CCM Theatre Design & Production and E-Media Students Team with Artist Amy Shackleton to Give ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ a Colorful Twist

Scenic designer and third-year graduate student Ryan Howell (left) and Canadian artist Amy Shackleton give a design presentation to CCM Theatre Design and Production students.

Scenic designer and third-year graduate student Ryan Howell (left) and Canadian artist Amy Shackleton give a design presentation to CCM Theatre Design and Production students.

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream receives a colorful and refreshing update in the upcoming production at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. Beginning with a preview performance on Oct. 3, audiences will be transported to the 1960s and will follow four lovers and some unfortunate “mechanicals” as their lives become the playthings of a band of fairies.

Director Michael Burnham wanted to take a new approach to a traditional piece and encouraged set designer and third year graduate student Ryan Howell to contact Canadian artist Amy Shackleton to collaborate on an original art piece for the show. With the help of CCM’s Division of Electronic Media, Amy Shackleton was filmed while painting the piece and the resulting footage will be used to create a backdrop that will paint itself as the story develops.

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Scenic Design of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Amy Shackleton, Toronto-based gravity artist, demonstrating her technique to CCM students.

Amy Shackleton, Toronto-based gravity artist, demonstrating her technique to CCM students.

To ignite its 2012-13 Mainstage Season, CCM will be presenting one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from Oct. 3 (preview) – 7 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

The play takes us on a wistful journey with four lovers and a weaver as they interact with some Puck-ish pranks in the wood. Director Michael Burnham and fellow designers add a spin to this version of the show as we find ourselves in the summer of 1963, right before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Learn more about how this spin influenced the show’s costume design here.

As previously reported, international artist Amy Shackleton joins the design team of CCM’s  A Midsummer Night’s Dream to engage in a unique collaboration, creating an original piece of art. Amy’s process was documented and will set the backdrop for this production.

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Discussing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ Costumes with Student Designer Brittany McManus

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Brittany McManus is a third-year master’s degree student in costume design. Along with the production’s scenic designer, lighting designer, sound designer and wig & make-up designer (all of whom are third-year graduate students at CCM), McManus’ work on A Midsummer Night’s Dream is serving as her thesis project.

McManus’ unique costume design concepts for this production draw inspiration from the 1960s. “We are doing three different groups of people,” she explains. “The 60s are when the countercultures really emerge, so you start to see these different facets of society in a way that you may have seen before… but not to this extent.”

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CCM Drama Opens Mainstage Season with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Megan Marshall as Hippolyta and Trey Wright as Nick Bottom in CCM's Mainstage Production of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'

Megan Marshall as Hippolyta and Trey Wright as Nick Bottom in CCM’s Mainstage Production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) will present a nostalgic new take on the Bard of Avon’s adored and enduring A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Oct. 3 (preview) through 7 in Patricia Corbett Theater. This comedic dalliance of magic and young love will be presented with a wistful and unprecedented 1960s concept, and will also feature an original work of art by renowned Canadian visual artist Amy Shackleton.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream explores the adventures of a quartet of Athenian lovers, a group of six amateur actors (the mechanicals) and their encounters with the fairies who control and manipulate them, including Puck, one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated characters. The setting of 1963 presents a new concept organically and creatively orchestrated by director Michael Burnham and costume designer Brittany McManus.

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CCM Video: Mainstage Season-Opener Features Collaboration with Artist Amy Shackleton

CCM’s Mainstage Series opens next month with William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The innovative new production will feature a collaboration with Toronto-based artist Amy Shackleton (in fact, this is Shackleton’s first-ever theatrical collaboration)!

You can view her unique process in the time-lapse video above. Shackleton is working with CCM’s Department of Theatre Design & Production to develop an all new time-lapse video for the show!

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Rick Pender Hails CCM’s ‘Into the Woods’ As ‘The Season’s Best Musical’

Rick Pender takes a look back at Cincinnati’s 2011-12 theatre season in the current issue of CityBeat and singles out CCM’s Into the Woods as “the season’s best musical.” Congratulations to everyone involved with this production, which also received a record number of awards from the League of Cincinnati Theatres!

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CCM Presents Tom Stoppard’s Sharp Comedy ‘Arcadia’ April 18-22

Zach Crowley as Septimus Hodge, Sarah Vargo as Thomasina Coverly and Ellie Jameson as Lady Croom in CCM's Mainstage production of 'Arcadia.'

Zach Crowley as Septimus Hodge, Sarah Vargo as Thomasina Coverly and Ellie Jameson as Lady Croom in CCM's Mainstage production of 'Arcadia.'

CCM’s 2011-12 Mainstage Series resumes this month with Tom Stoppard’s comedic masterpiece Arcadia, a witty play depicting past and present pursuits of knowledge and passion. This wondrous interweaving of intellectual and philosophical concepts runs from April 18 (preview) through April 22 in Patricia Corbett Theater in CCM Village.

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CCM’s ‘Into the Woods’ Receives a Record Nine League of Cincinnati Theatres Awards

CCM presents INTO THE WOODS, Feb. 23 - March 4, 2012. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM presents INTO THE WOODS, Feb. 23 - March 4, 2012. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods has earned nine awards from the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT)! The fairytale adventure turns traditional stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk and others upside down, examining the “after” in these happily-ever-after tales.

LCT panelists praised nearly every aspect of the production, which was described as “fitting CCM like the golden slipper on Cinderella’s foot.” Awards were given in the following categories:

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CCM Slideshows: Into the Woods

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The reviews are in and CityBeat‘s Rick Pender calls Into the Woods a “remarkably mature and thoroughly entertaining production,” while the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Jackie Demaline writes: “Delights include first-rate work from graduating seniors and a show of great promise from freshmen in the wonderful storybook world created by the design team.”

Find out for yourself what happens after “happily ever after” when CCM presents Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning Into the Woods, running this Thursday through Sunday, March 4, 2012 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

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