Antic Disposition’s Much Ado About Nothing from Wednesday 24 June – Sunday 19 July 2009.
Following the success of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, theatre company Antic Disposition will present Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing from Wednesday 24 June to Sunday 19 July 2009 as the second production in their first resident season at spectacular former church St Stephen’s, Hampstead, following the building’s £4 million refurbishment.
France. 1945. The war may be over, but the battle of the sexes has only just begun. As peace breaks out, dashing soldier Claudio is quick to propose to the beautiful Hero, but their celebrations are soon threatened by the scandalous rumours spread by the wicked Don John. Will confirmed singletons Beatrice and Benedick stop sniping at each other long enough to save the day and perhaps find love themselves? Antic Disposition presents a new production of one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, a feast of music, romance and verbal jousting that will delight and entertain absolutely anyone who has ever been in love.
Antic Disposition’s Much Ado About Nothing, which is set in the post-war celebrations of liberated France, draws inspiration from the inventive films of French comic actor Jacques Tati. The production will make full use of the awe-inspiring church space, immersing the audience, many of whom will be seated at French-style cafe tables, in the action of the play.
Produced by Antic Disposition, Much Ado About Nothing is directed by Ben Horslen and John Risebero, designed by John Risebero, with lighting design by Howard Hudson and music by James Burrows. The cast includes Anouke Brook, Ashley Cook, Sophie Cosson, Robert French, Luke Harris, James Hutchinson, Bethany Minelle, James Pellow, Jonathan Pembroke and Damien Warren-Smith. Following its London run, Much Ado About Nothing will tour various villages in the Lot and Dordogne valleys in South West France during August, under the banner of Antic Disposition’s annual Festival Shakespeare du Quercy.
Later in the year, Antic Disposition will present a brand new musical version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol from Tuesday 8 December 2009 to Sunday 3 January 2010.
ST STEPHEN’S, HAMPSTEAD – A Brief History:
Having been designed by architect Samuel Sanders Teulon (1812 – 1873), St Stephen’s, Hampstead, is considered to be one of the finest Victorian churches built in the Gothic style. Built in 1869 and regularly attended by over a thousand parishioners each Sunday, it was closed for worship in 1977, following which it has lain derelict until the present day.
Original proposals for its future included conversion to luxury flats and demolition to make way for a car park for the adjacent Royal Free Hospital. Whilst fortunately neither plan came to fruition and the building achieved Grade 1 listed status, vandals and squatters moved in and left their mark on the building during the years it stood empty. In 1999, the St Stephen’s Restoration and Preservation Trust was awarded a lease to restore the building.
ANTIC DISPOSITION – A Brief Background:
Antic Disposition was founded in 2005 by director Ben Horslen and designer John Risebero, with the aim of producing innovative and entertaining theatrical work from a variety of genres. Over the past three years the company has earned a strong reputation for high quality productions of classic plays, including a critically acclaimed production of Richard III, performed in the derelict setting of St Stephen’s Hampstead and a sell-out run of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London’s West End.
Each August the company produces Festival Shakespeare du Quercy, a celebration of the works of Shakespeare, which takes place in open-air locations across the South West of France. For its inaugural season in 2005, Antic Disposition produced The Shakespeare Revue, which also toured the UK and played at the New End Theatre in Hampstead. It produced Romeo and Juliet in 2006, Twelfth Night in 2007 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2008, all of which subsequently appeared at the Cochrane Theatre in London.
Press night for Much Ado About Nothing is Thursday 25 June at 7.30pm.
For More Information:
Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead
London NW3 2PP
Box Office: 0871 230 5540 (24 hrs)