A Midsummer Night's Dream

Wed Aug 15, 19:00 - Sat Aug 18, 21:00
Memorial Hall, Rondebosch Boys' High School


This year Rustenburg Girls’ High School and Rondebosch Boys’ High School present a collaborative interpretation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is fitting in so many ways; perhaps most appropriately because the two great schools now also share a Senior Dramatic Arts Department. The academic subject is taught in a co-ed environment with Rustenburg actresses and Rondebosch actors together studying theatre history, drama theory and a selection of prescribed plays from the national curriculum. Dramatic Arts is a fully fledged subject on its own and a recognised credit when applying to tertiary intuitions. There are countless reasons why it is beneficial for it to be taught to budding female and male thespians at the same time. 

The Play

“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind," complains lovesick Helena, “And therefore is wingéd Cupid painted blind.” This suggestion, of love being blind, runs as a motif throughout the plot as characters fall head over heels with others who spurn them, and immortals trick each other to pursue half-human monstrosities. 

Mischievous Puck sets the chaos in motion with the aptly named Love in Idleness flower. The power of this fantastical bloom is so mighty that even the Queen of the Fairies succumbs. But there are other manifestations on non-romantic love too: the deep underlying respect between an older couple; the devotion which exists between friends; and even the love for acting itself as the comic Rustics attempt to stage a tragic play-within-a-play. All the antics occur underneath the mystical half crescent moon. The word ‘lunar’ is often used to describe its celestial might. 


The 2018 collaboration is thanks to the innovative approach of both Principals: Mr Michael Gates of Rustenburg and Mr Shaun Simpson of Rondebosch, who both appreciate the long-term value of the performing arts. With Rustenburg’s reputation for theatrical excellence (the Dramatic Arts Department has now thrice offered the Top Performing pupil in the Western Cape), Standard Bank soon came on board as the headline sponsor and has generously supported the show, in particular the surreal elements of the set design and construction. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is spearheaded by Mr Adrian Skelly, who is Head of the Arts Faculty at Rustenburg. Mr Skelly has nearly 20 years of experience directing and staging productions and has, over the years, tackled major works such as Pygmalion, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and A Murder is Announced; the latter to celebrate the 150th anniversary of crime writer Agatha Christie. Perhaps most poignant, however, was the 2014 Workshop Theatre exploration called HAIR RAISING. An extensive investigation was held into the direct impact of cancer within the Rustenburg community. Then all memories and experiences were combined into a two-hour original production, which eventually raised R20 000 for St. Luke’s Hospice. 

A number of respected Cape Town professionals have joined the team, each bringing with them a wealth of creative ideas. Ms Carey Hickson-Mahony, a Rustenburg Old Girl and now Principal of the Cape Academy of Dramatic Arts, has been instrumental in nurturing the cast by guiding them into achieving rich, three-dimensional characterisation. Ms Hickson-Mahony has been an invaluable support and works tirelessly. Dance instructor Ms Roxy Levy, who was the choreography responsible for the sequences recently seen on the Artscape stage for The Wizard of Oz, has designed the movement routines. Her energy is infectious. Ms Roxanne Boehme, a professional hair and make-up stylist, created the ‘looks’ which clearly differentiate the mortal versus immortal characters. She didn’t even flinch when asked to construct from bamboo and shweshwe fabric a gigantic donkey’s head! Mr Victor Kok, a Claremont based couturier, accepted the responsibility of Costume Designer. Costumes have been pulled from existing stock, reimagined, spliced and enhanced in an appropriate dreamy fashion. Watch out for the heavy blue velvet! Some of the royal characters will be wearing garments made by the old Kemp Hall curtains which were recently replaced.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the WCED prescribed dramatic works set for Grade 8 learners in 2018 - in this regard, we have a special offer for schools that are able to arrange block-bookings of 20 or more (including the accompanying teacher-in-charge) - please contact [email protected] for details.



A Midsummer Night's Dream
Memorial Hall, Rondebosch Boys' High School
Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa
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