Gallery of Bottoms

  • 1938

    This production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Andrew Leigh, designed by Norman Wilkinson, played in the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre from April 1938. The photo shows Oberon (Francis James, left) watching the enraptured Bottom (Jay Laurier) and Titania (Valerie Tudor) in Act 4, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's play.

    Photo by Ernest Daniels (copyright RSC)


  • 1949

    Puck (Philip Guard, centre) watches in glee as Quince (Bertram Shuttleworth, right) cowers before a transformed Bottom, played by John Slater, in Act 3 Scene 1. The production was directed by Michael Benthall and designed by James Bailey.

    Photo by Angus McBean (copyright RSC)

  • 1954

    George Devin directed the 1954 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was designed by Motley. Bottom was played by Anthony Quayle, shown here in Act 4 Scene 1, surrounded by (from left to right) Mustardseed (Alexandra Jack), Peasblossom (Annette Apcar), Moth (Jill Cary), Titania (Muriel Pavlow), Fairy (Jean Morley), Cobweb (Audrey Seed).

    Photo by RSC Angus McBean (copyright RSC)

  • 1959

    Charles Laughton as Bottom in Peter Hall's 1959 production was designed by Lila de Nobili and shows. The production also featured Vanessa Redgrave and Diana Rigg.

    Photo by Angus McBean (copyright RSC)

  • 1963

    Paul Hardwick as Bottom in Peter Hall's production. Hardwick took over from Charles Laughton when the production toured to Edinburgh, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Bradford and Manchester, then transferred to the Alwych, London.

    Photo by Reg Wilson (copyright RSC)

  • 1970

    Peter Brook's landmark production rejected many traditional ideas about staging, setting Shakespeare's comedy in a simple white box with two doors, designed by Sally Jacobs. Furniture was restricted to four white cushions, as well as trapezes and ladders. The photo shows David Waller as Bottom.

    Read a review of Peter Brook's influential production.

    Photo by Reg Wilson (copyright RSC)

  • 1977

    John Barton's 1977 production saw a return to a more pastoral setting, designed by John Napier. Pictured are Oberon (Patrick Stewart, background) watching as Titania (Marjorie Bland) frolics with Bottom (Richard Griffiths) in, Act 4 Scene 1.

    Joe Cocks Studio Collection © Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

  • 1986

    This production was directed by Bill Alexander and designed by William Dudley. The photo shows Bottom (David Haig) and Titania (Frances Tomelty) in Act 4 Scene 1.

    Photo by Reg Wilson (copyright RSC)

  • 1989

    This production was directed by John Caird and designed by Sue Blane. The photo shows Bottom (David Troughton) and Titania (Clare Higgins) in Act 4 Scene 1.

    Photo by Reg Wilson (copyright RSC)

  • 1999

    Michael Boyd's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, was directed by Michael Boyd, designed by Tom Piper. Shown are Titania (Josette Simon, left) and Bottom (Daniel Ryan) with fairy attendants, left to right, Mustardseed (Mary Duddy), Moth (Rebecca Lenkiwicz) Cobweb (Kemi Baruwa).

  • 2002

    A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2002, directed by Richard Jones, designed by Giles Cadle. The photo shows Bottom (Darrell D'Silva) and Titania (Yolanda Vazquez)

    Photo by Manuel Harlan (copyright RSC)

  • 2005

    Gregory Doran's 2005 production, designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, was the last production of A Midsummer Night's Dream to play in the old Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The production was presided over by an enormous full moon which travelled across the stage during the show, exerting its influence over mortal and immortal alike. Pictured is Malcolm Storry as Bottom.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley (copyright RSC)

  • 2011

    Our most recent incarnation of A Midsummer Night's Dream was Nancy Meckler's production in 2011. The forest in this production was shown by clusters of wooden chairs of different colours, suspended over the stage. The photo shows Pippa Nixon as Titania and Marc Wootton as Bottom.

    Photo by Ellie Kurttz (copyright RSC)

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