We are performing at the Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh from the 2nd to the 15th of August.
The Dreamer was originally created as part of the British Council’s Shakespeare Lives Programme, commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. The show is inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream and, as an additional celebration of this unique collaboration between China and the UK, the production has also been influenced by The Peony Pavillion; a classic text written by Shakespeare’s Chinese contemporary Tang Xianzu.
The project started back in September 2015, when four Gecko team members visited Shanghai to work with 12 performers from Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre’s ensemble for an initial week of research and development. Through workshops that explored the themes of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the performers were introduced to Gecko’s performance style, which is very different from their own training. Rather than focussing on text, the two companies explored the relationships, emotions and interactions within the play, which are still very pertinent to our contemporary existence. Another idea the team explored was the dream sequence in Tang Xianzu’s The Peony Pavilion.
An intense creation period then followed in July 2016 and September 2016. Led by Gecko’s Associate Director Rich Rusk and Devising Performer Chris Evans (who between them have worked on Gecko’s The Overcoat, Missing, Institute, The Time of Your Life, The Wedding), and with support from long-time Gecko associates Rhys Jarman (design), Chris Swain (lighting design) and Dave Price (composer), they worked with SDAC’s resident company of performers and creatives to make the show. The final production performed at SDAC in October 2016 to glowing audience reviews, and went on to win the prestigious 2016 One Drama award in China for Best Stage Design.
The team came back together in June 2017 to re-work the show and prepare it for its future touring life, kicking off with a two week run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2017. Employing Gecko’s trademark style, the production blends emotionally driven movement, a spine tingling soundscape and striking visual storytelling to bring a new twist to these classic texts.