Such stuff as dreams are made on

  • I read Sonnet 40 to a group of strangers in exchange for a shot of something alcoholic from a handsome bartender in doublet and hose.
  • A spirit stared into my eyes and smeared glittery sand all over my face.
  • I watched Shakespeare sleep for a bit.
  • Queen Elizabeth I lip-synced Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’.

These weird and wonderful encounters are not extracts from my dreams (promise), but moments from Sedos Theatre’s ‘Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On’ by Sarah Heenan, a dazzling immersive journey through Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

On the eve of the Bard’s birth/death day I found myself in a disused office block in London’s docklands that, from the outside at least, looked like the last place you would find exciting Shakespeare. On the inside, though, it was a whole other story. The space had been transformed into an island full of noises, a maze of rooms filled with sand, the timber of a ship wreck, leaves of paper and ivy, origami boats, and Trinculo’s wine bottles.

I can’t really do it justice in words. It was a beautiful piece of rough magic.


“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.”