Reimagined Dream: A Neurodiverse Retelling

A neurodivergent Midsummer Night's Dream 

In 2022, SpectrumSpace, an Australian community organisation providing unique opportunities to people on the autism spectrum, teamed up with the Curtin Autism Research Group (Curtin University, Western Australia) and creative organisations Fragmented Artists and Organic Productions to reimagine Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 


Reimagined Documentary

The project, ‘A Reimagined Dream: Towards a Neurodiverse telling of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, was funded by Lotterywest. The project leaders included a SpectrumSpace administrative and management team of paid workers and volunteers and a creative team brought together by Perth-based Fragmented Artists’ director Dr Suzanne Ingelbrecht. Shakespeare Reloaded is delighted to be able to host the outcomes of this project. All content has been made available with permission of those involved.

What was the project’s aim?

‘A Reimagined Dream’ took a strengths-based approach to enabling young autistic adults to: demonstrate competence and passion in creative writing and theatre; develop skills in technical arts; and use art to explore themes around ableism in Shakespeare’s work. SpectrumSpace’s focus on self-determination meant that each adult developed their voice and critical thinking processes while building their skills in writing, acting and collaboration. A wider societal impact was to challenge stereotypes around perceptions of what autism is and to inspire others to imagine and execute similar projects. 

What did the project do?

The project centred, celebrated and developed the creative talents and technical skills of autistic young adults from SpectrumSpace’s social groups program. It encompassed three stages: 
1) theatre games and role playing based on David Diamond’s Theatre for Living techniques and Kelly Hunter’s Hunter Heartbeat Method to build a group dynamic of inter-communication and collaboration; 
2) rethinking and rewriting A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the point of view of celebrating imperfection, disability and diversity; and,
3) filming and documenting the creative process, with options for live performance to showcase participants’ talents in front of families and other supporters. 

A Reimagined Midsummer Night's Dream 


What was created? 

In addition to the short film and documentary, we are thrilled to share:


Spectrumspace Team
Chief Executive Officer: Helene Hansen.
Autism Specialist & Project Lead: Louise Sheehy.
Autism Specialist & Mentor: Trudi-Anne Gribble.
Project Support: Manishaa Mukundala & Christine Howarth.
Creative Team 
Director and Facilitator: Dr Suzanne Ingelbrecht (Fragmented Artists).
The neurodivergent participants/co-creators/actors for the re-writing/re-imagining process were: A J Sheehy, Charlotte Paterson, Henry Wilson, Honor Boekeman, Isabel Grace, Jen Harland, Jess Dening and Trudi-Anne Gribble. They were joined by Tom Cartwright and Jordan Azor for the Stage 3 film-making process at Victoria Hall, Fremantle following an audition process.
Film Technical Supervisor and Editor: Chris Horgan (Organic Productions).
Costume Designer: Danika Bentley.
Make-up Artist: Yvette Drager Wetherilt.
Research Team
Dr Bahareh Afsharnejad, Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Allied Health, Curtin University.
Sessina Figueiredo, School of Allied Health, Curtin University.
Dr Brid Phillips, Research Fellow, Good Arts, Good Mental Health, School of Allied Health, University of Western Australia.
The Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG) spearheaded separate academic research into the project processes.