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A Guide To Theatres Reopening: Plays & Musicals To Book Now

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A Guide To Theatres Reopening: Plays & Musicals To Book Now

Culture /

All hail the cultural comeback

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Longing for some real-life culture after months of looking at screens? Fear not: live theatre is slowly returning to the capital thanks to new guidelines allowing socially distanced performances. Here we bring you a guide to theatres reopening, with all the latest on both indoor and outdoor productions – from plays to musicals to operas.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Duke of York’s Theatre

The Ocean at The End of the Lane

One to book ahead, The Ocean at the End of the Lane transfer to the West End in October 2021, following a sold out run at The National Theatre. Based on the best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman, the play follows an unnamed man who returns to his hometown for a funeral and befriends a coven of witches. The West End version has been adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd, with character casting yet to be announced. Tickets on sale 2 October 2020, performances from October 2021,

We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time, Omnibus Theatre

Stephanie Booth, Ominbus Theatre

Omnibus Theatre returns with We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time, a short dark comedy about loo roll, lost love at the bus station and knowing when to end a conversation. Written by Pedro Leandro and directed by Evan Lordan, the play tells the story of two flatmates, played by Stephanie Booth and Hannah Livingstone. ‘I originally wrote this show because I felt disconnected from people and felt unable to breach that disconnect,’ says Leandro. ‘It’s interesting that it’s now being performed at a time when a lot of people physically feel that way.’ Plays held every Friday and Saturday evening from 2 – 31 October 2020,

Riverside Reads, Riverside Studios

Riverside Studios

Jan Urbanski

Hammersmith’s Riverside Studios returns this September with Riverside Reads: a new series which sees stars from TV and the West End premiering scripts. The aim is to find new writers and audiences, giving both the newcomer and the regular theatregoer the opportunity to experience the magic of a first read through. Readings will be performed to small socially distanced audiences, as well as streamed online every first Tuesday of the month at 2pm. The season opens with The Last Broadcast by Carey Crim, followed by Megan van Dusen’s Scattered in October, and The In-Between in November, a fantasy musical by Laura Tisdall. 1 September 2020 – February 2021,

Death of England: Delroy, The National Theatre

National Theatre Delroy

Performances will resume at the Olivier Theatre in late October, kicking off with a new one-person play titled Death of England: Delroy. Co-written during lockdown by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, this follows on from their previous play Death of England. Instead of focusing on the protagonist of the first piece, Michael, the new sequel follows his best friend Delroy, a black working-class man who gets arrested on his way to the hospital – a particularly poignant story in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Tickets available from September, with performances taking place from late October 2020,



Pamela Raith

There’s a new immersive outdoor theatre performance coming to the capital, titled C-o-n-t-a-c-t. Originally created by Samuel Sené and Gabrielle Jourdain, the timely play explores the themes of mental health and anxiety through the eyes of Sarah as she is approached by someone she believes to be a stranger. Viewers will be asked to download an app, through which they’ll listen to an exciting new technological sound experience. 31 August – 22 November 2020,

Talking Heads, The Bridge Theatre

Talking Heads

During lockdown we saw a BBC remake of Alan Bennett’s landmark series of dramatic monologues, Talking Heads – and now the Bridge Theatre is bringing it to the stage. Eight of the actors, including Kristin Scott Thomas, Maxine Peake and Monica Dolan, will reprise their roles in a series of unique double bills. The theatre will have a reduced capacity of 250 seats, with firm safety measures in place and automatic refunds for postponed or cancelled performances. 7 September – 31 October 2020,

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Jesus Christ Superstar

Mark Senior

Spearheading the return of live musical theatre is a new version of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert, which follows the last few weeks of Jesus’ life. The theatre’s capacity has been reduced from 1,200 to 390, and performers too will be spaced out on stage – though you can expect the same energy that has garnered critical acclaim in recent years. 14 August – 27 September 2020,

Doctor Who: Time Fracture

Doctor Who Time Fracture

A brand-new immersive theatrical experience is landing in the capital next February, plunging fans into the universe of Doctor Who. Created by the team behind The Great Gatsby – the UK’s longest running immersive show – Doctor Who: Time Fracture will take place at a former military drill hall dating back to 1890. The subject matter, though, sits in the future: audiences will meet Daleks, Cybermen, Time Lords and many more otherworldly characters as they travel across space and time. Opening spring 2021,

Summer Showtime at Battersea Power Station

Summer Showtime, Battersea Power Station

The iconic Battersea Power Station will stand as the backdrop for Summer Showtime: a month-long series of open-air theatre performances and film screenings. The Turbine Theatre is running the theatrical programme, which includes everything from productions of HAIR directed by Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips to the family-friendly Horrible Histories. 21 August – 20 September.

ENO Drive & Live: La bohème

Celebrate the return of opera by heading to Alexandra Palace for a new 90-minute drive-in version of Puccini’s La bohème. This tragic romance tells the story of struggling writer Rodolfo and his neighbour Mimì, who fall in love at first sight – but their happiness is quickly dashed by the realities of their precarious living situation. A raised stage, large screens and top-quality microphones will ensure you can see and hear Puccini’s beautiful production from the comfort of your car. 19 – 27 September,

The Best Art Exhibitions in London / Outdoor Culture Guide 2020