Forest Dreaming, a newly commissioned musical theatre production based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is being developed through our Creative Café workshops and Creative Labs.

The original concept for Forest Dreaming came from Geraldine Connor and her vision has been brought to life by writer Pat Cumper and composer Dominique Le Gendre. Forest Dreaming takes Shakespeare’s most popular comedy and combines it with Afro-Caribbean arts, inspired by a contemporary multi-cultural society. The production is set in two worlds: Theseus and Hippolyta’s world of order, commercial business and technology which contrasts with the enchanted forest and organic natural world of the market.

The development of this new musical began in August 2016 at our Creative Lab, an intensive week of exploration in music, theatre and dance. Professional artists, semi-professional creatives, students and young people with a passion for performing helped us progress ideas with music and movement workshops led by some of our Associate Artists.

Pat Cumper and Dominique Le Gendre then went away and developed the script and score over the next year, drawing on the ideas explored during our 2016 Creative Lab, before presenting what they had developed at our Midsummer Series Creative Café in June and July 2017.


Our Associate Artists, Khadijah Ibrahiim (writer, producer, artistic director) and Donald Edwards (RJC & Phoenix founding member, dancer, choreographer and producer), guided participants through the process of bringing the Forest Dreaming script to stage. The young people who attended these workshop sessions learnt what it takes to develop characters and gained an insight into what it takes to produce a professional performance.


Scenes from Forest Dreaming were further developed during our 2017 Creative Lab in August. Both professional artists and aspiring young creatives came together to progress this exciting new work further.


The artists who participated in our 2017 Creative Lab were then given the opportunity to perform their work in two ‘Pop-up’ performances during August and September 2017. On 26th August, the cast performed a short extract of the play at Victoria Gate in Leeds. A half-hour section of Forest Dreaming was then performed at Kirkgate Market in Leeds on 16th September.


GCF will continue to develop Forest Dreaming with future workshops next year. If you have any questions about this project, or would like to offer your feedback, we’d love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected].

A big thank you to Leeds City College and Leeds Conservatoire for all their support in developing the work, providing space, props and pianos, and students and staff who have contributed. We are very grateful and could not do it without the support of our partners. This project has been made possible through support from Arts Council England, which we are hugely grateful for.


Creative Team                             

Dominqiue Le Gendre, Pat Cumper, Tim Burke, Moji Kareem, Christella Litras, Khadijah Ibrahiim, Donald Edwards


Laura Prior, Grace Watkins, Phil Wilcox, Rob Green, Whittaker Mill, Liz Carney, Rachel Hynes, Rob Gardiner, Terence Ayebare,  Jeanette Ager, Hannah Swalwell, Cherie Johnson, Vicky Glover, Melissa Bennett, Adeline Pitu, Kevin Abanilla, Tyresha Richards, Callum Mardy, Martelle Edinborugh, Keesha Ennis


Elaine Ambridge, Emma Fry, Joe Bronstein, Liz Hanks, David Hornberger, Jenni Malloy, Simon Beddoe, Danny Barley, Simon Kayler, Johnnie Khan, Adam Morris, Oliver Patrick

Technical Team                           

Garry Boyle, Sally Molineaux, Emma Williams

GCF Staff                                        

Selina McGonagle, David Lascelles, Umi Mistry, Olivia Potter