Post-show Conversations: Much Ado About Nothing


A TORCH Post-show Conversation podcast about the Royal Shakespeare Company's Much Ado About Nothing.

This conversation was recorded between Professor Judith Buchanan and Professor Emma Smith on 10 March 2022 at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon and on 14 March 2022 at St Peter's College, Oxford. It explores their immediate responses to the adaptation, the opportunities and challenges thrown up by the production's bold choices, and the ways in which Shakespeare returned to the themes of Much Ado in later plays.

TORCH Post-show Conversations is a series of informal, on location conversations between Oxford researchers in response to a current theatre production. Designed to capture 'on the night' responses to performance, the Conversations give listeners a chance to eavesdrop on the intersections between research and theatre practice, and give researchers the opportunity to respond in real time to the best of theatre. Variation in sound quality comes from recording in public spaces or in transit. A full transcript will be available in due course, in the meantime please contact TORCH if you have any questions about this conversation. 

About the play:

From the RSC website: 

We welcome Shakespeare back to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with a brand new production of one of his best loved romantic comedies. In a futuristic world, two very different couples fall in love – but who is really pulling the strings? With dastardly plots, hilarious slapstick and some of Shakespeare’s wittiest dialogue, this story of matchmaking and manipulation is the perfect way to celebrate the joy of live theatre. 

Director Roy Alexander Weise (joint Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester) makes his RSC debut. Set designed by the award-winning Jemima Robinson, the production features costume designs by Melissa Simon-Hartman, who has designed for Beyoncé and Notting Hill Carnival, and an original score by Nigerian-born British guitarist and MOBO award-nominated musician Femi Temowo whose past collaborators include Amy Winehouse and The Roots. 

About the contributors:

Professor Judith Buchanan became Master of St Peter’s College in October 2019. Her academic background is in both in early modern literature and in the study of film, with my research focusing on Shakespearean performance histories and on silent cinema. She works frequently with external partners across arts and heritage sectors nationally and internationally, and is a committed advocate for the value of work and conversations that move between academic and non-academic spheres.

Professor Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford, and a Tutorial Fellow at Hertford College. Her research combines a range of approaches to Shakespeare and early modern drama, including the reception of Shakespeare in performance, print, and criticism, and the scholarly and cultural investments in Shakespearean criticism. She is a Research Associate at the RSC, her book This is Shakespeare was a Sunday Times bestseller, and she has worked with many partners in theatre, film and TV.

Introduction & production by Ruth Moore, post-production assistance Miriam Dirnhuber