The Dreamer

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The Dreamer

A Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Gecko co-production

Inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream and The Peony Pavilion by Tang Xianzu, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Gecko present The Dreamer.

Helena finally finds the man of her dreams but when she realises she can’t keep him, she falls deep into a stormy landscape of extraordinary visions, hideous nightmares and vivid memories.

In the world she lives in, true love is hard to come by. With her parents desperate for her to find happiness and her friends all having babies, Helena is under pressure. When she finally finds the right man, there is a catch. He only exists in her dreams…

Created as part of the British Council’s 2016 Shakespeare Lives programme, Gecko and Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre have worked together to create a vibrant new production to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. As an additional celebration of this unique partnership between China and the UK, the production also draws on influences from The Peony Pavilion written by Shakespeare’s Chinese contemporary Tang Xianzu.

Directed by Gecko’s Associate Director Rich Rusk, The Dreamer uses Gecko’s trademark style to blend emotionally driven movement, a spine tingling soundscape and striking visual storytelling to bring a new twist upon two classic texts.

The Dreamer also marks Chris Evans’s debut as Movement Director for the company. As one of Gecko’s longstanding devising performers, he has collaborated with artists from Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre to create the choreography for the show. 

October 2016 saw the world premiere of The Dreamer at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre. The show opened to glowing audience reviews and won the ‘Best Stage Design’ Award by 2016 One Drama.


“Its flowing beauty depicts a poetic landscape…When you lower your head, you immediately fall into it, just like Alice falls into the rabbit-hole. What you see and what you experience in it goes beyond your imagination.”
Audience member.   

“On the stage, different groups of performers co-exist, simultaneously presenting scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peony Pavilion. An amazing show! For its unique performing style, distinct stage designing and music, The Dreamer has become the most impressive show I’ve ever watched so far!”
Audience member.

Creative Team

Director: Rich Rusk
Movement Director: Chris Evans
Producer: Rosalind Wynn

With performers from Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre:
Liu Peng, Yang Zi Yi, Wu Jing Wei, Yan Wen, Zhao Yun Long, Zhou Zi Dan, Wang Wei Shuai, Yang Jing Ran, Li Chen Shan

Musician: Ni Peiwen

Design: Rhys Jarman 
Lighting Design: Chris Swain 
Original Music: Dave Price
Technical Manager: Mishi Bekesi
Assistant Director: Fang Ge/Lv Rui

For Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre:

Executive Producer: Shaolin Yang
Artistic Director: Lv Liang
Producer: Wu Jia
Associate Producer: Shi Tang
Supervisor: Tian Shui
Translator: Lin Qian
Dramaturg: Yu Rongjun
Stage Designer: Sang Qi

Lighting Operator: Wang Beijun
Sound Operator: Wang Yixuan
Stage Manager: Luo Jixin
Costume & Make Up Designer: Leng Jia
Setting Designer: Cui Haigang
Prop Designer: Liu Yiping
Logistician: Chen Longqing
Publicity Manager: Zhao Yangxiang
Casting Director: Lu Renjie
Assistant Stage Manager: Sheng Ruoyu

Tour Dates

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Gecko is supported by Arts Council England and Ipswich Borough CouncilThe Dreamer is a Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Gecko co-production, commissioned by the British Council a part of the Shakespeare Lives programme.

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