Ah, what a feeling! Is that rush the kiss of warm, spring air, the power of the theatre or both?
London is well kitted-out with open-air theatre options thanks to the summer seasons at Regents Park Open Air Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe, naturally. Other unique, niche outdoor productions will also crop up all over the city.
Breath in These Open Air Theatre Shows in London
Regents Park Open Air Theatre
Established in 1932, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is set in the heart of the park and is one of the largest theatres in London. Its 18-week season is celebrated for bold, dynamic productions and the theatre is the only one in London to boast its own picnic lawn, barbecue and the West End’s longest bar. Covered dining tables on a fairy-lit terrace, picnic and luxury hampers, as well as The Grill and Summer Café are popular dining options during the season. Inner Cir, London NW1 4NU
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (by arrangement with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity), directed by Timothy Sheader & Liam Steel. 17 May – 15 June, tickets bookable at Open Air Theatre.
The Turn of The Screw after the story by Henry James, music by Benjamin Britten, libretto by Myfanwy Piper, directed by Timothy Sheader. 22-30 June, tickets bookable at Open Air Theatre.
As You Like It by William Shakespeare, directed by Max Webster, with new music by Charlie Fink (former frontman of Noah and the Whale). 6-28 July, tickets bookable at Open Air Theatre.
Little Shop of Horrors, based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, directed by Maria Aberg. 3 August – 15 September, tickets bookable at Open Air Theatre.
Dinosaur World Live created by Derek Bond and Max Humphries. For ages 3+/daytime performances. 14 August – 9 September, tickets bookable at Open Air Theatre.
This iconic theatre celebrates Shakespeare’s transformative impact on the world by paying tribute to original features of Shakespearian performance. Inspired and informed by the historic playing conditions of two theatres, Shakespeare’s Globe harnesses the power of performance, cultivates intellectual curiosity and excites learning to make Shakespeare accessible for all. 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London, SE1 9DT
Hamlet by William Shakespeare, directed by Elle While. 25 April – 26 August. Tickets bookable at Shakespeare’s Globe.
‘As Shakespeare’s Globe comes of age and reaches its twenty-first year, it seemed appropriate to start the 2018 summer season with the question ‘Who’s there?’ The opening words of Hamlet will be the first of many questions asked to our audiences and ourselves as we look to the future and the next twenty years of Globe seasons. Playing alongside Hamlet will be As You Like It. Both written around 1599, the year the original Globe was built, these plays speak to each other in surprising and exciting ways.’ – Michelle Terry on her first season as Artistic Director
As You Like It by William Shakespeare, directed by Elle While and Federay Holmes. 2 May – 26 August. Tickets bookable at Shakespeare’s Globe.
More Open Air Shows
Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival This annual festival is in its 43rd year, and for 2018, will bring together Punch and Judy puppets from around the country for a celebration of the classic form of (comedically violent) puppetry. A procession at 11am will celebrate the first show diarist Samuel Pepys saw in Covent Garden 356 years ago on the day. The festival will also have in store a special church service at noon, puppet shows, workshops, folk music, maypole dancing, clowns and refreshments provided by the Food Chain who are raising funds for Londoners living with HIV. Free admission. 13 May.
The End of History High Hearted Theatre in association with Soho Theatre presents a specially created, site-specific new show at St Giles-in-the-Fields. This part of London, synonymous with Hogarth’s slums, now sits in the centre of a massive redevelopment project including Crossrail, Central St Giles Piazza and Centrepoint. The End of History draws on its historical past and its precarious present to create a panoramic portrait of a divided city. Paul is a gay party boy working in property and Wendy works in the charity sector. They belong to two different Londons, but feel alone in the same city. 5-23 June. Tickets bookable at Soho Theatre.
West End Live The line-up is yet to be announced, but impending bright and sunny weather means Trafalgar Square will be hosting its annual free taster of big and bright musicals. See casts perform numbers from long running favourites and new shows. 16-17 June.
Shakespeare in the Squares This not-for-profit touring theatre company stages Shakespeare plays in London garden squares for one night in each venue every summer. As You Like It will be this year’s production tailored to the individual garden squares. Garden committees and other local organisations will help create unique community celebrations around the play. 20 June – 12 July. Tickets bookable at Shakespeare in the Square.
‘The Actor’s Church’ Or so St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden is affectionately called. The Tempest, directed by Daniel Winder, will open the summer season on the church’s grounds (20 June- 28 July) and The Three Musketeers, directed by Paul-Ryan Carberry in an adaptation by Daniel Winder, will follow(2 August – 2 September).