BAFTA LA, as part of its commitment to professional and community education, is once again bringing the Bard to Ladera Heights, reteaming with Washington Preparatory High School for a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream on June 9 and 10 at 3:30 pm at Ladera Height's Park located at 6027 Ladera Heights Boulevard in Los Angeles. Last year BAFTA LA's Education and Outreach Program partnered with Washington Preparatory High School to stage Shakespeare's classic, Romeo and Juliet.
During the rehearsal period, BAFTA LA members will mentor the student players to help their performance as well as give them a better understanding of the context of the play. This year's mentors include Sherrill Turner and Noam Friedlander, returning for a second year, and Phillip Rhys and Neil Dickson, among others.
Washington Preparatory drama teacher Dr. Melanie Andrews directs this version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which will take advantage of the natural setting among the trees in the park to recreate the forest setting of the play. It will be performed in the original text. Believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596, A Midsummer Night's Dream portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of 6 amateur actors, who are manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest.
"Our members have embraced the program, sharing their passion for Shakespeare as well as their dramatic skills with these young actors," said Neil Stiles, Chairman BAFTA LA. "We are pleased that the program is as rewarding for the mentors, many of whom have returned for another year, as well as for the students we aim to inspire."
Katy Haber, MBE and Paul Heller who are the co-chairs of the BAFTA LA Education and Outreach Committee, have begun discussions with LAUSD for ways to implement the program in other school district venues, and also with The Sundance Institute, who wants to find ways to create similar programs for inner city youth.
The Los Angeles County Parks Department, under the leadership of Joe Mendoza, has also been instrumental in making the site for the performance successful.