Richard Holt plays Bottom in Iris Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream led by rising star director Sara Aniqah Malik.
Now in its 14th year, Iris Theatre’s summer season has become a critically-acclaimed, award-winning part of the theatrical calendar, welcoming thousands of people to the Actors’ Church. Escape the hustle and bustle, take in the beautiful grounds of the Actors’ Church, and enjoy a drink at The Bard, a new pop-up bar designed specifically for this fantastic new adaptation.
Performed at Iris Theatre’s Summer Festival at the Actors’ Church in the heart of Covent Garden, the production opens on 5 July, with previews from 29 June, and runs until 13 August. Tickets are on sale here.
You’re playing Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, what can you tell us about this production?
Our director, Sara, has set about making Shakespeare as accessible as possible by giving him a 90s Americana makeover. Think “Ten things I hate about you”, “She’s all that” etc. You’ll be welcomed to Athens Academy, by social outsider Puck, who will introduce you to the glee club nerds (the Mechanicals), the frat boys and sorority girls (Hippolyta, Theseus, and the 4 lovers), and the outcast emo kids (Oberon and Titania).
What was it about this adaptation that made you want to be a part of it?
Funny story – many of the actors in the company were initially attached to the production prior to the pandemic, when it had a different director/ producer and concept! Then everything stopped for a bit. And this year Iris decided to revive the production, and as they are an honourable bunch, they offered us all our parts again, but with Sarah at the helm. So now, we are all going on a journey of discovery together in the rehearsal room!
Tell us about playing Bottom, what do you love most about the role?
He’s an absolute tit.
What are you looking forward to most about working with Iris Theatre?
The setting. We’re really lucky to have such a beautiful outdoor spot right in the centre of London. I’m looking forward to strolling through Covent Garden on the way to work!
Why do you think this play works so well in the setting of The Actor’s Church?
We’re really lucky to have 3 playing spaces that have such different feels, yet are only a few steps from each other – these are, the interior of the church, the steps outside, and the gardens. This’ll help us to transport the audience across campus to the woods with ease. Also, the Greek inspired architecture of the church is certainly emulated in the design of some American colleges, which I think will help people buy into the adaptation.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
I’d say well done you, you clearly have excellent taste. Expect a bold adaptation of a family favourite, which is accessible to everyone. But truly… Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.