By William Shakespeare
Directed by Robert Hastie
Designer Peter McKintosh
British Sign Language Director Emily Howlett
Audio Description Director Chloë Clarke
Lighting Designer Ian Scott
Composer John Biddle
Sound Designer Sam Glossop
Casting Director Jacob Sparrow
Assistant Director Alexandra Whiteley
Captioning Co-ordinator Cara Lawless
British Sign Language Consultant Brian Duffy
British Sign Language Interpreter (Lead) Emma Dawber
Sheffield Theatres today announces the full cast for their production of William Shakespeare’s well-loved comedy Much Ado about Nothing, co-produced with Ramps on the Moon. This will open at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield this September before embarking on a UK Tour.
A pioneering initiative, Ramps on the Moon is a consortium of theatres which aim to enrich stories and the ways in which they are told by putting deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work.
Playing the roles of Beatrice and Benedick are the previously announced Daneka Etchells and Guy Rhys. Joining them, the cast includes: Lee Farrell (Common) playing Verges, Laura Goulden (In The Willows) playing Margaret, Amy Helena (Antigone) playing Seacole, Karina Jones (Macbeth) playing Antonia, Kit Kenneth (London Road) playing Balthasar, Leo Long (I Used To Be Famous) playing Oatcake, Gerard McDermott (Frankenstein) playing Leonato, Taku Mutero (The Prophetic Soul) playing Claudio, Fatima Niemogha (Small Island) playing Don Joan, Caroline Parker (Oliver Twist) playing Dogberry, Dan Parr (Lava) playing Don Pedro, Shreya Patel (The Secret Garden) playing Ursula, Richard Peralta (Coriolanus) playing Friar, Ciaran Stewart (Tribes) playing Conrade, Claire Wetherall (Faith) playing Hero, and Ben Wilson (Oliver Twist) playing Borachio.
Guy Rhys returns to Sheffield Theatres, having just performed in Chris Bush’s trilogy of plays ROCK / PAPER / SCISSORS across the Crucible, Lyceum and Studio stages, and Ciaran Stewart returns having performed in Tribes in the Studio theatre. Shreya Patel is a current member of Sheffield Theatres’ Bank Cohort of supported artists, and Richard Peralta was a recipient of the 4×4 Commission scheme in 2021, part of Sheffield Theatres’ Talent Development programme, and performed in Coriolanus at the Crucible as a member of Sheffield People’s Theatre. Ben Wilson has been the Ramps on the Moon Agent for Change at Sheffield Theatres for the last 5 years and Associate Director on Guys and Dolls.
Daneka Etchells, Lee Farrell, Laura Goulden, Amy Helena, Karina Jones, Kit Kenneth, Leo Long, Gerard McDermott, Taku Mutero, Fatima Niemogha, Caroline Parker, Dan Parr and Claire Wetherall make their Sheffield Theatres debut with Much Ado About Nothing.
‘I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that strange?’
Besotted young couple Claudio and Hero have fallen fast and are quickly engaged. Not everyone finds romance so straightforward – Benedick balks at the very thought of it and Beatrice agrees with him, on that if nothing else. But somewhere in this world, there’s someone for everyone, even if they’re right under your nose.
Robert Hastie, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, said:
‘It is with much excitement that we take the lead for this year’s Ramps on the Moon production, which opens in Sheffield before touring to stages across the UK. 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 in our birthday year. 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.’
Michèle Taylor, Director for Change at Ramps on the Moon, added:
‘In a year of Much Ados, Sheffield Theatres’ production is sure to stand out and I can’t wait to see what the company does with the play once they get into the rehearsal room. Ramps on the Moon with Shakespeare is such an exciting prospect and represents yet one more milestone in our journey towards real equity for disabled and deaf people in mainstream theatre.’
Opening in Sheffield from Friday 9 – Saturday 24 September, the production will tour to Leeds Playhouse (Tuesday 27 September – Saturday 1 October), Birmingham Rep (Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 October), Nottingham Playhouse (Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 October), New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich (Tuesday 18 – Saturday 22 October), Theatre Royal Stratford East (Tuesday 1 – Saturday 5 November), and Salisbury Playhouse (Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 November).
Tickets for Much Ado about Nothing are on sale now with every performance, featuring the use of integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning. Tickets can be booked through each venue’s Box Office in person, over the phone or on their website (links above).