Olivier award winner Janie Dee on performing Shakespeare at the Rose Theatre Kingston

Janie Dee stars as Titania in the Globe Theatre's production of A  Midsummer Night's Dream

Janie Dee stars as Titania in the Globe Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream

First published in News
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Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

Dame Judi Dench's 2010 appearance as the fairy queen Titania in Sir Peter Hall's A Midsummer Night's Dream remains, to this day, the Rose Theatre's biggest box office success.

So it would take a brave performer indeed to attempt to fill those not inconsiderable shoes.

But if there was ever a natural successor to Dame Judi, then it is surely double-Olivier Award winner Janie Dee.

Not only was Dee a member of the audience during the Oscar winner's iconic run at the High Street venue, but it was Dench who directed Dee in her first Shakespearean role, in Romeo and Juliet.

"Judi gave me one of my first straight roles - until that time I had been in lots of musicals – so this was the turning point for me," says Dee.

"I had won an Olivier at that time with Carousel and they wanted me to go to the West End and New York, but I wanted to move on, and so I took the job with Judi."

The Globe Theatre's latest adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy, directed by Dominic Dromgoole, will come to the Rose for three days next week, starting on Friday, September 5.

The production will see her reunited with House of Elliot star Aden Gillett, who plays fairy king Oberon.

The pair also appeared together at the Rose in 2010, in a Nancy Mitford adaptation of Andre Roussin's The Little Hut.

But Dee's relationship with the Rose goes even further back.

"My first experience of the Rose was when Peter Hall took me into the building in 2004 or 2005, around the time that theatre was looking like a shell," she says.

"He took me onto the central spot of the stage and said: 'What do you think?' and I said: 'Wow, this is perfect!’

"You can hear your voice really well, it rings perfectly around auditorium.

"I remember thinking that it felt like what I had imagined a Shakespearean theatre would have felt."

Dee is clearly relishing the prospect, given that the production - which will also visit Asia and Russia - does not visit the Globe. 

"I am going to a place Judi has played to play the same part, in this very special theatre, that Peter Hall introduced me to."

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Rose Theatre, High Street, Kingston.

Friday, September 5 to Sunday, September 7, 7.30pm (Sunday 6.30pm; matinee 1pm) £5-£26

Visit rosetheatrekingston.org or call 020 8174 0090.

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