From Messina to Delhi: Much Ado about Staging Global Shakespeares in Olympic Time


  • Sofía Muñoz Valdivieso Universidad de Málaga


Indian Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, performance studies, Royal Shakespeare Company, worldwide Shakespeare


The present article discusses one of the contributions of the Royal Shakespeare Company to the World Shakespeare Festival, a celebration of the Bard as the world’s playwright that took place in the UK in 2012 as part of the so-called Cultural Olympiad. Iqbal Khan directed for the RSC an all-Indian production of the comedy Much Ado about Nothing that transposed the actions from early modern Messina to contemporary Delhi and presented its story of love, merry war of wits and patriarchal domination in a colourful setting that recreated a world of tradition and modernity. Received with mixed reviews that in general applauded the vibrant relocation while criticising some directorial choices, this 2012 Much Ado about Nothing in modern-day Delhi raises a number of questions about cultural ownership and Shakespeare’s international performance – issues that are particularly relevant if we see the play in relation to other productions of the World Shakespeare Festival in this Olympic year but also in the context of the increasing internationalization of Shakespeare’s cultural capital in contemporary times.


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