The Folger Shakespeare Library

“I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.”

—Beatrice, after jauntily rejecting Don Pedro’s offer of marriage.

Act 2, Scene 1, lines 322-23. 

Read the full play.

From the Collection

Image of Ellen Terry as Beatrice

Ellen Terry starred as Beatrice in an 1882 production of Much Ado About Nothing alongside Henry Irving.

ART Box T315 no.1  (size S)

Read about the portrait on the Shakespeare and Beyond blog.

Hear about Terry’s career on the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast.

Watercolor of Act 5, scene 5 of Much Ado 

Alenxandre Bida’s late-19th century watercolor shows Claudio, Don Pedro, and others at the supposed tomb of Hero, who is revealed, alive, at the end of the play.

ART Box B584 no.11

Watch Roxi Victorian (Hero) and Alexis Camins (Claudio), who starred in a 2009 Folger Theatre production of Much Ado, discuss their characters’ love story.

Photograph of Julia Marlowe and E.H. Sothern as Beatrice and Benedick

Long-time acting partners and eventual husband-and-wife team Julia Marlowe and E.H. Sothern star in this 1904 production of Much Ado

ART File S717.5 no.22 PHOTO

Image of David Garrick as Benedick

This image is a late 19th or 20th-century reproduction of an 18th-century engraving of David Garrick as Benedick.

ART File G241 no.46

Read about David Garrick’s carreer on Folgerpedia.

Playbill for 18th-century performance of Much Ado

This playbill advertises a 1787 production of Much Ado, claiming that it is the first performance of the play in America. 

BILL Box U4 J66 1787

Read about the performance on Folgerpedia.

We will continue adding more to this page over time. Stay tuned! 


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