Shakespeare comes to Silver Lake Park

To thank community, Lighthouse presents Driftwood Theatre’s take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Derek Ritschel wanted to do something special for the community.

Heading into Lighthouse Festival Theatre’s 40th season, Ritschel, the artistic director, and the board of directors put their heads together to think of some way to give back to the town and region that has supported the summer theatre on the shores of Lake Erie through thick and thin.

Inspired by the long-running Dream in the Park in Toronto, they had their idea – Lighthouse would bring Shakespeare to Port Dover.

Fast forward a few months and Driftwood Theatre is poised to stage A (Musical) Midsummer Night’s Dream at Silver Lake Park on Saturday, August 17, at 7:30 p.m.

Lighthouse is footing the bill, meaning everyone can enjoy a modern take on one of the Bard’s best-loved plays – Driftwood’s version comes complete with original music in the style of Motown, soul, calypso, reggae and more – by packing a picnic, bringing a lawn chair, and seeing the show for free.

“It’s something that’s never been done in Port Dover, and for the 40th, this is something that Lighthouse can do that’s unique but still in our wheelhouse,” Ritschel explained.

“For 25 years, Driftwood Theatre has toured all across Ontario entertaining audiences, and people come back year after year because they find Shakespeare in the park to be a unique and fun experience.”

Adapted by Kevin Fox, Tom Lillington and Driftwood artistic director D. Jeremy Smith, the company describes its imaginative spin on Shakespeare’s classic play as “a magical adventure of musical proportions sure to delight the hearts of audiences of all ages.”

The story centres on the midnight revels of four lovers and a group of hapless actors who wander into an enchanted forest only to have their lives forever changed by the denizens of the faery realm.

“It’s exciting,” Ritschel said. “It’s an open atmosphere, people can come, and it’s an easy introduction to Shakespeare. It’s easy and fun.”

Driftwood is touring the show around Ontario as part of what the company calls “the Bard’s bus tour,” and the early returns are promising, with one reviewer for writing that the production left audiences “delighted and astounded.”

Ritschel invites the community to experience the magic that is Shakespeare in the park and celebrate Lighthouse’s milestone anniversary the best way the theatre knows how – by putting on a show.

“It’s the medium we believe strongly adds to the fabric of our community,” Ritschel said.

A (Musical) Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed at Silver Lake Park on Saturday, August 17, at 7:30 p.m. For full details, click here.