Skip to Main Content

Rhodes Scholars do Shakespeare and Opera in the Garden

Radiant sunshine, a beautiful garden, witty props: the ingredients of a great show of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Monday 14 May by Rhodes Scholars. This was followed by a wonderfully intimate version of Verdi's ‘La Traviata: Oxford Alternative Orchestra Charity Concert’ in Milner Hall at Rhodes House on Thursday 24 May. 

Cameron Platt (California & New College 2016) and Katherine Clifton (Hawaii & Magdalen 2016 were the directors of A Midsummer Night’s Dream who led a cast of 17 Rhodes Scholars, including the Dean of Scholarships as Titania. They all gave first-rate comic performances.

“When the days grow longer and summer begins to shine through, students come out to play. Theatre performed in green spaces of every kind is a splendid Trinity tradition, and Scholars of years past have often staged readings of Shakespeare in the marvellous gardens of Rhodes House. This year, we decided to revive the tradition with a classic summer play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, to be performed with our fellow Scholars. The two of us first crossed paths during our undergraduate years at Princeton, where we were both involved in theatre but never had the chance to work together on a production. Ever since we reconnected at Oxford, we've longed to collaborate on a theatrical project, and the Rhodes Shakespeare tradition struck us as a perfect opportunity. Most of our actors have never performed in a play before, so this has been an exciting chance to share an art we love with a company of eager and playful newcomers. They're fabulous!”

Cameron Platt (California & New College 2016) and Katherine Clifton (Hawaii & Magdalen 2016), Directors of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This was a shortened staged version in the Warden’s garden to a crowd of about 40 people. The audience was charmed by the use of fairy wings, wigs and comic timing.

Verdi's La Traviata was produced by Mason Ji (Washington & St Antony's 2016), directed by Sean Kelly, the music director was Hannah Schneider (Maryland/DC & St John's 2016) and the costume design was created by Leah Michalove (Georgia & Green Templeton 2016). The opera brought together Rhodes Scholars, students and professional singer Seljan Nasibli. La Traviata told the story of a selfless courtesan who gives up everything to be with the love of her life, only for his father to intervene in their match. What followed was a tale of sacrifice, sadness, grand misunderstandings and even more intense love.

This opera was produced by the People's Opera and Oxford Alternative Orchestra and generously sponsored by St John's College, Oxford. All donations made on the night went to The Gatehouse, a homeless charity that provides food and basic necessities for those in need. This event was also in proud partnership with the Rhodes Social Impact Group.