Classic theatre with a modern twist

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Travelling troupe members of The Barden Party perform Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in the Ashburton Domain.
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Shakespearian theatre took over a section of the Ashburton Domain last weekend as seasoned troupe members of The Barden Party put on a rockabilly performance of Much Ado About Nothing.

It was a modern country-rock style musical take of William Shakespeare’s comedy classic and attended by around 50 appreciative people on the Royal Lawn in the domain.

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Six of The Barden Party members – joined at times by members of the audience – took on the various characters of the play interspersed with catchy musical numbers – including line dancing – during the two hour outdoor production.

The travelling troupe, started performing in gardens and backyards across New Zealand last year as covid affected much of their performance work.

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Ashburton District Council’s Creative Communities Committee granted the troupe $1790 to help cover expenses for their Ashburton show.

It was one of 17 applications to the creative communities scheme last year; funding for the next round opens in March.

Projects that receive funding aim to encourage and foster an interest in the arts, in avariety of ways – from Shakespeare in the park, to pottery and Nepalese dance.

Much Ado About Nothing was thought to be written in the late-1590s and revolves around two romantic pairings; one between characters Claudio and Hero is nearly torn apart by accusations of villain, Don John.

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The second romance, between Claudio’s friend Benedick and Hero’s cousin Beatrice, gives much of the wit and banter as they are determined to not find love.

It is a play of comedy, intrigue and action.