Home comforts as Oddsocks tackles Shakespeare’s Dream

Published: 18 June 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Andy Barrow (Bottom) and Elli Mackenzie (Titania) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Family-run touring theatre company Oddsocks Productions is to present a second Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, from its home.

More than 3,000 viewers tuned in to see Macbeth in May which featured the Oddsocks family of dad Andy Barrow, mum Elli Mackenzie and 19-year-old daughter Charlie. They will be joined by son Felix for the next live-edited performance streamed from their home.

While many theatre companies have been streaming their productions online or performing on Zoom, Oddsocks takes a different approach: the 45-minute production is performed from their home in Derbyshire in real time.

It is live-edited remotely by director of photography Kee Ramsorrun who is based in Margate and the show is hosted by The Streaming Theatre in Los Angeles. The family use three mobile phones, four laptops and a range of household items for the production.

“We decided to make the most of our time in lockdown,” said Barrow who plays Bottom and Oberon as well as both male suitors Lysander and Demetrius.

“Touring is impossible, venues are closed and all our paid work has stopped for the foreseeable future. We’re a family of actors and we enjoy working together, so we’re giving it a go.”

Mackenzie is looking forward to playing Titania, Peter Quince, Helena and Hermia. She commented, “we’re used to playing multiple roles in our touring productions but this may well be the first time two actors have played all four lovers in one production.

“It’s a real step up from the demands of doing Macbeth in lockdown due to the nature of the play but I think we’ve found some inventive ways to meet the challenges.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will go live on Friday 19 June at 7PM and can be viewed at The Streaming Theatre web site. Macbeth and a documentary about how it was made are available at the Oddsocks web site.

The company’s national tour of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors has been postponed until 2021.