Much Ado: UH Hilo performing arts students hone technical skills at local production of Shakespeare comedy

Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing began its run this past weekend, and will continue this coming weekend July 14-16 on the front lawn of the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center.

In an outdoor stage with a huge tree overhead, actors perform.
Several students from the UH Hilo performing arts program are honing their technical skills at the 46th Annual Shakespeare in the Park Festival happening this month on the front lawn at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. (Courtesy photo)

Hilo Community Players 46th Annual Shakespeare in the Park. Much Ado About Nothing. Hiloplayers.org. 2023-2024 Season. July July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16 UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. July 21, 2023 Honokaa Sports Complex. 7:30 pm. Free Admission. Bring a chair. We provide access to our activities without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or disability. If you require reasonable accommodations due to a disability, please contact us at least 5 days prior to the event at HiloCommunityPlayers@gmail.com.

By Susan Enright.

Several students from the performing arts program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are honing their technical skills at the 46th Annual Shakespeare in the Park Festival happening this month on the front lawn at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center (and in Honoka‘a!).

A modern adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, is currently being produced by the local theatre company, Hilo Community Players, which has been delighting Hilo audiences with their shows since 1938. This production of Much Ado is directed by Jennifer Brahms Gardham with music direction by Wendell Ing. The show features live music by The Loose Fedoras.

UH Hilo talent

The Hilo Community Players’ mission to “educate, enrich, and inspire the Big Island community through quality theatrical productions, workshops, and activities for children, teens, and adults,” often includes UH Hilo students, faculty, and alumni as cast and crew in the non-profit’s productions. This holds true for Much Ado.

High-roofed Performing Arts Center with monkeypod tree in foreground.
UH Hilo Performing Arts Center is pictured above. The 46th Annual Shakespeare in the Park Festival is happening this month, July 2023, on the front lawn of the center. Click to enlarge. (Kirsten Aoyagi/UH Hilo Stories)

UH Hilo alumna Rachel Klein, who serves as president of Hilo Community Players, worked with the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center staff to arrange for this summer’s performances. Klein has been facilitating Much Ado production most days.

On crew are UH Hilo students Savannah Christensen and Jordan Ancheta (sound) and Ren Pollock (lights). Dane Dupre is in the show and also general crew. All are performing arts majors.

Trever Veilleux, a UH Hilo alumnus now faculty who teaches the university’s jazz orchestra class, is one of the trio of musicians for Much Ado. Master carpenter Erin McClure is also an alumna.

The cast of Much Ado takes a bow at the end of the show.
A modern adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, is currently being produced by the local theatre company, Hilo Community Players, and performed on the front lawn of the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. (Courtesy photo)

Show dates and times

Much Ado About Nothing began its run this past weekend Friday-Sunday, and will continue this coming weekend July 14-16 on the front lawn at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center.

Then, for one weekend only, the show travels up the Hāmākua Coast to the old plantation town of Honoka‘a on July 21-23 at the Honoka‘a Sports Complex.

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. each night. Admission is free. Concessions will be available. Bring a chair and pull up a seat!

Hō Ka Hū: No Ack!

Preceding the Hilo performances of Much Ado, a keiki adaptation of the same play, entitled Hō Ka Hū: No Ack!, written by UH Hilo drama professor and local-kine playwright Justina Mattos will be presented starting at 4:30 p.m. Hō Ka Hū: No Ack! is a local twist on Shakespeare’s classic comedy, following a group of teens from Welina High as they discover how gossip can make or break relationships.

Learn more about Hō Ka Hū: No Ack!:

Hō Ka Hū: No Ack! UH Hilo drama professor and local-kine playwright Justina Mattos’s adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing presented on campus lawn in July


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

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