Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of The Dream. It was last on stage 31 May—13 June 2014.
A disagreement between Oberon, King of the Fairies, and his Queen, Titania, escalates, resulting in comic misunderstandings and the collision of human and supernatural worlds.
Frederick Ashton’s The Dream is based on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The ballet had its premiere in 1964 as part of a Royal Ballet programme commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. It was performed alongside Kenneth MacMillan’s Images of Love and Robert Helpmann’s Hamlet – both also based on works by Shakespeare. The roles of Oberon and Titania were created for Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley, marking the beginning of their enduring and celebrated dance partnership.
Ashton captures all the comic confusion of Shakespeare’s play in inventive choreography. The high-spirited misadventures of the two pairs of mortal lovers combine with the humorous cavorting of Bottom, who dances en pointe after being transformed into an ass. The ballet culminates in a powerful pas de deux for Oberon and Titania, which moves through a stormy conflict of wills to a harmonious union. Felix Mendelssohn’s incidental music for the play, including the well-known Overture, Scherzo, Nocturne and Wedding March, provides a perfect partner to Ashton’s choreography.
Frederick Ashton created more than one hundred works during his lifetime (1904–88). For further information, please visit www.frederickashton.org.uk.
News and features
17 July 2015
Marcelino Sambé and Luca Acri rehearsed the role of Puck earlier this summer with Guest Principal Ballet Master Christopher Carr.
19 May 2015
The three-week tour will see the Company perform in Washington D.C., Chicago and New York.
1 June 2014
What did you think of The Royal Ballet's Mixed programme featuring works by Ashton, Marriott and Robbins?
30 May 2014
Frederick Ashton creates a wonderfully virtuoso set piece that perfectly mirrors Mendelssohn's lively music.
30 May 2014
A quick guide to The Royal Ballet's new mixed programme, featuring classic works by Ashton and Robbins as well as a world premiere from Alastair Marriott.
27 May 2014
Steven McRae to replace Federico Bonelli in the role of Oberon.
The Dream is a one-act ballet adapted from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with choreography by Frederick Ashton to music by Mendelssohn arranged by John Lanchbery. It was premiered by The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 2 April 1964 in a triple bill with Kenneth MacMillan's Images of Love and Robert Helpmann's Hamlet.