Adapted and directed by Robert Hastie, this classic comedy by William Shakespeare is hilarious, tragic and tender all the same.
The production has been produced by Sheffield Theatres and Ramps on the Moon - a pioneering initiative committed to putting D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of its work.
This means that every performance of Much Ado About Nothing features the use of integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning.
Speaking about the production, Robert Hastie, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, said, “Ramps on the Moon is a collaborative partnership which we are so proud to be a part of and it is a thrill to produce such a well-loved Shakespeare play.
“Witty and uplifting, Much Ado About Nothing is a joyous show with a big inclusive heart and we have an incredibly talented cast to bring it to life.”
After the show’s opening night, Experience Salisbury caught up with Daneka Etchells and Guy Rhys to learn more about this joyous production.
I’m Daneka Etchells and I’m playing Beatrice. And I’m Guy Rhys and I’m playing Benedick.
Daneka Etchells as Beatrice and Guy Rhys as Benedick.
Daneka: Yes, I have done Shakespeare before. It is different but once you understand the heightened poetic form of it, its content is just about people and relationships (and miscommunication – he loves that!)
Guy: This is my first attempt at a proper Shakespeare and I’m absolutely bricking it! But, I have a top director, Robert Hastie, and a wonderful, talented cast to look after me.
Guy: Ramps on the Moon is a pioneering initiative to put D/deaf and disabled actors and audiences front and centre, and I have never had the pleasure to work with them before. They are a real agency of change and hopefully, for a brief time, I can be one of their ‘soldiers of change’.
Daneka: Ramps on the Moon are a consortium of seven UK theatres that strive to platform and celebrate D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent talent. I have not worked with them before.
Daneka: My character Beatrice is a fiercely independent rejector of social convention. She’s a role I’ve always wanted to play. She is richly complex; a potion of a sharp mind, a quick wit and a tender, soft heart. I definitely relate to her (I'm discovering every day in numerous more ways than I can count).
Guy: Benedick is one of the most loved and famous bachelors ever written. Do I relate to him – yes and no. It’s hard to answer whilst still working out his character in rehearsals.
Guy: Working with Robert [Hastie, director] again, and working with the top staff and crew at the Crucible again.
Daneka: Working with such an incredible tour-de-force company of D/deaf and disabled excellence, each bringing something so full of life and complexity to their role.
Daneka: Because it’s hilarious, tragic and tender in equal parts. It’s like no other Much Ado I've ever seen.
Guy: It’s Robert Hastie, on the Crucible stage, with a Ramps Shakespeare show that’s never been staged like this before. Isn’t that enough for you?!
Fancy trying out Salisbury's tradition of hospitality before you take your seat at the theatre? Be inspired by our Taste pages here.