the meantime, listen to a conversation I had with Stanley, who well remembers the 1959 Shakespeare season…

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Author:Paul Edmondson

Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul_edmondson

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