Christina Stroup-Manchester on Modernizing ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

This blog post was written by Sophie Haug and Grace Wilson.


Meet Christina. This is her first year with the Playhouse Family Theatre and she is currently directing the Teen Intensive’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. Sophie Haug and Grace Wilson (cast members in Xanadu JR, who are working on the marketing team for Much Ado About Nothing) sat down with her to talk about her decision to modernize this timeless show.


Sophie: What influenced your decision to do a modernized take on Much Ado?
Christina: I wanted Shakespeare to be accessible to all audiences. I feel like modernizing Shakespeare does that in a way that people don’t feel threatened by the language. Shakespeare can be very intimidating; however, it’s more relatable than one thinks and I hope to convey that to the audience.

Sophie: What changes did you make in the show/script to make it more modern?
Christina: I changed the setting to a hotel, owned by Don Pedro as opposed to making him a prince. Leonato is now the general manager of the hotel, and this is where Beatrice and Hero grew up. Most of the changes are made in the costumes and set, not the script.

Sophie: Why did you choose the Don Pedro Hotel as the setting?
Christina: I felt it made the most sense in simplifying the set and location. I also wanted there to be an air of royalty for Don Pedro and in my opinion, a great option is to make him a high-end hotel chain owner.

Sophie: Have you ever directed a modernized Shakespeare play before?
Christina: Yes, I have. I did a modernized Twelfth Night previously.

Sophie: What has been your favorite part of directing a modernized Shakespeare play?
Christina: My favorite part has been seeing the students in my show realize that Shakespeare is easier than they thought. And with the right motivation behind it, it can make sense in modern-day speech.

Sophie: What are your favorite Shakespeare plays?
Christina: I love Titus Andronicus; that’s my favorite drama. My favorite comedies are Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing.



  • What: Much Ado About Nothing & Xanadu JR
  • When: August 8-18 (the two shows alternate performance dates)
    • Thursday-Saturday @ 7pm, Sunday @ 2pm
  • Where: The Playhouse Family Theatre at the Depot
  • Tickets:
    • Standard – $17
    • Youth – $15
  • Purchase: // 218.733.7555


Each show has a trailer; enjoy!