East London Shakespeare Festival announces Much Ado

East London Shakespeare Festival announces Much Ado

East London Shakespeare Festival (ELSF) returns to parks and open-air spaces across east London this summer, with a sparkling family-friendly production of the Bard’s romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, touring from 7 June. 

Sun-soaked mischief and romance under the Mediterranean stars; Much Ado About Nothing is set against the luxurious backdrop of a modern-day Messina. This opulent tale is brimming with wit, trickery and mischief, with heart coming out on top.   

ELSF was founded by Waltham Forest-based actors, directors and producers Ursula Early and Rosie Ward in 2020. The company has been nominated for two Off West End Awards: Best Company for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2021) and Best Ensemble for Romeo and Juliet (2023).   

This summer, Much Ado About Nothing brings ELSF’s trademark contemporary twists and turns, high-energy party numbers and audience participation to more venues than ever before. The production opens on 7 June at Higham Hill Hub and tours until August. The production is family-friendly, and people of all ages are welcome and encouraged. Much Ado About Nothing is directed by Rosie Ward and produced by Ursula Early and Rosie Ward.  

An extensive community engagement programme offering a range of activities for local residents will run alongside the tour, with lots of opportunities to get involved.  

Rosie Ward – Director and Producer of Much Ado About Nothing and co-artistic Director of ELSF said: “I am thrilled to be directing ELSF’s show again this year and Much Ado is a special one as it was the first play that solidified my love for Shakespeare – I used to watch the Emma Thompson video nearly every weekend at my Granny’s and I’ve been in love with Beatrice and Benedick ever since! They are a formidable coupling, as witty as they are foolish and fiercely loyal – to me they are Shakespeare’s greatest love story, because they truly are equals. We are keen to play with the classic romcom format, with a nod to a few of the greats; there may even be an airport scene… Richard Curtis – eat your heart out!  
“As with all ELSF shows, physical comedy, music and movement will feature throughout. I’m particularly excited about the Margaret character who will be absorbing the Balthasar role, as Messina’s resident lounge singer, underscoring the shenanigans and setting the scene of a (hopefully) balmy, Mediterranean backdrop. The production will explore how the characters slide, collide, confound, collude, disguise and hide, and that will be reflected in the movement of the cast and the set.”  

Ursula EarlyProducer of Much Ado About Nothing and co-artistic director of ELSF said: “I probably shouldn’t say this, but Much Ado is my absolute fave – it’s a glorious mix of laughs, sexy romance and a hint of tragedy. Our production will showcase our unique fusion of Shakespeare and modern culture, promising a wild ride filled with music and audience engagement. We are also heading ‘abroad’ for the first time – setting it in contemporary modern Messina, which will hopefully add a dash of summer holiday glamour to the mix– we just have to hope the English weather matches the vibe! Having said that, we will keep to our roots by creating a production which is relevant to our East London audiences. This is our largest tour yet, marking a particularly exciting and ambitious chapter for us – we’ll be visiting our well-loved Waltham Forest, Hackney, and Redbridge venues but also expanding into Newham, Bromley, and Haringey.”  

For tickets and more information visit www.elsf.uk

East London Shakespear Festival Much Ado, Image credit ELSF