Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

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

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Longing for some real-life culture after months of looking at screens? Fear not: live theatre is back thanks to new guidelines allowing socially distanced performances. Here we bring you all the latest on the plays, musicals and operas to book now.

Best Plays & Musicals To Book Now

The Mirror and the Light, Gielgud Theatre

Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell

The final book of Dame Hilary Mantel’s trilogy about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell has been adapted for the stage. Opening for a limited season this autumn, The Mirror and the Light follows wildly successful productions of its predecessors, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which scooped up Olivier and Tony awards and sold out their runs back in 2014. Ben Miles returns as Cromwell, joined by Nathan Parker who will resume his role as Henry VIIII. 23 September – 28 November 2021,

Giffords Circus

Giffords Circus

Escape into a world of fairies, leprechauns and wild horses at Giffords Circus, which is touring the UK with its 2021 show The Hooley, complete with a new travelling bar. Various dates from 19 May – 13 September 2021,

Theatre Windsor Royal

Ian McKellen

Sean Gleason

The iconic Ian McKellen will be starring in two plays at Theatre Windsor Royal, which reopens this summer with a reimagined production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This will be followed by Martin Sherman’s adaptation of Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard, with Francesca Annis playing Ranevskaya, who returns to the family estate to find her cherry orchard is up for auction. 21 June – 4 September, and 10 September – 23 October 2021,

Wyndham’s Theatre

Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre

Tom Stoppard’s Olivier award-winning Leopoldstadt received its world premiere in January 2020, but then lockdown happened, meaning the play couldn’t finish its planned 20-week run. It’s back this August though, running for 12 weeks at Wyndham’s Theatre. Leopoldstadt tells the story of a Jewish family in Vienna across six decades – described by Stoppard as his most personal play. 7 August – 30 October 2021,

Bridge Theatre

Bach & Sons, Bridge Theatre

Booking is now open for the world premiere of Nina Raine’s Bach & Sons, directed by Nicholas Hytner and showing at the Bridge Theatre. The play tells the story of turbulent musician Johann Sebastian Bach, delving into his family dramas and exploring themes of love, God and music. 23 June – 9 September 2021,

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Craig Sugden

Hailing the return of outdoor performances is Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, which has just confirmed its 2021 season. This will kick off with extended runs of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Kimberley Sykes, followed by Carousel by Timothy Sheader. The theatre will also be hosting a number of outdoor events such as comedy gigs and a 20th anniversary screening of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! by The Luna Cinema alongside The Shining.

Chichester Festival Theatre

Chichester Festival Theatre

The summer musical for Chichester Festival Theatre has been announced as much-loved award-winning musical Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific. The production first opened in 1949, and has since become one of Broadway’s longest running hit shows. Set on a South Pacific island during World War 11, the musical is based on James Michener’s collection of short stories, Tales of the South Pacific. It tells the story of Nellie Forbush, a navy nurse from Arkansas, who finds herself falling for the mysterious French plantation owner, Emile de Becque. Chichester Festival Theatre’s new production is directed by Daniel Evans, with a cast featuring Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden, Emile de Becque and Joanna Ampil. 5 July – 4 September 2021,

Kiln Theatre

Kiln Theatre

Philip Vile

Opening for the first time since the first lockdown in March 2020, Kiln Theatre is back with a stellar season of new work. This includes three world premières: Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me by Amy Trigg, NW Trilogy by Moira Buffini, Suhayla El-Bushra and Roy Williams, and The Wife of Willesden, adapted by Zadie Smith from Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath. A major revival of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s The Invisible Hand is also on the cards.

National Theatre

National Theatre

The National Theatre returns with After Life, a new play based on the film by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Written by Jack Thorne, the production is a surreal look at the way we live our lives, asking the audience: who would you choose to live with for eternity? Later in the month, the recently transformed Olivier theatre will welcome visitors again to see Under Milk Wood, a play by Dylan Thomas featuring additional material by Siân Owen. Both productions will run until 24 July, with social distancing in place. After Life, 2 June – 24 July,  Under Milk Wood, 16 June – 24 July,

Hampstead Theatre

Hampstead Theatre The Death of a Black Man

Hampstead Downstairs recently reopened with the world premiere of Raya, a new play from Deborah Bruce which questions whether it is possible to turn back time, even if it’s just for one night. Other performances coming to the theatre this year include Tennessee Williams’ The Two Character Play and Big Big Sky, Tom Wells’ new play which explores nature’s influence on love, friendship and family. The Two Character Play, 17 July – 28 August 2021; Big Big Sky, 30 July – 11 September 2021; Raya, 11 June – 24 July 2021.

Shakespeare’s Globe

The Globe Theatre

Getty Images

For the first time, audiences at Shakespeare’s Globe will be invited to sit rather than stand in its famous yard, as part of a new socially distanced format for plays. The theatre will reopen with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, followed by productions of Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night. Other measures will include staggered arrival times, pre-ordered drinks and allocated entrances.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Matt Crockett

A trip to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will certainly boost spirits. The award-winning feel-good musical is back at the West End, starring Noah Thomas as Jamie New.

Main Image: Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre


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