Off the Ground Theatre returns with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

West Kirby’s Off the Ground Theatre (OTG) returns to venues across the north west, Wales, and Ireland this summer with one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies – Much Ado About Nothing.

World War II is over and the summertime is joyous. A carefree world of manners and mockery, of dancing and drinking, of wooing and watching, is blooming amidst the poppies in the rolling hills of southern Europe. Hero and Claudio are falling in love, something Benedick and Beatrice have sworn never to do…

Following the success of The Ballads of Billy the Kid and Love’s Labour’s Lost in previous summers, OTG returns to the great British and Irish outdoors for another of Shakespeare’s classics for audiences to enjoy.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays, amongst his most performed and a truly magical tale of love and trickery. This version promises to be colourful and joyous, with an emphasis on how love conquers all and true love will out.

Directing this year is OTG Youth Theatre graduate Ben Newman, in what will be Ben’s directorial debut for Off the Ground, having been Assistant Director on Love’s Labour’s Lost in 2022.

Ben recently completed a Master’s degree in Theatre Directing at Mountview, and has worked on approximately 40 amateur, student and professional productions in various roles. Directing credits include the award nominated Edinburgh Fringe show Moderation, as well as How to get to Eudemonia and Recipe for a Baby.

Ben also ran the Sheffield-based theatre company Belly Up Theatre as Artistic Director and sat as Chair of SUTCo (Sheffield University Theatre Company) in 2021/22. Ben will be starting as Resident Director of Oxford Playhouse from September 2024.

Ben said, “It’s a joy to be able to direct this classic for OTG. Much Ado is such a well-known and well-loved play. I loved being a part of Off the Ground’s Youth Theatre, so to be able to return now in this capacity is fantastic.

“As a director, I like to put a real focus on boundaries; between comedy and tragedy, actor and audience, magic and reality. I try to always keep enthralling storytelling at the heart of what I do and how I work.”

Tickets are on sale now for all venues across the UK & Ireland for what promises to be a wonderful summer. So get yours booked and get along to your local venue this summer – bring something to sit on, a picnic and your favourite beverage. Soak up the sun and be transported for an evening!

Off the Ground Theatre’s last performance was a five-star production of Dario Fo’s dark comic classic, Accidental Death of an Anarchist at Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool.

Founded in 1994, Off the Ground Theatre has been creating theatre for audiences in the UK and wider Europe for nearly 30 years. From Shakespeare to Terry Pratchett, the stories have evolved and been presented in numerous forms.

Based on the Wirral, the company now specialises in classics (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Comedy of Errors) and exciting adventure stories (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Sinbad, Zorro, The Musketeers).

Off the Ground Theatre champions access to drama and theatre for young people, often promoting from within their own youth theatre set up to their professional company, or seeking local emerging talent from other programmes of excellence, such as Cronton 6th Form College’s Professional Theatre Programme, Young Everyman and Playhouse, Storyhouse Young Company, LIPA, Liverpool John Moore’s University, The Hammond, and many more.

This year also sees Nathan Spence cast in a touring production for the first time, a graduate of OTG Youth Theatre himself.

Tuesday 23rd July – Maesmor Hall
Wednesday 24th July – Queen’s Park
Thursday 25h July – Birkenhead Priory
Friday 26th July – Plas Newydd
Saturday 27th July – Gawthorpe Hall
Sunday 28th July – Claremont Farm

Tuesday 30th July – Futureyard, Birkenhead
Wednesday 31st July – Burton Manor
Thursday 1st August – St. Luke’s BOC
Friday 2nd August – Royden Park
Saturday 3rd August – Royden Park
Sunday 4th August – Gordale Garden Centre

Saturday 10th August – CECAS
Sunday 11th August – Bantry House
Tuesday 13th August – Lisnavagh House
Thursday 15th August – Killruddery House
Friday 16th August – Killruddery House
Saturday 17th August – Killyleagh Castle

Performance times vary. Something to sit on is recommended.
(Note: Chairs provided at St. Luke’s and Futureyard.)

Adults £12/Concessions £10/Under 21s £5

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