Dyer has worked collaboratively with the co-founder of the English Shakespeare Company and internationally renowned director Michael Bogdanov since 1978 concentrating almost entirely on productions of Shakespeare’s works worldwide. Dyer and Bogdanov’s work on the plays of Shakespeare is characterised by a concern to find a socio/political framework that will resonate for a contemporary audience.
For ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ parallels between the towns of Ludlow, its inhabitants and their aspirations and ‘Windsor’ as depicted by Shakespeare were playfully explored. The outdoor setting of the Festival in the castle grounds necessitated the construction of a purpose-built stage and seating. Dyer in his role as set and costume designer used scaffolding to suggest a place undergoing ‘restoration.’ Characters worked on the scaffolding and appeared to engage in the process of restoring the castle during the performance. In this way Ludlow become a metaphor for ‘Windsor’ and the scenography became an active constituent of the production serving the plot and driving the action forward. Dyer explored the class divisions inherent in the text and sought to emphasise the differences between ‘new’ and ‘old’ money and the servant class as they appear in an Elizabethan context and make them readable for a twenty-first century audience. Drawing on recognisable character types from the town and its environs and encoding the costumes accordingly, Dyer attempted to set up a visual dialogue between the performers and the audience that was at once comic and disturbing as the audience was put in the uncomfortable position of laughing at itself.