Much Ado About Nothing

War is over - time to celebrate

As normal life returns in the sunshine and champagne corks pop…

Two very different couples fall in love – but who is really pulling the strings? With dastardly plots, sparkling comedy and some of Shakespeare’s wittiest wordplay, this story of matchmaking and manipulation is the perfect way to celebrate the joy of open-air theatre.

In the aftermath of a fierce conflict, soldier Claudio finds himself on the frontline of a different fight: for the love of Hero. His friend Benedick, on the other hand, is willing to do everything he can to evade affection and meets his match in Beatrice. 

There’s magic in the air:
The magical feeling of being outside, in the woods.
The magic of a brilliant comedy about love. 

 

Plot Summary

There’s an air of expectation as news of peace reaches Messina. The war over, Don Pedro and his men return to stay and celebrate victory at Leonata’s house. Benedick continues his banter and bickering with Leonata’s niece, Beatrice. Both publicly declare they will never marry. Claudio falls in love with Hero, Leonata’s daughter. Don Pedro agrees to woo Hero for Claudio, at a party that evening. Don John, Pedro’s bastard brother, plots mischief with his two servants, Borachio and Conrade, to thwart the happy plan.

Guests at the party assume disguises to hide their true identity and amorous intentions. Claudio is told by Don John that Pedro is wooing Hero for himself, but Claudio soon learns that this is not so, and that Hero is indeed his. Further antagonism between Beatrice and Benedick leads Pedro and the others to hatch a plan: to trick them into falling in love with each other. Leonata, Claudio and Don Pedro let Benedick overhear them speak of how much Beatrice loves him. Later, Hero and Ursula let Beatrice overhear their talk about how much Benedick loves her. Both Benedick and Beatrice are forced into admitting their true feelings for the other, and appear love-struck to their friends. Just as all looks poised for all the happy couples to pair off, Don John informs Pedro and Claudio that Hero is unfaithful, and arranges for them to witness her “infidelity” later that night. What they will later see (from afar and in the dark) is, in fact, Borachio wooing Hero’s companion Margaret, calling her ‘Hero’.

                             INTERVAL

The Watch, led by Dogberry and Verges, prepare to carry out their evening duties, with a particular eye on Leonata’s house the night before Hero’s wedding. Borachio is overheard telling Conrade about the plot to disgrace Hero, and they are arrested. As Hero prepares for her wedding, she and her “bridesmaids” Margaret and Ursula continue to tease Beatrice, who hasn’t admitted her new love. Dogberry and Verges begin an interrogation of Borachio and Conrade, but Leonata brushes them aside in the rush of the imminent wedding. Asked by Friar Francis to admit any “impediment” to the marriage, Claudio reveals the ‘truth’ about Hero, backed up by Don Pedro. She faints, and they leave. Leonata harangues the recovered Hero, while she protests her innocence. The priest supports her, and suggests they pretend she has died, hiding her away until the truth is discovered. Left alone, Beatrice and Benedick declare their feelings for each other, and Beatrice makes Benedick vow to kill Claudio for shaming Hero.

Leonata offers to fight Claudio for wronging her innocent daughter. Benedict also challenges Claudio to a duel, as he had sworn to Beatrice, telling them that Don John has fled Messina. The Watch bring in Borachio and Conrade who confess their plot. Don Pedro and Claudio beg forgiveness. Leonata demands that Claudio mourns Hero, and in recompense marries his sister’s daughter – who happens to look exactly like Hero. Claudio agrees, and at the ceremony encounters the real Hero when she is unveiled. Beatrice and Benedick can no longer deny their love for each other and agree to be married too. As news of Don John’s capture is announced: cue music and dance!

 

Company

Beatrice
Benedick
Claudio
Hero/Verges
Leonata/Watch
Don Pedro
Don John/Sexton
Conrade/Messenger
Borachio/Friar Francis
Margaret
Ursula
Dogberry

 

 

 

Amy Allen
Jon-Paul Rowden
Crispin Glancy
Sorcha Kennedy
Joy Brook
Albert de Jongh
Sam Hollis
Twyla Doone
Freddie Hill
Katie Solly
Harriet Benson
David McCarthy

 

Director
MD/Composer
Choreographer
Costume Designer
Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager

 

Chris Hollis
Alistair Gavin

Nicole Small
Amanda Kerstein

Biographies

Amy Allen

Amy is an award-winning actor, comedy writer and OFFIE-nominated director.
Theatre includes: Hamlet (PSF, Brighton Open Air Theatre), West End Girls (Live Theatre), Caliph (Vaults)
Henry V (PSF), Confessional, The Builders (Theatre503), A Tune of Two Muses (Arcola Theatre), Scrooge You! (Arts Theatre-West End).
Film and TV includes: Byker Grove, Happy Toys, Diagnosis (BBC), Joannie (Pulse Films), Grimsby Girl (ASC, Hidden Door), Pinky (ESA Films), Life Support (Spoon Jar Films), Fight (Signature Pictures) and numerous commercials across TV, cinema and online.
Amy also works extensively in Voice Over & Radio Drama in the UK and internationally.

 

Harriet Benson

Treading the boards and gracing the celluloid has been Harriet’s life. However, over the years, the Petersfield Shakespeare Festival has provided another discipline – sometimes performing in puddles and dying in downpours! Whatever the weather, Harriet is a dedicated participant of the Festival and has been involved since its conception.

She has sung, danced and acted her way through her career: from angels to nuns, doctors to nurses and tarts to friars, her roles have been both challenging and varied. Just before lockdown, her most recent project was filming Series 4 of The Crown but she is sworn to secrecy for now!

 

Joy Brook

Joy trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Theatre includes Good People, The Railway Children, The Wind In The Willows, The Pitmen Painters, Key For Two, Vita And Virginia, A Dangerous Corner, A Murder Is Announced, Confusions, Dial M For Murder, The Holly And The Ivy, Four Knights In Knaresborough, Pool Death, An Ideal Husband, Time And The Room, The Boys From Syracuse. Television includes The Bill, Emmerdale, Eastenders, Peak Practice, The Thin Blue Line, Band Of Gold, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Government Inspector – The David Kelly Story, The Lavender List, Heartbeat, Free Agents, Hotel Babylon, MI High, Doctors.

Twyla Doone

Twyla’s theatre experience includes extensive work with the award
winning Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, in which she has
performed lead roles in both the Festival and Minerva Theatre. She
has trained under both LAMDA and TRINITY exam boards and has a
background in classical and contemporary dance. She has worked in the West End as both an Assistant Producer and Director. Under the direction of Jake Smith she played Rosalind
for Petersfield Shakespeare Festival’s production of As You Like It in
July 2017 and Princess Katherine in Henry V in 2018. In 2020 she played the scorned Rosaline as part of PSF online – she is delighted to be back this year and in person!

 

Crispin Glancy

Crispin completed the Foundation Course in Acting at RADA in 2020.
Film credits include: Please Care (Slick Films), Sex Ed (Stan & Lola) and Post Mortem (PSF2020/Good Dog Productions)
Theatre includes:F Off (National Youth Theatre), Forty Years On (Chichester Festival Theatre), Brass (NYMT: Hackney Empire), Beauty and the Beast (Chichester Festival Youth Theatre)
For PSF Crispin has played Young MacDuff  (Macbeth 2014), Juno (The Tempest 2016), Silvius (As You Like It 2017), Herald (Henry V 2018) and Hortensio (The Taming of the Shrew 2018). 
Crispin has been an active member of Petersfield Youth Theatre, playing many roles including Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and Fagin in Oliver!

Freddie Hill

Freddie trained with the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre (2014-18) as well as receiving qualifications from LAMDA. He’s also a filmmaker, with his most recent short film, Unforgettable, on Amazon Prime. Recent theatre credits include Jordan (The Red Lion, Sean Turner, South East Tour), Peter (Peter Pan, Chichester Festival Theatre, Louis the Dauphin (Henry V, Petersfield Shakespeare Festival), Raleigh (Journey’s End, Priory Playhouse), Tink (Peter Pan, Capitol Theatre), Guildenstern and Gravedigger (Hamlet, Petersfield Shakespeare Festival & Brighton Open Air); Ray (Citizenship, The Capitol); Arthur (Return To Sender, Minerva, Chichester Festival Theatre). Screen work includes; Riz (High Water, Feature, Ewan Gorman); Arthur (Scouts Honour, TV Pilot), Tom (Ping Pong, Short, Gemma Norton) and Unforgettable, a short which he directed, now available to stream on Amazon Prime. Freddie is currently involved in the development of a drama based on Shakespeare and Marlowe, as well as the production of a new feature film. 

Sam Hollis

Sam is in his final year at ArtsEd on the BA Acting course. He has performed with PSF since 2014 including roles as Orlando (As You Like It), Montjoy/Bourbon/ Thomas Grey (Henry V) and Dromio (The Comedy of Errors). Credits whilst training include: White Lies, Love and InformationThe Colour of Justice, Romeo and Juliet, Picnic, Uncle Vanya, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail. Film credits include: Kemi directed by Jack Ryder and Skin for Channel 4 Random Acts. Other credits include: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeGuys and DollsChatroomBlue Remembered Hill sand Woyzeck. He is a member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, as well as Petersfield Youth Theatre.

Albert de Jongh

Albert is ‘full of joy and mirth’ to be returning to PSF after last appearing as Jaques in As You Like It. His other theatre credits include Aramis in The Three Musketeers (Iris Theatre), Florizel in The Winters Tale (The Pleasance Theatre), Malvolio in Twelfth Night (Linbury Studio) and Prince Arthur in King John (Union Theatre). His television credits include The White Princess (Starz) and The Alienist (Paramount Television). He has also worked with the likes of Frantic Assembly on Ignition and the National Youth Theatre.  

Sorcha Kennedy

Sorcha is recent graduate from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she was awarded The Citizen’s Theatre Society Award for her final performance in training and represented RCS at the Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe. Credits include: The Comedy of Errors (PSF) San Diego, The Breathing House, Julius Caesar, Hot L Baltimore, Vassa (RCS) Humbug (Tramway/Citizen’s Theatre) Radio: Whenever I get Blown Up I Think of You (BBC Radio Scotland/RCS). She was part of the Traverse Theatre Young Writers 2019 & wrote and directed The Pleasure Principle for ‘On the Verge Festival’ 2018 at The Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow, co-created Debris, selected for the ‘McLellan Arts Festival’ 2018 and for ‘Spoleto Festival – Dei 2 Mondi’ 2019.

David McCarthy

David McCarthy is excited to be returning to PSF after first starring in Henry V playing Pistol in 2018, and taking the roles of Balthazar and Pinch in the PSF2019 production of The Comedy of Errors. It’s been a strange year for us all and he is looking forward to getting back to the stage and putting on a great show for you all in A Midsummers Night’s Dream.  

Jon-Paul Rowden

Jon-Paul is thrilled to be returning to Petersfield for their 2021 season! Theatre Credits include: Peter Pan (UK Theatre Tour), Andy Capp the Musical (The Finborough), Don’t Walk About With Nothing On (Bridewell Theatre), The Government Inspector (Arc Theatre/Newcastle Theatre Royal), Twelfth Night (UK tour with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men & world tour with TNT Theatre), Henry V & Taming of the Shrew (Petersfield Shakespeare Festival). Film work includes: The Boy Who Saw Red, Psyche. He has also appeared in numerous adverts ranging from BBC iPlayer to Kit Kat Chunky and appeared as John Reid in Channel 5’s docu-drama The 10 Days That Rocked Elton John.
Twitter handle – @JpRowden
 

Katie Solly

Katie trained at Guildford School of Acting after gaining a degree in French & Drama from Queen Mary and Westfield College, London University. She went on to perform in the Edinburgh Fringe, Brighton Festival, Canterbury Festival amongst others and various short films before taking a break to have her family. She moved into youth theatre, working with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre touring schools before opening her own theatre group, ACTion Drama which ran for 15 years. She also runs Schools’ Shakespeare workshops for PSF. She teaches LAMDA speech and drama and RADA Shakespeare awards at St Catherine’s, Bramley. Katie first joined Petersfield Shakespeare Festival in 2014 and has played Mistress Quickly, Lady MacDuff, Gonzala, Audrey, Alice and Solinus in last year’s production of The Comedy of Errors.

Alistair Gavin

Alastair is a keyboardist, composer and arranger. He has composed for theatre, dance and TV/film. He has worked as a keyboardist for artists ranging from Mari Wilson to Michael Nyman and on various West End shows – until Aug 2016 he was assistant musical director for Mamma Mia! in the West End. In Nov 2018 Warner Chappells released his album Weathered Stone, ambient electronic music made with vintage analogue instruments. His next albums for this project, composed on two writing retreats in the Red House, Aldeburgh, awarded by the Britten Pears Foundation in 2019, are due for release later this year. With his wife poet Cheryl Moskowitz he runs the All Saints Sessions poetry & electronics performance series in North London. www.alastairgavin.com 

Chris Hollis

Chris is an actor, writer, trainer and director who studied at Webber Douglas after reading English at St. Andrews. Theatre: MAMMA MIA!, RSC: Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Twelfth Night. What the Butler Saw, Ivanov, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Murder in the Cathedral, The Nightingales, My Cousin Rachel. Chichester Festival Theatre: Translations, The Tempest, The Relapse, The Royal Baccarat Scandal. PSF: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew. Directing: West Side Story, Oh What a Lovely War!, Grease, Honk, Just So, Guys & Dolls. TV: Das Boot (Series 2), A Touch of Frost, EastEnders, The Bill, Life Begins, Brookside, A Serpent in Eden, Take A Girl Like You.

Nicole Small

Nicole trained in Period Costume Making and Design in Liverpool. She is a costume cutter/maker,
supervisor and designer for film, theatre, opera and ballet both here and in the USA. Work includes principal costumes for all five Pirates of the Caribbean films, most of Tim Burton’s films including Dumbo, the Red and White Queens in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Johnny Depp’s costumes in Dark Shadows, Men in Black:International and a the Netflix period drama Bridgerton. Theatre work includes Twelfth Night at the Royal National Theatre, Romeo & Juliet at The Globe. Earlier this year she worked on costumes for the Disney film The Little Mermaid and is currently
cutting costumes for one of the lead characters in the upcoming London stage musical of Frozen