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Welcome to Messina

East London Shakespeare Festival is committed to bringing high quality and accessible Shakespeare to East London audiences… and Much Ado brings a bit of the Mediterranean too!

In an attempt to mend a broken heart, Beatrice has escaped to visit her family in the stunning Mediterranean idyll of Messina, only to run into her self-centred ex, Benedict who is on leave from the army. Try as they might, they just can’t stop running into each other and can’t resist trying to outdo one another, with just a hint of flirting. Matters of the heart become a family affair as Beatrice’s cousin, Hero and Benedict’s protégé, Claudio fall under Sicily’s spell and fall in love. The warm terracotta tiles & balmy Italian evening heat up at a masked beach festival… but who is getting hot & sweaty on the dance floor; and who is declaring their love for who? And is someone trying to sabotage everyone’s holiday/happily ever ever?

This opulent tale is brimming with wit, trickery & mischief with heart coming out on top; and set against the luxurious backdrop of a modern-day Messina.

It will include ELSF’s trademark high-energy numbers, slapstick comedy characters for our younger audiences to enjoy, and a classic playlist including Busted, Dua Lipa, Irma Thomas, Jackie Wilson, and Sophia Loren, as well as original music by Patrick Rufey.

We hope you enjoy the party as much as we enjoyed putting it together.





Rosie Ward - Director

As well as being Co-Artistic Director of East London Shakespeare Festival, Rosie is the founder & Company Director of UpFront Theatre Company. She is the Principal of Act Out Performing Arts Schools. 

She is a professional actor & singer, and trained in Acting at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Theatre Credits include: Ariadne Ovid’s Metamorphoses (EdFringe & Vaults Festival, PantsOnFire), Cleopatra Anthony & Cleopatra & Goneril King Lear (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival); Lady Macbeth Macbeth – UK Tour & Viola Twelfth Night – Bloomsbury Theatre + UK Tour (Young Shakespeare Company); Soloist New Musicals Project – Leicester Square Theatre & Soloist British Musical Future Hosted by Stiles & Drewe – The Other Palace (As Told By).

Rosie is based in Leytonstone along with her partner, 2 year old and Darcey the dog!

Director's Note

I am thrilled to be directing ELSF’s show again this year and Much Ado is a special one as it was the first play that solidified my love for Shakespeare – I used to watch the Emma Thompson video nearly every weekend at my Granny’s and I’ve been in love with Beatrice and Benedick ever since! They are a formidable coupling, as witty as they are foolish and fiercely loyal – to me they are Shakespeare’s greatest love story, because they truly are equals. We are keen to play with the classic romcom format, with a nod to a few of the greats; there may even be an airport


scene… Richard Curtis – eat your heart out!

As with all ELSF shows, physical comedy, music and movement will feature throughout. I’m particularly excited about the Margaret character who will be absorbing the Balthasar role, as Messina’s resident lounge singer, underscoring the shenanigans and setting the scene of a (hopefully) balmy, Mediterranean backdrop. The production will explore how the characters slide, collide, confound, collude, disguise and hide, and that will be reflected in the movement of the cast and the set.

This would not have been possible without our phenomenal Movement Director, Jennie Dunne; set to the genius music (original and arranged) of our Musical Director Patrick Rufey. Nina Ayres has joined the team bringing some beautiful design to the piece; and a huge thank you to our stage manager ‘Ali Bear’ and my co-producer Ursula Early for all the hard and non-glamourous graft that goes on behind the scenes.

I cannot wait to invite you to Messina, hopefully we have the Mediterranean weather to go with it! 


- Rosie Ward - Director

Genevieve Dunne – Movement Director


Jennie (Genevieve) Dunne is an actress who studied languages at Cambridge University. She then trained at Jacques Lecoq Theatre School and East 15 Acting School.


Jennie is Co-Artistic Director of NMT Automatics for which she has movement directed: The Orpheus Project; Dido + Aeneas: Remixed, Pandora’s Box and Tempus Fugit: Troy & Us


Credits as choreographer include: The Cambridge Fool’s When In Rome; Where’s Your Mama Gone (Hen and Chickens); The Matchgirls (RDC); The Abominable Snowman (Moon on a Stick Productions). Praise includes: ‘outstanding choreography’ (WhatsOnStage).


Jennie is a regular performer and facilitator for the internationally renowned theatre company 1927, including lead roles in worldwide hit shows Golem, The Animals and Children and Roots.


She spent last year filming Interview With A Vampire in Prague, and can be spotted running around with fangs in the upcoming season.


Jennie is a Leytonstone local and performed in ELSF’s first season whilst heavily pregnant and is very much looking forward to Movement Directing Much Ado, with a little help from her toddler!

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Ursula Early: Much Ado Associate Director & Producer; Co-Artistic Director of ELSF

Ursula has produced all of ELSF’s productions and tours including: Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and co-wrote and directed ELSF’s launch show Two Metres to Shakespeare.


Ursula has also recently launched and directs ELSF’s Young Company – a youth theatre for East London 7-17 year olds. Alongside ELSF, she is also Producer for Walthamstow’s performance & community venue The CentrE17.


Previous producing/ directing projects include: Welcome Festival (Blackhorse Arts), Desdemona: a Play About Handkerchief (PARK THEATRE), A Bold Stroke for A Husband and Double Indignity (UK Tour / Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds); regular new writing/comedy night Laugh Your Farce Off (Pleasance Theatre: Main House & Edinburgh). She was a producer on Old Vic New Voices TS Eliot US/UK Exchange.


Patrick Rufey - Musical Director

Patrick trained at the Guildhall school of Music and Drama.

Musical Direction credits Include: Peter Pan, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty (Evolution Productions) NewsRevue 2012-2017 (The Canal Café Theatre, London) An Evening of Jerry Herman (St Pauls, The Actors Church, Covent Garden), Jack & The Beanstalk (The Beck Theatre, QDOS), Jack & The Beanstalk (Buxton Opera House) Cole Porter’s Jubilee (UK Premier, The Tabard Theatre, London), Peter Pan (Paul Holman Associates Pantomime, The Oakengates Theatre, Telford), My Lands Shore (UK Premier Concert Production, The Royal Academy of Music, London) Paprika Crisps (The Unicorn Theatre, London) Days of Hope (St Pauls, The Actors Church, Covent Garden) The Birds (The Leicester Square Theatre, London) Patrick Is also Principle Conductor of The Virtual Theatre Orchestra, formed in 2020 during Covid Lockdown.

As a Composer, Patrick has written for Talkwood Productions; a Musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, which was performed at The Charing Cross Theatre in London in 2013, a musical parody of the Stephen Spielberg movie ‘Jurassic Park’ called Jurassic Lark The Musical (from the perspective of the Dinosaurs), which premiered at the Leister Square Theatre April 2015. Most recently He has written 1066 A New Musical and the studio cast album is available on all streaming services.


Andrew Hollingworth - Designer

Andrew has been a set builder for Redbridge Drama Centre on a handful of their Christmas productions. He has also been Tech Operator and Stage Manager on Katie Arnstein's "It's A Girl" Trilogy: Bicycles and Fish, Sexy Lamp and Sticky Door, and most recently on her production of The Long Run at the New Diorama Theatre 


Andrew trained as an actor and writes and produces shows for his theatre company Buckle Up Theatre. He has taken his work to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and to other festivals in the UK, America and Europe and won multiple awards.

George Thompson - Scenic Artist

George is a designer and illustrator working across a wide range of creative industries, specialising in theatre and costume. With a background in sculpture from Goldsmith University, George began working as a scenic painter in 2010 and has worked on a number of films and music videos since. George's style incorporates contemporary themes with a love of historical fashion and traditional making processes. His passion for extremes allows him to generate pieces that can vary from the wildly extravagant to the absurdly minimal. George's recent work includes a giant mural painted in the lobby of the Unicorn Theatre in London Bridge and an illustration collaboration with the Fashion and Textile museum.
George's designs featured in A Midsummer Night's Dream as the cushions in Titania's bower
Pieces are available to purchase:


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Nina Ayres – Design adviser


Having attained a first-class honours degree in Theatre Design at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating in 1997, Nina began her career designing for a wide variety of theatre, dance and large-scale open-air productions. She is also the author of ‘Creating Outdoor Theatre’ a publication by Crowood press.


Although her passion for live performance never waned, Nina made the transition to film and TV over 13 years ago and now enjoys working in both genre’s.


Having worked across all areas of both costume and set departments she is well versed in Design, Styling, Construction, Prop Costume, Crafts, Textiles and Breakdown, she has an enormous wealth of experience and is a great problem solver.



She had the pleasure of working on five seasons of Game of Thrones (Emmy Nomination and Emmy Win, HBO), The Crown (Netflix), Fortitude (Sky) and also The Great (Hulu). She was then Costume Designer for The Last Kingdom (Netflix),  (Costume Designer Guild Award nomination, Starz), Carnival Row (Amazon Prime) and most recently ‘Adelaide and Noel’ for Green Candle dance company.


She has a reputation for being a practical and highly creative Designer able to deliver quality, detailed, well researched and considered designs from concept through to realisation. Nina enjoys working throughout Europe and worldwide, in new and often challenging work environments.


An avid traveller, Nina is passionate about the anthropology of clothing and fashion, being ancient or modern day. Coupled with a love of story telling she strives to create sets and costumes which have the characters identities seamlessly interwoven with their surroundings to visually aid the story.


Alistair Brown - Stage Manager

Alistair graduated with a drama degree from Aberystwyth University, and has worked on and off stage. As company manager for Quantum Theatre he was responsible for directing and supporting their touring productions including ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ ‘The Tempest’ and ‘The Snow Queen.’ He has manged theatres including the Omnibus in Clapham and has toured with The Down for the Count Swing Orchestra as front of house/ tour manager. His favourite on stage roles include Orsino (‘Twelfth Night’), Neal (‘Love and Understanding’) Peter Rabbit, Mr Toad (‘The Wind in the Willows’) and ‘Straight to the Heart’ (Arts Theatre.)

Alistair also works in television production as a researcher and assistant producer, with credits including ‘Tipping Point’, ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’, ‘The Wheel’ and BT Sport.

He is delighted to be joining the team at ELSF this summer and is ready for whatever the Great British weather has to offer!




Michael is a young actor and director born in East London and has worked on 3 previous ELSF productions. He has been trained by the National Youth Theatre and RAW Academy. He has previously written and directed his own play. Michael is excited to pursue more directorial roles in the future.



Alistair Brown - Don John / Friar

Alistair graduated with a drama degree from Aberystwyth University. stage roles include Orsino (‘Twelfth Night’), Neal (‘Love and Understanding’) Peter Rabbit, Mr Toad (‘The Wind in the Willows’) and ‘Straight to the Heart’ (Arts Theatre.)


As company manager for Quantum Theatre he directed and supporting their touring productions including ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ ‘The Tempest’ and ‘The Snow Queen.’ He has manged theatres including the Omnibus in Clapham and has toured with The Down for the Count Orchestra as front of house/ tour manager. Alistair also works in television production as a researcher and assistant producer, with credits including ‘Tipping Point’, ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’, ‘The Wheel’ and TNT Sport.

He is delighted to be joining the team at ELSF again this summer and is ready for whatever the Great British weather has to offer!

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Ursula Early - Beatrice / Seacoal

Ursula is the co-artistic director of ELSF and has been a professional actress for 20 years. She trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Her TV credits include: ‘Imperial Leather’ advert, Eastenders, Doctors, The Bill, Life Begins, The Life Class and several independent films. Stage credits include: Twelfth Night & Romeo & Juliet  (Kenneth More Theatre), Please Right Back (1927), A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Twelfth Night (ELSF), The Endings (Soho Theatre & Nottingham Playhouse), Powerhouse, Last Manor Standing (Pleasance Theatre, London & Edinburgh), Wives As They Were Maids As They Are & Animal Magnetism (UK tour including: Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and Haymarket), Guests (Hall For Cornwall), Master Of Mayhem (Eastern Angles), Just For Fun (New End Theatre), Diamond (Kings Head), Blame (Sphinx Theatre Company – Tour), The Glimmer (Bristol Old Vic Studio).

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Kieran Garland - Benedick / Second Watchman

Kieran's theatre work includes "Ocean At The End Of The Lane" for the National Theatre, West End; "The End Of The Line", "A Bunch Of Amateurs", & "The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband" for Theatre On The Coast, Suffolk; "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" for the National Theatre, West End, and UK & International tours; "Dahling, You Were Marvellous" for Steven Berkoff, and "Macbeth" for RIFT Theatre, London. His TV work includes "Silent Witness", BBC, and the upcoming "A Thousand Blows", Disney+. Kieran is thrilled to be making his debut with ELSF on Much Ado About Nothing.

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Lauren Hendricks - Don Pedro / Margaret

Lauren trained at The Urdang Academy. Credits include: Sleeping Beauty and Jack & The Beanstalk at the Queens Theatre in Barnstaple, Housewives on Holiday UK Tour, The Wizard of Oz UK tour, Twisted Tiaras, West End Gospel choir, An Inspector Calls at the New Wimbledon Theatre Commercials: Ginsters, Dremel, Bacofoil, Amazon Prime, Vitality, National Lottery Film: Braggy Friend in “Egg Timer” TV: HBO’s ‘The Nevers’ and ‘Support Group’ pilot for Mighty Fine Productions She is one half of Carey-Hills & Hendricks, writers of Tinker Bell the Musical and Nursery Crimes. Since Lockdown they have garnered hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok - and even though she feels far too old to be TikTok famous she is enjoying it all nevertheless. Check them out @careyhillsandhendricks

Londiwe Mthembu – Hero & Verges

Londiwe is an actress from South Wales and a RWCMD graduate. Her credits include Galwad [ Sky Arts, S4C], Truth or Dare [Theatr Clwyd] and most recently Beauty and the Beast [Riverfront Theatre]

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Natasha Mula (2024’s Apprentice Actor) – Conrade, Messenger & Ursula

Natasha is a British-Sicillian actor and theatre maker, with training from ArtsEd and a graduate of Rose Buford’s European Theatre Arts. Recent credits include: The PappyShow’s 10th Birthday Pit Party at the Barbican, A Most Pressing Issue at New Wimbledon Theatre Studio. Natasha is so excited to make her Shakespeare debut in ELSF’s Much Ado!

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Isambard Rawbone – Claudio & Dogberry

Isambard is a graduate of the University of Kent, with additional training at Identity School of Acting and Raw Academy. Theatre work includes: Romeo and Juliet (East London Shakespeare Festival), A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Iris Theatre), If This Is Normal (Chatback Theatre/ Edinburgh Fringe, Vault Festival, UK tour), Hamlet and Sense and Sensibility (Aquila Theatre/ US Tour), A Murder Most Foley (Fools Rush in Theatre/ Pleasance Theatre), Newsrevue (Canal Cafe Theatre), and Method In Madness (Entita Theatre/ Edinburgh Fringe/ UK Tour)

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Paul Willcocks – Leonato & Borachio

Paul graduated in acting at The Academy Drama School, having studied Drama and English at Birmingham University. He also trained and toured with Zippo's Circus. Paul's Shakespeare-related credits include 'Twelfth Night' (Young Vic Theatre), 'The Revenger's Tragedy' (Riverside Studios), 'Epicoene' (Tristan Bates Theatre), 'Julius Caesar' (Coram's Fields), 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' (Courtyard Theatre), 'The Tempest' (King's Head Theatre) and 'Edward II' (UK Tour). Paul also played Caliban in W.H Auden's 'The Sea and The Mirror' at the Edinburgh Fringe. Paul's most recent stage credits include 'Animal Farm' (European Tour), 'Santa's Sparkly Surprise' (UK Tour), 'The Lavender Hill Mob' (UK Tour), 'Coram Boy' (Minack Theatre) and 'Jubilee Voices' (Arcola Outside). Paul's screen work includes 'First Light' (Academy Films), 'The Toy Hospital' (Channel 5) and 'Funny Bones' (Hollywood Pictures).

Each year, ELSF employs talented young professionals to join the team. Our aim is to discover and nurture new talent. In addition to a professional credit, ELSF provides mentoring and training.

Joining the team this year will be an Apprentice Actor and Work experience placements.



Joining the company onstage for a selection of performances will be our wonderful Community Cast

Airport/party/wedding guests

The Watch

Sonnet 145


Coralie Francis, Inga Gece, Noelia Rufete-Gil, Moses Oyelakin, Tom Roberts, Zora Duric-Speare, Rain Wolfe, Mina Sigg-Horan, Rosa Hamilton, Grace Woodhead, Nadia Garay-Jackson, Raif Amlani, Annika Rose-Whiteman, Loran Osmani, Freya Davis, Oliver Dalby, Joni Garay-Jackson, Caleb Evers


Simon Bravery, Glyn Morgan, Emma Harry, Yi Ge, Christina Clemitshaw, Lacey Fearon, Teagan Maginn

This opportunity was open to all: residents and participants joined us in rehearsals, as well as a workshop facilitated by industry professionals.



Act 1

Trying to mend a broken heart, Beatrice boards a plane to Messina to visit her wealthy Uncle Leonato and cousin (& best friend) Hero. But as soon as she arrives, her Uncle announces they are going to be visited by some old friends, Don Pedro, Claudio & Benedick who are soldiers. The soldiers arrive & the leader, Don Pedro, introduces Leonato to his half brother, Don John. Beatrice and Benedick know each other already and do not get on - they start squabbling as soon as they meet, meanwhile Hero (Leonato's daughter) & Claudio (one of the soldiers) start to get on very well! Claudio admits to Don Pedro and Benedick that he is in love and would like to marry Hero. Meanwhile Don John admits to his friends Borachio & Conrad that he hates his brother and his friends and will do anything to ruin their fun.

To welcome the soldiers, Leonato throws a lavish masked ball - while they are all disguised, Don Pedro pretends to be Claudio & dances with Hero to help him win her affections; but Don John tells Claudio (who is pretending to be Benedick) that Don Pedro is tricking Claudio and is going to propose to Hero himself. But Don Pedro sets the record straight and Hero and Claudio agree to marry. In the excitement, the friends decide that they should set up Beatrice and Benedick who clearly love each other, despite their constant bickering.

The following day, Leonato, Claudio and Don Pedro wait until Benedick is nearby, then in loudly talk about how Beatrice is in love with him. Meanwhile, Hero, Margaret and Ursula do the same to Beatrice. The pair fall for the trick and admit to the audience that they do, in fact, love another. 

Act 2

Don John & Borachio have come up with a plan to ruin the wedding - Borachio (who is having a relationship with Margaret) trick Don Pedro and Claudio into believing that Margaret is Hero and that Hero is unfaithful. They decide to expose her at the wedding.
Meanwhile, Leonato's security staff - Dogberry, Verges and the Watch have a meeting to ensure all is safe and sound at Leonato's before the big day. Hero and her bridesmaids, Beatrice and Margaret prepare for the wedding and before you know it, she's walking down the aisle. However, Claudio refuses to marry her and shames her in front of everyone, accusing her of being unfaithful. Hero collapses and everyone except Beatrice, Leonato and the Friar leave. They come up with a plan - Hero will pretend to be dead until they can find a way to prove her innocence. Benedick returns to find Beatrice crying - they declare their love for one another and he asks if there's anything he can do. She demands he kill Claudio which he refuses, but he promises to help with the plan.

Borachio is bragging to his friend Conrad about tricking Claudio & Don Pedro, which is overheard by the watch - they have the proof they need to exonerate Hero. Dogberry leads a trial & Borachio confesses that Hero was never unfaithful & that it was all a plan concocted by Don John. Claudio sings at Hero's funeral and Leonato says he will forgive Claudio if he marries Hero's identical cousin and loves her as he promised to love Hero.

Wedding Take 2 - Hero reveals that she is alive, vows she was innocent and she and Claudio are married. & after a bit of too-ing and fro-ing, Beatrice and Benedick admit to the congregation that they are in love too and they get married! All's well that ends well!

If you have seen the show & enjoyed it, please share & tag us on social media

Charity Collection

In memory of Lucy Ward, who supported ELSF from the very beginning, we will be collecting donations for the Arthur Rank Hospice & the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation - there will be a cash bucket/card reader at the end of the performance and any donations are gratefully received.


Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is the leading UK lung cancer charity dedicated to helping everyone affected by the disease.


Since the charity was founded in 1990, its mission was clear: to improve the lives of people with lung cancer – and lung cancer alone. This means

lung cancer is at the heart of everything the charity does. It is the focus of every research project it funds, every person it supports, every life it saves.


With the help of its supporters, the charity have achieved so much over the past 34 years. From funding the first ever lung cancer nurse specialist to successfully campaigning for a national screening programme for lung cancer, the charity continues to devote every day to improving the lives of people living with lung cancer so, one day, we will live in a world where no one dies of lung cancer.


Arthur Rank Hospice Charity supports people in Cambridgeshire living with an advanced serious illness or other life-limiting condition and those who need end-of-life care. Our ‘Outstanding’ services support approximately 3,600 patients and their families annually helping people to make every moment count. 

It will cost £13.005 million to run our services in 2024/2025. Contracted services from the NHS are budgeted at £7.9 million and with the help of our community, we need to raise a further £5 million through donations, fundraising activities, retail sales, the Education and Conference Centre and Bistro.  

For further information, please visit 





Producing and Directing: Alongside being one of the founders and directors of ELSF she is director for Waltham Forest based theatre and community company Blackhorse Arts. She is also Producer and Programmer for Walthamstow’s performance venue CentreE17.



Founder and Company Director of UpFront Theatre Company, touring educational PSHE workshops and plays around UK Schools. Principal at Act Out Performing Arts and co-founder and co-director of East London Shakespeare Festival.


The East London Shakespeare Festival aims to bring joyful, contemporary and professional productions to outdoor community spaces. We want to make Shakespeare accessible to all, be that creatively, financially or logistically. Alongside our fantastic productions, we are running a Community Programme including an Apprentice scheme for aspiring actors/directors; Community Ensemble for local people to get involved; Performances & Workshops for Local Schools and plenty of Volunteer opportunities. We have partenered with local companies and aim to support other local businesses though our productions.




Elodie Foray works in all aspects of theatre, as an actor, a director, a playwright and in graphic designing and digital marketing. There are few briefs that are more fun than “it’s Shakespeare and it’s luxe Mediterranean vibes, go!”. This is Elodie's third time working with the ELSF and they love doing it every time.



Yioda Nicholaou is a freelance photographer. Yioda (pronounced Yodda) is born and bred in East London; she studied fashion and after spending more than two decades in the industry as a luxury branded fashion buyer, Yioda decided she wanted a new direction and challenged herself to do something that aligned with connecting with people in a creative capacity, she decided to pursue her first love, photography. Whilst Yioda was already a proficient photographer she enrolled on a full-time professional photography course at the London Institute of Photography, LIOP and she hasn't looked back. Yioda is available for a variety of photography genres. 



Our Venues

As an outdoor production, it was really important that our venues were as magical as our story. We have found some East London gems, that truly reflect the East London Shakespeare Festival vibe.



Thank you to Lillian Gerber for allowing us to use the magical outdoor space at Higham Hill Hub.

Higham Hill Hub is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation based within Higham Hill Park whose social purpose is to facilitate, host and deliver a diverse range of activities & seasonal events for all generations of the community.


Higham Hill Hub’s facilities include a hall, small kitchen, toilets (including disabled toilet), and limited storage. The 6m x 12m hall includes a sprung dance floor and mirrors.


The building is wheelchair accessible and we also have a large, private lawn.

The Hub is affordable to hire for everything from classes and events, to meetings and birthday parties.




Thank you to Kirsten Paterson, Dannie Hodson-Michael, Carol Moloney at the Fellowship Funding Scheme.


The sensational Fellowship Square in Walthamstow, which has undergone an extensive renovation. Based outside the iconic town hall, Fellowship Square has become a vibrant new cultural hub for residents and families to enjoy, complete with colourful power-jet fountains and music. 

We will be the first company to showcase the newly renovated area behind the town hall which includes a calm & serene sensory garden.



Many thanks to Peter Moreton and Will Alder from Applecart Arts, Monica Thomas from Newham Council and Nicole Mackie from the parks team.


We are very excited to venture to Newham to the stunning Plashet Park, behind Applecart Arts.


We at Applecart Arts believe that stories are potent and have the power to challenge, change and strengthen communities.

We work with a wide range of artistic disciplines – creating original music, film, visual art and drama. We combine this with our long-standing commitment to community engagement and a pursuit of artistic excellence.

We aim to reach across cultural divides and tell stories which engage, inspire and entertain our audiences.

In December 2021 Applecart Arts moved to The Passmore Edwards Building in Plashet Grove, East Ham. Read more about our new building here.



Thank you to Joy at KukooLaLa Cafe & Chris Bonney from Greenspace, for allowing us to use the lovely space behind the cafe.


KukooLala has charm by the bucket load, and we can't wait to add some fairy magic into the mix.


We have been awarded the permanent contract to run the community cafe in Leyton Jubilee Park. It is our hope to make the cafe a meeting point for local residents to come together in a diverse warm space. Whether you need a formal, but light & airy meeting room or a magical garden, we can make your event a success. Just feeling lonely? Come for a chat. Are you a new parent or carer & looking to meet others? Check out our events or just head on down anytime & let the little one(s) have a go at our toybox for a well deserved break.



Thank you to Max Mason & Paul Fleming at Hoxton Trust.

The Hoxton Trust exists to make the area of Hoxton and Shoreditch a better place for everyone who lives or works there.

We do this by supporting those most economically and socially disadvantaged with opportunities to build their levels of skills, knowledge and confidence; by providing free legal advice and assistance to those without the means to otherwise obtain it; and by managing and maintaining a community garden for the health, wellbeing and general enjoyment of everyone.

Our award-winning garden is a private space for the benefit of everyone who lives and works in the area. It is maintained by our volunteers and is not a council-run park. The garden provides an oasis of beautiful green space in a densely populated urban area where more than 80% of people rent a flat (3 times the national average), most without their own garden. As well as a place to be, the garden hosts numerous groups and community events that help reduce isolation, break down barriers and boost social cohesion.



Thank you to Gordon Turpin and Toni Hanshaw from the wonderful Humphry's Cafe


Set in the beautiful park “The Highams Park” and surrounded by nature with stunning views of Highams Park Lake,  Humphry’s is a vibrant but relaxing café and community space. 

Humphry’s is also home to many community based activities and is used as an exhibition space for work by local artists 




Thank you to Katherine Ives & Helen Lakeland from Lauderdale House

Packed full of activities, which you can discover in our What’s On section, and revealing historic features dating back almost 450 years, Lauderdale is a ‘house of many colours’ where no one day is like another. We offer different things to a wide range of different people, always seeking to reflect the original charitable gift of the house and park as a centre for arts and heritage for all and a ‘garden for the gardenless’. We are:

  • a creative and tranquil place of inspiration

  • a personal and unique building in which to celebrate key life changing events – weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, memorials

  • a vibrant hub for the arts and social interaction; a place to experiment and a place to discover new creativity

  • a window into almost 450 years of history

  • a valuable and stimulating resource for schools

  • a provider of new opportunities through our extensive community and outreach programme

  • an organisation where volunteers can gain experience to help them find jobs or simply enjoy being part of our team which makes all of this possible

  • an excuse to enjoy a cup or tea or a sausage sandwich looking at the park, or have a rest while walking the dog!




Thank you to Myanah Saunders

Forest Gate Community Garden is a constantly evolving living environment, it is cared for and supported in an Organic way with biodiversity at the core of every part of its growth and development. 

Rich in species and in habitats the garden offers structure and solace to many lifeforms as the seasons and the climates we live in change ever faster  around us.”




Thank you to the Trustees of Crystal Palace Park Trust

Update: Following the hugely successful #BackTheBowl crowdfunding campaign, which raised over £65,000 thanks to individual pledges of more than 1,000 people and the generous support of the Mayor of London, the new stage surface was installed in July 2022. This marks the end of the first phase of our project to revive Crystal Palace Bowl, with the next phase aiming to modernise the backstage area and improve access to the venue.



Thank you to Amarah White


One of Hackney’s best loved traditional parks, Clissold Park was opened in 1889 and has held a Green Flag award since 2006. Green Flags are awarded annually to the best green spaces in the country.

Clissold Park and House were renovated in 2011 as part of an £8.9 million Heritage Lottery Fund restoration project.

Situated in the beautiful Clissold House, Park Life Café is the perfect place to unwind.

Enjoy locally roasted barista crafted Coffee which pairs excellently with tempting cakes and bakes that are made right here in Hackney.

Freshly made ‘to go’ food options are available for a tasty bite to eat on the move, as well as signature hot dishes from the kitchen. With a wide range of options available to suit all tastes and dietary requirements, there’s something for everyone.




Thank you to Janice Hunte from Vision and the wonderful team at Valentine Park's Gardeners Cottage Cafe.

Valentines Park is our premiere award winning park. It has been given a Green Flag Award and has been voted top 10 in the country in the People's Choice Award on 5 occasions.

The park was originally the parkland to Valentines Mansion and Gardens.

Valentines Mansion was built in around 1696 - the Council acquired the house in 1912. Since then, the mansion has been home to wartime refugees, a hospital, a public health centre, and a council housing department.

After standing empty for 15 years, Valentines was restored in 2009 with Redbridge council and Heritage Lottery funds, and strong community support to create the historic but contemporary venue it is today.

Gardener's Cottage Cafe

Nestled in the Kitchen Garden you’ll find the Gardener’s Cottage Cafe. Open everyday, the cafe has ample indoor and outdoor seating, Choose from a variety of hot and cold drinks, snacks, cakes, soups, sandwiches and other lunch options.

The Old Bowling Green in SPRINGFIELD PARK


Thank you to Amarah White from Hackney Council.


Springfield Park officially opened as a public park in 1905 and takes its name from its unique geology. The park was formed from the grounds of three private houses, of which only Springfield House (The White House) remains.

The park is 14.73 hectares in size, with formal gardens and conservation areas and has extensive views across Walthamstow Marshes.

The park holds a Green Flag award. Green Flags are given to the best green spaces in the country and are awarded each year to make sure the quality of the green space remains high.




Thank you to Helen Crockford from Leytonstone Toy Library.


Our mission is to provide a safe and stimulating space for families with under 5s to play, learn and interact and loan toys which don't cost the Earth. We are woking in partnership with the local community to run the Friends of Langthorne Park.

We have been hugely lucky to have our fair share of fairies, who have made this project possible.

Our Partners




This project has been funded by Community Ward Funding from Higham Hill.


Special thanks to Cllr's Karen Bellamy. Thanks to Simon Miller, Paul Douglas, Grace Williams & Stella Creasey for sharing the project.


They have been on board from the very early stages of this project and their continuing support and guidance has been invaluable.




This project has been funded by Arts Council England.


Their fund supports thousands of artists and creative projects per year. Let’s Create, our strategy for the next ten years, describes their vision that, by 2030, England will be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. 



Many thanks to Monica Thomas at Newham Council for supporting the project with space in kind, marketing and community outreach.

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Many thanks to Applecart Arts who have offered space in kind, marketing and community engagement outreach.

A huge thank you to Stow Brothers for generously covering our print. They have supported the project and have been sharing and spreading the word!


Established in 2014 in the heart of one of London’s most diverse and energetic areas,t they are estate agents with a real desire to redress the balance and do things differently.

A huge thank you to the John Armitage Charitable Trust for supporting the project and our 

Community Engagement Programme.



Many thanks to Toni from Humphry's Cafe who is kindly providing storage space.


Food & refreshments will be available during the show and all of it is delicious!



Joy at KukooLala Cafe has been a huge supporter of the project when we first shared our idea in 2020!


Kukoolala is kindly donating rehearsal & storage space.


Food & refreshments will be available during the show and all of it is delicious!



Lillian Gerber at Higham Hill Hub was one of the first people to hear about our idea for the festival and has been an invaluable support since then. They are kindly donating performance, storage and rehearsal space.


The outdoor space at Higham Hill Hub is truly magical; and hosts a huge array of projects for the community, including fantastic charitable work with PinPoint Inc & COG.



An enormous thank you to Max and Ruth Peters at CentrE17, which has been our main home for rehearsals.

If you enjoy our show, be sure to check out CentrE17's amazing programme of theatre, which spans from new writing, Children's Theatre and plenty of opportunites to get involved.



Many thanks to Max and the Hoxton Trust who is kindly providing storage space.


Food & refreshments will be available during the show and all of it is delicious!

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Many thanks to the team at Crystal Palace

Park for supporting outreach.

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Huge thanks to Kristen Thomas, Carol Moloney & Dannie Hodson-Michael for their ongoing support with logstics and outreach.


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An enormous thank you to Helen Crockford & the amazing Leytonstone Toy Library for supporting ELSF's performances in Langthorne Park.

Many thanks to John Walker at Crate for sharing opportunities with their network.

Introducing an exciting business community for creatives, retailers, food outlets and service businesses in the heart of Waltham Forest, E17. CRATE also offers all businesses accross the UK business support with the CRATE BOOST platform:


ELSF partnered with BCE to share opportunities for students to get involved. We have had a blast working with these talented young people, who have conducted cast interviews, photographed rehearsals and helped with social media & ushering.

Huge thanks to Graham Goddard for organising.




This project received support from Swire Chartiable Trust.


The Swire Charitable Trust is an independent UK grant making trust. Since 1975 we have been supporting charities that share our commitment to delivering positive and lasting change to UK society. We receive our funding from John Swire & Sons Ltd, the parent company of the Swire Group.

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UpFront Theatre Company is kindly lending us their tour vehicle for the run. They have also provided assistance in writing the schools workshop.

UpFront Theatre Company is an educational theatre company providing interactive PSHE workshops for KS2-5.

London Theatre1 have kindly

shared the project




Many thanks to Hackney Council, who have been sharing the project and engagement opportunities. As well as all their help securing some beautiful performance venues.




Many thanks to Vision who have been sharing the project and engagement opportunities. As well as all their help securing some beautiful performance venues.

Many thanks to our trustees, Dani Moseley, Anna Jordan, Lizzy Renihan & Catherine Forresters.

And thanks to Lizzy Renihan at Natural Voices, Sammy at RAW Academy, UpFront Theatre Company, Act Out Performing Arts, ELSF Young Company, Mary Dunne Theatre School for spreading the word about the project and sharing our opportunities to get involved.

Many thanks to Nick & Alison Wareham for lending us a trailer.


Special thanks to Joe & Emma Ward, Jack Bence & Rob Dent, Chrissy Bence for their ongoing support, spreading the word & assistance with transport and kit. 

© East London Shakespeare Company Ltd, Registered in England, Company No 064-961760

East London based theatre company

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