Aquila Theatre to stage mystery and Shakespeare productions at WCSU

New York company to present ‘Murder on the Nile’ and ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

DANBURY, CONN. Aquila Theatre, a New York-based company dedicated to bringing a diversity of dramatic works to audiences nationwide, will present mystery author Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Nile” and the Shakespearean comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” at Western Connecticut State University to begin the troupe’s 2016-17 national  tour.

The Aquila company initiated a collaboration in 2015 with the university’s Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC) and Department of Theatre Arts to debut its national tour productions to Western. “Murder on the Nile” will be presented in performances at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, at the MainStage Theatre of the VPAC on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. “Much Ado About Nothing” will be presented at the MainStage Theatre in performances at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday Sept. 25, 2016.

Ticket reservation information for the “Murder on the Nile” performances is available online at Tickets for the performances of “Much Ado About Nothing” may be reserved online at

“Murder on the Nile,” Christie’s 1948 stage adaptation of her novel “Death on the Nile,” will be directed by Peter Meineck, who founded Aquila Theatre in 1991 and has served as producer, director or both for more than 50 Aquila productions. The play notes posted on the Aquila website observed that this year’s presentation will bring the company’s “innovative touch to this deliciously dangerous murder mystery, with brilliant direction, superb acting, thrilling physicality and stunning designs.”

The Aquila company’s original touring production of “Much Ado About Nothing” during its 2000-2001 season included a White House performance and an off-Broadway run that earned “Critic’s Choice” honors from Time Out, the Village Voice and the New York Times. The current production will be directed by Desiree Sanchez, Aquila’s artistic director since 2011 and a professional choreographer whose extensive dance career includes her tenure as a principal dancer for 20 years for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York.

Both productions will feature Aquila Theatre actors Lincoln Hudson, Palmyra Mattner and Toby Miller in leading roles. Following their Danbury debuts, this season’s Aquila productions will tour the nation, together reaching communities in 24 states from Maine to California.

VPAC Coordinator Sarah Renninger expressed excitement at the prospect that the Aquila Theatre company will return to Western for a second year to showcase innovative interpretations of classic and contemporary dramatic works while affording an important opportunity for WCSU students to observe and learn from professionals in theatrical performance and production.

“They provide a unique look into the field of theatre that our students could not get any other way,” Renninger observed. “The cast will do another private master class with our students, and these productions offer a wonderful opportunity for the students to get hands-on experience working with seasoned professionals on our stage.”

Renninger noted that the state-of-the-art production facilities available at the VPAC, which opened two years ago, have provided an attractive venue for performance by professional companies like Aquila and energized the local arts scene.

“This collaboration with Aquila is a first step in bringing theatre companies of the highest caliber to our venues, and in giving our community a chance to experience world-class theatre without leaving Danbury,” Renninger said.

Now in its 25th anniversary season, Aquila Theatre was founded in London in 1991 and has been based in New York since 1999. For the past 16 years, Aquila Theatre has been a leading producer of touring classical theatre, visiting approximately 50 to 60 communities in the United States each year to present two major productions.  Established as a nonprofit organization and as the theatrical company in residence at the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University, Aquila conducts an extensive outreach program of theatrical workshops, master classes and other forms of educational enrichment offered at schools and universities in New York City as well as communities where Aquila tours.

For more information, contact Renninger at or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.    



Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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