UMW Theatre Remote Production of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

Live Zoom Production aired on April 16, 2020

Faculty mentor: Professor Helen Housley

Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

Beatrice and Benedick are meant for each other. Trouble is, they don’t see it that way. In one of Shakespeare’s wittiest and most romantic of comedies, mistaken identities, misdirected insults, devious fakery, and bumbling antics prove no match for the effervescent power of love. Will calculated swooning and conniving mischief succeed to find Beatrice and Benedick falling madly for each other, or will it all simply amount to Much Ado About Nothing?

When campus closed on March 12 in order to transition to online learning in light of the rise of COVID-19, UMW Theatre was deep into preparation for the final offering of it’s 2019-20 season, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. When there was a chance that we might return to in person classes on April 6, the faculty decided to put the production on hold and make arrangements for a delayed opening once classes resumed. When UMW announced that classes would remain online for the remainder of the academic year, the faculty and staff decided to present a performance of Much Ado About Nothing online. Gregg Stull, professor of theatre and chair of the department met with the Much Ado company on March 19 to share the plans. Rehearsals resumed on March 23.

The cast presented a live stream performance on April 16 to a crowd of more than 1500 viewers watching from 37 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and five states. Within 24 hours of being posted as an on demand performance on YouTube, more than 2000 people have watched the UMW Theatre production of Much Ado. From the start of the production process until the performance, 107 UMW students contributed to bringing Much Ado About Nothing to life.

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