First presentation of Shakespeare in Guelph’s Riverside Park

First Light The­atre is presenting the first-ever Shakespearean perfor­mance in the Riverside Park bandshell at the end of May. 

This version of A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream will stand out from other shows of its kind as it will be performed in a modern outdoor setting by youth aged 13 to 21, who will have undergone an intense train­ing program leading up to the show.

Rob MacKinnon, director and First Light Theatre’s co-founder, chose the play.

"A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an ideal play to train young actors. The fascinating characters, the challenging lan­guage and the active plot give great opportunities for devel­op­ment of mind, voice and body. Shakespeare’s poetic genius for rhythm and rhyme provide graceful tools to make the actor’s job easier."

First Light Theatre is not just a group that puts on plays; it has a focus on the process.  Rosemary Walton and Rob Mac­Kinnon, First Light’s foun­ders, use drama to engage young people in an experience that will help build skills in leadership, communication, risk-taking, and commitment as well as an awareness of the pow­er of cooperative work. 

Walton and Mac­Kinnon also enlist the help of pro­fes­sional theatre artists to properly train the youth.  For example, to prepare for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the youth have worked with professional ac­tors and instructors from Strat­ford to help them master the art of iambic pentameter.

The performance is only one of the many programs that First Light orchestrates in and out of the classroom setting.  For a complete listing of First Light programming, visit

The show runs May 29, 30, and 31 at 8pm; June 1 at 2pm; and June 5, 6 and 7 at 8pm; and June 8 at 2pm

The suggested minimum donation is $10 and tickets are available at the gate two hours prior to performance time.

Organizers suggest people bring along a chair or blanket.

The June 8 performance will take place in conjunction with the Ontario Arts Council’s Celebrate Our Artists Week­end. Join the cast early at 12:30pm for an interactive workshop.

 The show is at Riv­erside Park bandshell, 709 Woolwich Street, between Woodlawn Street and Speed­vale Avenue)

Email or call 519-856-2517, or visit for more information.