East London Shakespeare Festival announces Much Ado

SIX Musical women theatre singing

The East London Shakespeare Festival (ELSF), under the imaginative steersmanship of Ursula Early and Rosie Ward, co-artistic directors and the creative force behind the company, is poised to bring a fresh breeze of dramatic art to the parks and open spaces of East London this summer. Their adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing not only promises to be a visual delight set against a modern, summery Messina backdrop but also aims to strike a chord with audiences through its contemporary approach to Shakespeare’s work. The choice of the play speaks volumes about ELSF’s commitment to delivering performances that resonate with love, laughter, and the complexities of human relationships, drawing a direct line to the comedic heart of Shakespeare’s timeless narratives.

This summer’s production is not just a retelling but a reimagining, infused with modern romantic comedy elements, promising an engaging blend of Shakespeare’s classic wit with the allure of contemporary romance narratives. The decision to integrate the character of Margaret as Messina’s resident lounge singer, thereby incorporating the Balthasar role, is a testament to ELSF’s innovative approach to adapting Shakespeare for modern audiences. This inventive twist not only adds a unique flavour to the production but also sets the stage for a truly immersive experience, underscored by music and the Mediterranean ambiance.

Furthermore, ELSF’s ambition to make Shakespeare accessible and enjoyable to a wider audience, particularly to the residents of East London, reflects in their extensive community engagement program designed to run alongside the tour. By offering a plethora of activities and engaging directly with local communities, ELSF endeavours to demystify Shakespeare, encouraging participation from people across all age groups and backgrounds. This commitment to community involvement and the ambition to extend their reach to new boroughs signal an exciting and inclusive future for Shakespearean theatre in the heart of East London.

The anticipation for Much Ado About Nothing is palpable, not only because of the play’s inherent appeal but also due to the ELSF’s reputation for blending the Bard’s work with the vibrancy and dynamism of contemporary culture. Rosie Ward and Ursula Early, through their visionary leadership, have crafted a platform where classical theatre meets modern storytelling, promising an enthralling experience for audiences this summer. With the English weather hoped to complement their Mediterranean setting, this year’s production is set to be a highlight of London’s cultural calendar, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in the wit, romance, and intrigue of Shakespeare’s much-loved play.

Full tour dates for Much Ado About Nothing are below.

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Higham Hill Hub, 7 – 9 June? 

Leyton Jubilee Park, 15 – 16 June? 

Hoxton Community Gardens, 20 –21 June? 

Applecart Arts, 22 – 23 June? 

Fellowship Square, 27 Jul – 30 June 

Highams Park, 5 – 7 July? 

Lauderdale House, 10 – 11 July? 

Forest Gate Community Gardens, 12 July? 

Crystal Palace Park, 13 – 14 July? 

Clissold Park, 18 – 21 July? 

Valentines Park, 25 – 26 July? 

Springfield Park, 27 – 28 July? 

Langthorne Amphitheatre, 31 July 

Wanstead Park, 3 August ?