Event Recap: Kathryn Hunter on A Midsummer Night’s Dream @ TIFF

Last night, I was fortunate enough to attend another fabulous #BooksonFilm event at TIFF. William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream introduced the All the World’s a Screen: Shakespeare on Film summer series.

I was really excited for this one, because as many of you may know, I am a huge fan of Shakespeare. I voluntarily took a handful of Shakespeare-based courses in university – one of them specifically rooted in studying adaptations of his work – so being able to watch a film adaptation of one of my favourite plays that I’d never seen before was quite interesting.

Not only that, but actress Kathryn Hunter (who plays Puck in the Julie Taymor adaptation that was screened) introduced the film and then stuck around after to discuss acting techniques and the Bard.


The film itself was incredible. It was a taping of a live performance, but it was also so much more than that. The theatrics involved were quite spectacular; it’s definitely something that I would have loved to see on stage. It was dark and eerie, but didn’t lose the play’s original comedy elements.

Following the screening, Kathryn Hunter – Julie Taymor’s Puck – spoke with Eleanor Wachtel about her performance in the film (which was utterly perfect) and what it’s like to take on roles in Shakespeare pieces.

Hunter told stories about how she creates characters by drawing them out, and really wanted her Puck to fly – a suggestion to which Taymor was hesitant, but accepting. She also spoke about how she originally wanted to play the character of Bottom because of the wonderful writing, but enjoyed playing Puck, and creating that image of the shape-shifting trickster.


I’m so glad I got to take part in this magical evening, and I’m really looking forward to hopefully seeing some of the films in the rest of TIFF’s Shakespearean summer series!

TIFF’s All the World’s a Screen: Shakespeare on Film runs from June 9th to July 3rd with some of the most iconic Shakespearean film adaptations, such as West Side Story, various versions of Hamlet, and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.


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