Fin Kennedy’s The Dream Collector is an ensemble play for teenage performers, the fifth developed by Kennedy with his long-term collaborators, Mulberry School for Girls in Shadwell, East London – but this time also involving students from a second local school, St Paul’s Way Trust School in Bow.
It was first performed by Mulberry Theatre Company, as the inaugural production at the Mulberry and Bigland Green Centre, in November 2013, with a parallel premiere production performed at St Paul’s Way Trust School in December 2013.
The play follows a school group who go on a Media Studies trip to an isolated country house which once belonged to a movie pioneer, Charles Somna. Upon arriving, they discover that Somna was responsible for much more than the creation of mere movies – as the inventor of the Somnagraph he had built the world’s first machine for screening your dreams. Once they step through the movie screen and enter the Dreamworld, each of the young friends meets their dream double, the sinister Neverborn.
In an author's note published with the script, Kennedy writes: 'The play has been written for sixteen young actors aged fourteen to sixteen. One group is a ‘Real World’ twenty-first-century group of school students from East London. These eight all have names and individual identities. The other is an ensemble cast of eight who inhabit the ‘Dream World’. They are known as the Neverborn. Their world is like a black-and-white film, and is stylised and movement-based. They bring to life the other cast’s dreams, and share lines as a chorus. Each Real World cast member has a Neverborn who shadows them, and plays them in their dream sequence. This means there needs to be a minimum of eight Neverborn, but there could be more if a larger cast is available.'
The Mulberry Theatre Company production was directed by Shona Davidson and designed by Barbara Fuchs and Afsana Begum. The St Paul’s Way Trust School production was directed by Kelly Jasor.