Toyah's Dream

Alan Cookman previews 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' starring Toyah Willcox. 

Your chance to star with former punk rocker. 

Former punk queen Toyah Willcox will play Titania, Queen of the Fairies, in this year's open-air Shakespeare production at Stafford Castle.  The singer, actress and TV presenter will also play Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, when A Midsummer Night's Dream opens for a two week run on June 28. 

Toyah has twice before appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream. She was Puck in a production in Regents Park and Hermia at Birmingham Rep. But she first came to prominence as Mad in Jubilee, the punk epic directed by Derek Jarman in 1977. She later played Monkey in the cult Mods-and-Rockers movie Quadrophenia with The Who. 

In the early eighties, Toyah had a string of hits with her own band, including It's A Mystery and I Want To Be Free. Now she is a busy actress, appearing in everything from Amadeus to Jack And The Beanstalk, and presenter of TV shows like BBC1's Holiday, Holiday On A Shoestring and The Heaven & Earth Show. 

"Toyah will bring a well of experience and knowledge to the production," says the Gatehouse Theatre's Steve Freeman, who is producing A Midsummer Night's Dream with colleague Dan Shaw. "Her career spans 24 years, and she has a CV that ranges from Shakespeare in Regents Park to Top Of The Pops. 

"She's a personality that everyone knows, whether as an actress, singer or TV presenter and she's going to make this year's event at the castle something really special." Steve says the cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream will include other familiar faces whose names will be revealed shortly. 

Meanwhile, there are opportunities for local performers to appear alongside Toyah and the other professionals in this year's alfresco production. Director Peter Dayson is looking for local talent to fill 10 roles to be taken by amateurs.

Stoke Sentinel
20 April 2000
Thanks to Rob Cope