Established in 2015, DIY Lowell is a citizen-led initiative that connects and empowers Lowellians to pursue all different types of small-scale projects and events. Some notable DIY projects include the Downtown Lowell History Trail, Park (Ing) Day, and the Points of Light Lantern Festival.
Last Saturday, DIY partnered with several downtown entities including Humanity Boutique, Studio 506 Theater, Pollard Memorial Library, Downtown Lowell Neighborhood Association, Made in Lowell, and the Office of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to present unique one time only downtown festival with a particular special cause.
The “A Midsummer Dream” festival celebrated magic, theatre, art, music, and costume for kids and adults! Merrimack Street was transformed into a Pixie Marketplace, with vendors, crafting, costume/cosplay contest, fairy house promenade. The evening concluded with a a special “traveling” production of Shakespeare’s classic “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” by Studio 506 that led the audience through downtown, traveling from scene to scene, ending in a starlight dance party.
The festival was dedicated in the memory of Lee Pho, the owner of Little Delights Boutique who died in 2017 after a courageous battle with lymphoma. She was a devoted mother, a small business leader, and a force for magic and joy downtown. Lee’s friends and colleagues created the festival in her memory “to honor her dedication to magic, downtown, and family.”
The magic afternoon and evening delighted guests of all ages.
Ani Vong spoke about her friend Lee, the inspiration for the festival.
Guests to the festival could check out the fairy houses that were scattered among various locales in Downtown. Each house was designed by a different volunteer with a theme of their own choosing.
Among those to enjoy the costume contest were former Mayor Edward Kennedy, School Committee member Dominik Lay, and city councilor Karen Cirillo--who also served as a judge!
Other VIP judges included Yun-Ju Choi, Andy Jacobson, and Richard Howe. Jack Moynihan was tasked as the VIP judge recruiter.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare in 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.
The Studio 506 presentation of A Midsummer’s Night Dream made great use of the magical settings in Downtown Lowell. The play began in the Courtyard of St. Anne’s Church.
The players (and audience) then moved to Lucy Larcom Park on the campus of Lowell High School.
The traveling show crossed through downtown on the way to its next destination.
Market Street Park was the setting for several of the most dramatic scenes in the performance.
The penultimate setting for the show was at the Mary J. Bacigalupo Victorian Garden along Shattuck Street next to the Trolley Museum.
Finally the performance returned to St. Anne’s for its humorous conclusion…
Before being followed by a moonlit dance party!
There are currently no plans for a second Midsummer Dream Festival as the organizers intended for it to be a one time only special event. But the hope is it serves as an inspiration for other similar creative undertakings in the future.