Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing


by william shakespeare

Directed by Vera Mark

Sparkling wit and love at first (or second) sight, proud princes and swooning maidens, inefficient villains overcome by bumbling fools – Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, and one that is easily relatable for a modern audience. But this is more than just a witty comedy; it holds a mirror to a society that falls for lies all too easily. Targeted disinformation and manipulation are as commonplace in today’s real world as they are in this play. In the end, in Much Ado About Nothing the weakness behind the lies is exposed – and hopefully everyone, the audience included, has become a little wiser and less gullible.

Show dates

PREMIERE: 1 June 2024 at 7pm

June 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29 at 7pm

July 4, 5, 6 at 7pm

June 23 and July 7 (Sundays) at 6pm

*Tickets available exclusively through Frankfurt Ticket (no tickets at the door). Discounts available for students; groups please contact:


Botanischer Garten Frankfurt

Siesmayerstraße 72, 60323 Frankfurt am Main


This is an outdoor promenade performance with very limited seating possibilities. Please do not bring your own folding chair, but contact us in advance if you require seating: hello@shakespearefrankfurt.

We play in any weather, heavy rain and thunderstorms excepted, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and dress appropriately, but please refrain from bringing umbrellas as they block the view for others. There is a 15-minute interval.

SPECIAL THANKS go to the Frankfurt Palmengarten, the Botanischer Garten Frankfurt and the Kulturamt Frankfurt for their continuous and generous support.

This production is dedicated to the loving memory of Ralf Kremser (1968–2023).


Antonia Görge (she/her)

Antonia Görge is a native of Frankfurt with a background in musicology and literary studies. Much Ado About Nothing is her eighth production with Shakespeare Frankfurt following Doctor Faustus (2024), Julius Caesar (2023), Antony and Cleopatra (2021/2022), Spiritus Vitae – The Breath of Life (2020), Midsummer Night’s Dream (2018), The Tempest (2016), and Hortus Inclusus (2016).

Other projects in 2024 include Künstlerplattform Noctenytor’s German language productions of Jonathan Swift’s A Tale of a Tub (May 2024) and of Addams Family – Das Musical (from October 2024), both at Kulturhaus Frankfurt.

Michael Kinzer (he/him)

Michael has been acting since he was a child. He performed in a number of German Shakespeare productions, including Richard III, in which he played the title role. Joining the Shakespeare Frankfurt ensemble in 2016, he added several well-known Shakespeare characters to his list, including Ariel in The Tempest, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Edmund in King Lear, Touchstone in As You Like It, Brutus in Julius Caesar and the title role in Macbeth. Most recently, he played Iago in Shakespeare Frankfurt’s production of Othello, which will return to the stage in fall 2024. His other acting credits include Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Yasmina Reza’s Art, Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman and Martin Heckmanns’ one-person play Finnisch, for which he received the Best Actor award at the Freispiel Festival in Freiburg. In 2020 he co-developed, edited, and acted in Shakespeare Frankfurt’s first feature film Spiritus Vitae – The Breath of Life and portrayed the composer Robert Schumann in Theater 3D’s production Dichterliebe, which won the jury award at the MADE Festival Hessen. In 2023, Michael made his directorial debut of a full-length play with Shakespeare Frankfurt’s production of Julius Caesar.

Keith Wilson (he/him)
Don Pedro

Keith, a native Tenessean currently residing in Germany, has been successfully working as a singer, dancer, actor and choreographer. He has a diverse educational background with diplomas in Musical (American Musical and Dramatics Academy), Speech & Theater and Elementary Education (Austin Peay State University), and ESL Training Certification (Cambridge University, England). Keith has performed nationally and internationally in the German productions of The Lion KingStarlight ExpressLa Cage Aux FollesHairJesus Christ Superstar and Dream Girls (in concert), and European productions of the opera Porgy & Bess (Rome Opera, Teatro Bellini, Semperoper Dresden, Frankfurt Opera, and many others). Some of his choreography successes include: Song & Dance (Landestheater Eisenach), Some Like It Hot (Anhaltisches Theater Dessau), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (U.S.) and Jesus Christ Superstar (U.S.). Keith is a member of AEA and has performed in Equity productions such as Big RiverGuys and DollsFives Guys Named MoAnything Goes and Sophisticated Ladies and starred as Tony Whitcomb in Shear Madness at the Kennedy CTR. Much Ado About Nothing marks Keith’s sixth production with Shakespeare Frankfurt, following King LearAs You Like ItSweatJulius Caesar and Doctor Faustus.

Nathan Records

Nate Records has an MFA in Directing from Baylor University and a Bachelor’s in acting from Northern Michigan University.  Before running US Army Entertainment theatre programs in Kaiserslautern and Wiesbaden for the last fifteen years, Nate was a professor of theatre arts at East Texas Baptist University. There his production of All My Sons was invited to participate in a Polish theatre festival in Czestochowa.  

As an actor, Nate is a two-time Irene Ryan Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival nominee for roles in Everything’s Relative and The Laramie Project.  

Nate is a voiceover actor, playwright, educator, adjudicator, and free-lance play reader for Dramatic Publishing.

Sarah Jane Williams (she/her)

Sarah Jane is eighteen years old and completing her final year of high school before continuing her studies in Film and English Literature. Having taken part in school based theatre productions and music groups throughout her childhood, she has always been drawn to the arts. Following a break due to the pandemic, she took part in her first Shakespeare Frankfurt production where she portrayed a Capulet house member in Romeo and Juliet of 2023. Now she is continuing her performing work in this production as Hero. 

Paul Quast (he/him)

Paul has dabbled in the arts from a young age. In school, he played the drums in jazz and rock bands, recorded two albums, and performed concerts in Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Russia. While also making short films and singing in choir, he acted in several school theatre productions, playing, among others, Franz in Die Räuber and Flute/Thisbe in Midsummer Night’s Dream. After moving to Frankfurt in 2021, he started writing plays – his debut, Kaulquapp, is currently being reviewed by publishers. Paul discovered Shakespeare Frankfurt in 2023 and joined the company for their production of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, in which he played an array of parts, among them the Evil Angel.  

Sarah Davisson (she/her)

Sarah was born in the United States and currently lives with her family in Frankfurt. Since childhood, Sarah has had a passion for performance art. She began dance training in early childhood, was heavily involved in her high school’s theater department, and was inducted into the International Thespian Society in 1990. She studied Dance and Theater at the University of Iowa, where she had the opportunity to tour with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. She has worked both onstage and backstage with various theatre groups. She was choreographer and costume director for R-ACT Production’s presentations of The Wizard of Oz and Nunsense (for which she also understudied Mother Superior and Sister Hubert). Other roles were Marty Maraschino in Grease and Ingrid Laszlo in Noir Suspicions. Dance roles include the Wicked Witch in the Dance Theatre of the Hemisphere’s productions of Hansel and Gretel, and one of the Furies in Orpheus and Eurydice. This is her second project with Shakespeare Frankfurt, having recently appeared as an ensemble member in Doctor Faustus.

Blanca Schüllermann (she/her)

Blanca is twenty years old and is currently studying musicology in Frankfurt.

She started taking singing, dancing and piano lessons at age six, and through school she was inspired to join the English Theater Workshop at the AmKa (Amt für Multikulturelle Angelegenheiten in Frankfurt), where she discovered her love for acting. This is Blanca’s fifth time working with Shakespeare Frankfurt, having performed as Celia in As You Like It, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Emilia in Othello and most recently taking part in the 2023/2024 production of Doctor Faustus.

PJ Escobio (he/him)

Some of PJ’s Shakespearean roles include: the title role in Julius Caesar, Adam in As You Like It, Macduff and Banquo in Macbeth, Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, Caliban in The Tempest, and Leontes in The Winter’s Tale. Other stage roles include: the title role in Tartuffe by Moliere, Archer in The Beaux Stratagem by George Farquhar, Agamemnon in The Orestia by Aeschylus, Kreon in Antigone by Sophocles, Don Gomez in Le Cid by Corneille, Father Matteo in Zorro by Michael Harris, Bob in Moonchildren by Michael Weller, Trofimov in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov, and Kharna in Leaves of the Great Bharata by Dennis Rosa. A few of his favorite musical roles played include Bernardo in West Side Story, Jigger in Carousel, and Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls. He has directed over 35 theatre productions, from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman to Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman. In 2021, he collaborated with American performance artist Pope L. on Misconceptions, a piece of Guerilla theater made by the Portikus museum in Frankfurt. He is the Artistic Director of Shakespeare Frankfurt and was the Associate Artistic Director of WORDbridge Playwright’s Laboratory.  He is also a Theatre educator who has worked with: NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Towson University, Clemson University, The English Theatre Frankfurt, Institute of the Arts Barcelona and Goethe University. He holds an M.F.A. in Acting and Directing from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Conor Doyle (he/him)

Conor serves as the Assistant Director and Cast Member for Shakespeare Frankfurt’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. Having collaborated on various productions with the company, including the recent performances of Doctor Faustus and Othello, Conor has seamlessly integrated his experience and training into the fabric of Shakespeare Frankfurt. His multifaceted role showcases his dedication and expertise, making him a highly valued member of the team. Conor’s contributions extend beyond the stage, embodying a commitment to the craft and a collaborative spirit that enriches the overall theatrical experience.

Patrick Joyce (he/him)
Friar Francis

Born in Italy and raised in the UK, Patrick has been living in Frankfurt for sixteen years, working in the video games industry. Much Ado About Nothing will be his sixth project with Shakespeare Frankfurt. He hopes his past as a punk rock singer doesn’t come through in any of the music (this time).

Charles O’Donnell (he/him)
Don John, Sexton

Charles is from Ireland and lived in Paris for several years before settling in Frankfurt in 2018. This is his second production as an actor for Shakespeare Frankfurt after As You Like It in 2022. Prior to Shakespeare Frankfurt, he also performed in several plays in Paris and Frankfurt including the role of Ernest in The Importance of Being Earnest and Pinter’s short plays The Room and Celebration for the ECB Theatre Ensemble. He has also worked as a projection designer for Shakespeare Frankfurt including the recent productions of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat and Othello.

James Roberts (he/him)

James grew up in UK before moving to Frankfurt in 2010 and has been generally up to no good since then. This is his second production with Shakespeare Frankfurt after Romeo and Juliet and he is slightly concerned that playing the part of a scheming alcoholic bad guy seems all too familiar. He has previously worked with the ECB Theatre Ensemble where he adopted the role of the Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, starred in two Harold Pinter short plays The Room and Celebration, and recently directed Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters.

Jackson Seymore (he/him)

Jackson is a PhD student working in the Johannes Gutenberg University Wind Tunnel Lab under the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. He most recently finished directing Tuck Everlasting at the Amelia Earhart Playhouse in Wiesbaden this  spring 2024. His previous performance accolades have included Best Actor at the 2018 LAB! Theatre Labbie Awards, 2019 STV Awards, and the 2019 CMF Film Festival, which garnered him an invitation to the (then canceled) 2020 Cannes International Film Festival. His most recent roles have included his IMCOM Topper winning performance as Robin in Something Rotten at the AEP, Leroy in A Bright New Boise, Katurian in The Pillowman, Roland in Constellations with the LAB! Theatre as well as Judge Brack in Kenan Theater Company’s Hedda Gabler. His other directing credits include shows such as The Outsiders, The Wizard of Oz, A Portrait of Blue, A Heart of Diamonds, Memory Lane, and more. Jackson is also a former rescue diver and divemaster from the North Carolina Outerbanks. 



After many years of acting, directing and producing for the Frankfurt English Speaking Theatre, Vera joined Shakespeare Frankfurt in 2016 as Adrian in The Tempest. Since then she has appeared in an ensemble role in Enemy of the People (2018) and as Andromache in Euripides’ Trojan Women (2020). She also served as stage manager for Othello in 2019 and led the run crew in Antony and Cleopatra (2021). This was followed by the double role of assistant director and front of house manager for As You Like It in 2022. Vera is also a screenwriter and filmmaker; in 2019, she wrote, directed and produced the short film Blue Widow, and that same year her script Psykhe (Best Screenplay, British Screenwriting Awards 2015, shorts category) was turned into an award-winning short film. In 2023, Vera wrote the screenplay for the hybrid docu-fiction feature film Story of a New World, slated for production in 2024. Now she is thrilled to be directing Much Ado About Nothing, one of her favourite Shakespeare plays.

Conor Doyle (he/him)

Conor serves as the Assistant Director and Cast Member for Shakespeare Frankfurt’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. Having collaborated on various productions with the company, including the recent performances of Doctor Faustus and Othello, Conor has seamlessly integrated his experience and training into the fabric of Shakespeare Frankfurt. His multifaceted role showcases his dedication and expertise, making him a highly valued member of the team. Conor’s contributions extend beyond the stage, embodying a commitment to the craft and a collaborative spirit that enriches the overall theatrical experience.

Luna Schreiner (she/her)

A Gießen native, Luna Schreiner has been discovering the English-speaking theatre scene in Frankfurt for the past few months after spending too many years away from the stage. As a child, Luna was part of the Stadttheater Gießen’s youth club and co-wrote a play with her fellow youth actors. During her year abroad in New Zealand, she participated in the 2015 Stage Challenge, before going into a theatre. After interning at Shakespeare Frankfurt in January 2024, she immediately joined the team and is very excited to be part of her first garden show.

Erynn Diggines

Erynn, a student at Metropolitan School Frankfurt, has been on stage since she was three. Her fascination with the production side of theatre since led her to become more active in crew roles since joining Shakespeare Frankfurt in 2023. As part of a school-required work experience, Erynn interned during the Botanical Garden production of Romeo and Juliet. She then went on to help backstage with Doctor Faustus and was offered the role of assistant stage manager assistant for Much Ado About Nothing. Erynn thanks all her colleagues for making every experience enjoyable.

Front of house manager – Sid Ulrike Pizarro | Costume supervisor – James Bailey | Costume assistant – Caro Deeg | Master hair stylist – Elvira Spengler | Props – Christina Paraschiv | Production manager – Trisha Fiss | Intimacy coordinator – Varvara Pomoni | Dance choreography – Vera Mark | Fight choreography – PJ Escobio | Photography – Stephan Junek | Promotion material – Michael Kinzer | Social Media – Varvara Pomoni, Vera Mark

director's note

The title of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing contains an intriguing ambiguity: the Elizabethan pronunciation of “nothing” was “noting”, i.e. to hear – or overhear. One of the “overhearings” in this play provides romantic confusion, the other is brought about for evil purposes: fake news and disinformation, phenomena all too present today with potentially disastrous consequences.

“My soul doth tell me she is wronged,” says Leonato in Act V.1 about his daughter Hero. He learns a hard lesson, through much grief: to follow his heart, to act on what he knows deep down is true and go against what his treasured friend and superior in status Don Pedro mistakenly claims. Bridegroom Claudio undergoes a similar journey: he falls for a fake reality, but his genuine grief earns him the forgiveness of Hero – a young woman torn between obedience to tradition and the yearning to become a modern, independent woman like her cousin Beatrice.

Why did I choose to set this in 1918? The play begins with a reference to the end of a war. The characters lap up good news and throw themselves into a joyous party, eager to put the past behind them. Parallels to the time after the “Great War” are easy to draw, both with regard to the pain and loss everyone suffered and to the dawning of a new era, the Roaring Twenties. Yet we all know what came after those golden years, and the seeds are plain to see in the manipulations of Don John. Thankfully he proves to be a fairly inefficient villain – but just imagine what he would do if he had AI at his disposal… and so the arch can be drawn all the way to our modern age, where public mobbing and manipulations via social media has reached frightening dimensions.

The men in this play have lessons to learn, and the women do not shy back from delivering them. Much has already been written about Beatrice and her wit, which drives even a smart guy like Benedick to occasional speechlessness; besides her, I want to highlight Ursula, who in this production also assumes the role of Leonato’s brother Antonio. This is no random choice; I wanted a woman, a war widow to hurl some uncomfortable truths at a decorated general and his officer.

In the end, while we relish the verbal battles between Beatrice and Benedick and laugh at the antics of Dogberry and Verges, let’s not forget the serious core of this play. To paraphrase the words of the Friar from Act IV.1: you don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it. We are on the brink of losing so much. Democracy is under attack in many places, and we have already lost a colossal amount of biodiversity, a process that threatens the precarious balance of life on earth.

You may think it a bit far-fetched to equate a Shakespeare comedy with our societies’ current existential crises. But humans have always used stories and storytelling to make sense of the world, and to explore ways to make it a better place. And what better backdrop to inspire a change of heart in us all than the glorious nature surrounding us in the Botanical Garden Frankfurt?!