Following the creation of an Afro-Futurist ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ for the RSC.
What is Afro-Futurism and what does it bring to the Bard? Radio 4 follows the creative team in the build-up to the first performances of director Roy Alexander-Weise’s RSC debut with Shakespeare’s beloved comedy Much Ado About Nothing, in the first shows with a live audience at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon since the pandemic began.
Two very different couples fall in love in Much Ado About Nothing, amidst a maze of misunderstandings and deception. In this ground-breaking production, Beatrice and Benedick bicker on an Afro-Futurist stage. “Shakespeare knew the creative potential that came with setting his plays in imagined worlds… or at least worlds unfamiliar to his audience at the time,” Roy says. “I wanted to explore what a futuristic vision of society might look like; what has the potential to be different… and equally what fundamental aspects of the human condition remain unchanged.”
To realise his vision, the co-Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre has assembled a largely Black cast and team of creatives. With contributions from MOBO nominee Femi Tomowo who’s composing the music, and costume designer and Beyonce favourite Melissa Simon-Hartman, we follow the team as they draw on their African heritage, projecting it forward to opening night and beyond.
Producer: Marilyn Rust for BBC Wales