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Once Seen: Theatre Company

By Anna Rogers | 23rd May 2017

Once Seen Theatre Company - York’s only professional theatre company run by and comprised of actors with learning difficulties - is producing a new take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This is the latest in a series of classic texts that the company have taken on, including Oedipus Rex in 2016, The Canterbury Tales in 2015 and Romeo and Juliet in 2014 - which was their first ever Shakespeare. Now the company, which comprises twelve actors with learning difficulties, is returning to The Bard’s work with their unique interpretation of “The Dream”, co- directed by Matthew Harper-Hardcastle and Joshua Goodman who have worked with the company since 2013.

This is a theatre company keen to take on new challenges and break society’s stereotypes and conventions of adults with learning difficulties. Using Shakespeare’s Dream, the company incorporate it’s comedy , dance, and a diverse mix of modern and classical themes, as well as beautifully touching upon their real life experiences to deliver their message to the audience in the shape of their own personal dreams.

The classical text has not been compromised, instead the company have boldly approached the language and aim to deliver it with a fun, unique approach enthused with a passion that is infectious and warming to watch. ‘Once Seen’ believe wholly that ‘We all need magic in our lives’ and this is a message woven delicately throughout their show. Each actor reflects on what their own magic potion would be if they were given it in real life, as they briefly step out of the action and into their own dream.

Whether it be "To live independently" , "To keep funding going for the company to continue", "To stop disregarding what I say" or "To get married", the messages are important and need to be heard. They touch the hearts of all watching, echoing the themes in the play cleverly and respectfully, whilst uniquely dazzling the audience with the magic of Shakespeare and what it means to be alive and to dream.

‘Once Seen’ are a company that want to be heard and listened to, are deeply united in their love for theatre and work hard to be seen as equals in the arts; and they more than deserve to be. Spending time with this company it is very clear to see they are refreshingly unique, hitting new heights with their passion and what strengths each individual actor brings to ‘Once Seen’.

Let yourself get swept away in this version of "The Dream" with some love, mischief, fairies and music, mixed with the stories of the every day lives and challenges of people with learning difficulties.

Showing Fri 7th and Sat 8th July at 7:30pm at The John Cooper Studio Theatre, 41 Monkgate, York Tickets £10 (£7 conc.) available from York Theatre Royal box office

Once Seen Theatre Company in rehearsal for A Midsummers Night Dream

Once Seen Theatre Company in rehearsal for A Midsummers Night Dream

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