Dream – live, online performance leads the way in future audience experience

Performance: Friday 12 March – Saturday 20 March 2021

Booking: – Lobby opens Mon 8 Mar  #DreamOnline21

Acclaimed musician, writer, film score composer and occasional actor, Nick Cave joins the cast of Dream (12 – 20 March 2021), a live online production created in collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Manchester International Festival (MIF), Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) and Philharmonia Orchestra.

Pre-recorded during lockdown, Nick Cave is the Voice of the Forest – a strange and beautiful character we never see but who is all around us. Audiences are invited to illuminate flowers, trees and streams in a virtual midsummer forest. Entering the forest at dusk the audience are invited to interact with a cast of seven actors. Guided by the forest itself, they must explore and regrow the forest before dawn.

Nick Cave has been performing music for more than forty years and is best known as the songwriter and lead singer of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, his latest album, ‘Carnage’, written and recorded with Warren Ellis was released in February 2021. Cave’s body of work also covers a wider range of media and modes of expression including film score composition and writing of novels. His Red Hand Files website have seen Cave exploring deeper and more direct relationships with his fans.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Manchester International Festival (MIF), Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) and Philharmonia Orchestra will stage a live performance of Dream using motion capture as the culmination of a major piece of cutting-edge research and development (R&D).  The pioneering collaboration explores how audiences could experience live performance in the future in addition to a regular visit to a performance venue.

Dream was due to open in Spring 2020 as an in person and online live performance and has been recreated during the pandemic for online audiences whilst theatres remain closedThe project is one of four Audience of the Future Demonstrator projects, supported by the government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is delivered by UK Research and Innovation. 

Dream is inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and gives a unique opportunity for audiences to directly influence the live performance from wherever they are in the world. Audiences will experience a new performance environment easily accessed on their mobile, desktop or tablet via the website. The performance uses the latest gaming and theatre technology together with an interactive symphonic score that responds to the actors’ movement during the show.

The live performance is set in a virtual midsummer forest. Under the shadow of gathering clouds at dusk, lit by the glimmer of fireflies, Puck acts as the guide. Audiences are invited to explore the forest from the canopy of the trees to the roots, meet the sprites, Cobweb, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom and Moth, and take an extraordinary journey into the eye of a cataclysmic storm. Together with Puck they must regrow the forest before the dawn.  When day breaks, the spell breaks.

The 50-minute online event will be a shared experience between remote audience members and the seven actors who play Puck and the sprites. Audiences can choose to buy a £10 ticket to take part and at key points in the play directly influence the world of the actors, or to view the performance for free. The ten Dream performances are scheduled so that audiences across the world can join the event.

For further information, visit

DREAM – A live, online performance set in a virtual midsummer forest.

Cast and creatives:

Robin McNicholas – Director

Pippa Hill – Script Creation 

Robin Mc Nicholas & Pippa Hill – Narrative 

Esa-Pekka Salonen – Music Director & Composer

Jesper Nordin – Composer, Interactivity Designer and Creative Advisor, Music

Sarah Perry – Movement Director 

Maggie Bain (Cobweb), Phoebe Hyder (Understudy Puck and Mustardseed), Durassie Kiangangu (Moth), Jamie Morgan (Peaseblossom), Loren O’Dair (Mustardseed), EM Williams (Puck ), Edmund Wood (rehearsal assistant, Understudy Moth, Cobweb & Peaseblossom).