Welcome to the A Midsummer Night’s Dream Parent Guide! Explore the activities below with your child(ren) before arriving at Symphony Center–they’re perfect for your car or train ride downtown!

LISTEN before the concert, using this playlist on Spotify.

*Note that a free account is required to use Spotify.


Your child will see many different instrument families at the concert today. Show him or her these pictures of each instrument family before you arrive. After finding your seats at the concert, ask your child if he or she can identify any of the instrument families!


  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by William Shakespeare over 400 years ago
  • In the play, we meet four young humans that are in love. Meanwhile, a group of fairies help complicate things! In the play, we see magic potions, a man turned into a donkey, and even a few weddings!
  • Many composers have who tried to celebrate and capture Shakespeare’s fairy world in music, but none have done it quite like Mendelssohn.
  • Use this helpful comic-strip style of the play to help tell the story to your child.


Felix Mendelssohn

  • He was a great pianist as a child and started to compose music when he was 10 years old.
  • Wrote the Overture inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was just 17 years old.
  • He returned to the play 16 years later because he was commissioned by the King of Prussia to compose the incidental music for a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Learn more about guest artists performing at the concert! Continue reading below to discover more about the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. You can also learn more about CST and their events at www.chicagoshakes.com

  • The Chicago Shakespeare Theater is dedicated to creating extraordinary productions of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series.
  • CST is collaborating with the CSO for two Shakespeare-themed production: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet.
  • Both productions will feature a small cast of actors who will present various scenes from Shakespeare’s plays.
  • David H. Bell has written the script and directed this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His work as a director, choreographer and writer in Chicago has earned him eleven Jeff Awards and forty-five nominations.