Guy Rhys (Benedick) and Daneka Etchells (Beatrice) in Much Ado About Nothing. Photo by Johan Persson. Guy and Daneka stand close together and look into each other’s eyes. They are trying to wind each other up and smile wryly. Guy wears a light blue suit and Daneka wears a bright yellow jumpsuit.

Shakespeare’s raucous comedy, directed by Robert Hastie and co-production with Ramps on the Moon, opens at the Crucible on Friday 9 September before touring to Leeds Playhouse (Tuesday 27 September – Saturday 1 October), Birmingham Rep (Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 October), Nottingham Playhouse (Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 October), New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich (Tuesday 18 – Saturday 22 October), Theatre Royal Stratford East (Tuesday 1 – Saturday 5 November), Salisbury Playhouse (Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 November).

Actors Daneka Etchells and Guy Rhys talk to us about how they will take on the famous bickering lovers Beatrice and Benedick.


Daneka: I’m Daneka Etchells and I’m playing Beatrice.

Guy: And I’m Guy Rhys and I’m playing Benedick.


  • Is this your first time at Sheffield Theatres/working in Sheffield?

Guy: No, I have just finished working on ROCK / PAPER / SCISSORS at Sheffield Theatres.

Daneka: Yes, this is my first time working at Sheffield Theatres.


  • Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most-loved comedies. Have you performed Shakespeare before, and if so, is it different to performing non-Shakespearean plays?


Daneka: Yes, I have done Shakespeare before. It is different but once you understand the heightened poetic form of it, its content is just about people and relationships (and miscommunication – he loves that!)

Guy: This is my first attempt at a proper Shakespeare and I’m absolutely bricking it! But, I have a top director, Robert Hastie, and a wonderful, talented cast to look after me.


  • Much Ado About Nothing is in co-production with Ramps on the Moon. Can you explain what Ramps on the Moon do, and have you worked with them before?


Guy: Ramps on the Moon is a pioneering initiative to put D/deaf and disabled actors and audiences front and centre, and I have never had the pleasure to work with them before. They are a real agency of change and hopefully, for a brief time, I can be one of their ‘soldiers of change’.

Daneka: Ramps on the Moon are a consortium of seven UK theatres that strive to platform and celebrate D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent talent. I have not worked with them before.


  • Tell us a little more about your character. Are they relatable to you in any way?


Daneka: My character Beatrice is a fiercely independent rejector of social convention. She’s a role I’ve always wanted to play. She is richly complex; a potion of a sharp mind, a quick wit and a tender, soft heart.  I definitely relate to her (I’m discovering every day in numerous more ways than I can count).

Guy: Benedick is one of the most loved and famous bachelors ever written. Do I relate to him – yes and no. It’s hard to answer whilst still working out his character in rehearsals.


  • What excites you most about working on Much Ado About Nothing?


Guy: Working with Robert [Hastie, director] again, and working with the top staff and crew at the Crucible again.

Daneka: Working with such an incredible tour-de-force company of D/deaf and disabled excellence, each bringing something so full of life and complexity to their role.


  • Finally, why should people come to watch the show?

Daneka: Because it’s hilarious, tragic and tender in equal parts. It’s like no other Much Ado I’ve ever seen.

Guy: It’s Robert Hastie, on the Crucible stage, with a Ramps Shakespeare show that’s never been staged like this before. Isn’t that enough for you?!




Interview by Carrie Askew.

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