After months of build-up, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has finally opened at the Rose and, understandably, it is Judi Dench, who stars in the production as Titania, who has grabbed all the headlines.

Yet there is far more to this home-grown production than one Oscar-winning mega star.

Director Sir Peter Hall has put together a multi-talented cast to perform one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies and one of its youngest members, Reece Ritchie, 23, is already well on the way to joining Dench on the Hollywood A-list.

Ritchie is set to have a huge 2010. Not only is he in Kingston to play Puck, but he also features prominently in two of the year’s biggest films, The Lovely Bones and Prince of Persia, with Hall and Dench joining other star names, including Sir Ben Kingsley, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel Weisz, on the list of people he has already worked with.

“I'm perpetually pinching myself,” he says. “It is always a pleasure to be around great actors, because it raises the bar for you and stimulates you on a personal and professional level.

“Peter and Judy are really graceful – they are thoughtful and gentle and have a relaxed aura about them.”

Ritchie began his career performing in a number of National Youth Theatre productions before going on to drama school, but he wasn’t to finish his studies.

A casting director saw him performing at the Soho Theatre and he was subsequently given a part in Roland Emmerich’s 10,000 BC.

From there, The Lovely Bones and Prince of Persia followed and, although it may surprise some that his next move has been to tread the boards in a Shakespeare production, Ritchie says he doesn’t see it as a risk and is loving every minute of the experience.

“I think it is probably riskier to play it safe a lot of the time,” he says. “When you do a risky project, even if you are not great, at least you are out there pushing the boundaries.

“This is my first Shakespeare play, as I left drama school before the Shakespeare module.

“It has always loomed over me like a silent shadow and there is that feeling that you need to do Shakespeare before you become a proper actor.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rose Theatre, Kingston, until March 20. Call 0871 230 1552 or visit for further information.