Open-air theatre in London

Dig out the kagoul; London's open-air theatre is worth risking the rain for

David Jensen
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Read our round-up of open-air theatre events for the summer ahead. You'll find London's best outdoor productions at venues as world-famous as Shakespeare's Globe, in parks as pretty as Regent's Park or at festivals as vibrant as More London Free Festival. Not sure what you'll need for an open-air theatre trip? Then don't miss our guide to all the practical open-air theatre info you could need.

This month's open-air theatre shows

As You Like It

There’s plenty to like and a few things not to in this respectful reading of Shakespeare’s pastoral romcom.

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Shakespeare's Globe Wednesday July 8 2015 - Saturday September 5 2015

Heartbreak Hotel

If you go down to the Jetty today you’ll find fortune tellers, magicians and the Heartbreak Hotel reception desk...

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The Jetty Until Sunday August 30 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Head over to The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park this summer and you will find a bubble of the Bard's best-loved characters. Amid the ornamental garden Watch Your Head stage and immersive retelling of Shakespeare's classic fairy play. All in the outdoor, but if it rains, there will be a covered version performed at The Savill Building. Ages 12-plus.

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Windsor Great Park Until Sunday July 19 2015

Pinocchio

The tale of the little wooden boy and his ever-growing nose is told by Iris theatre in their annual promenade summer season at St Paul's Church - or the Actor's Church - in Covent Garden. Daniel Winder directs the show, following his 'Alice in Wonderland' last year, which takes place in the church and in the church's gardens. Carlo Collodi's 'Pinocchio' is here staged in a new version commissioned by the company, from Winder and Candida Calidcott and features fairies, puppets, carnivals and talking animals.  

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The Actors' Church Monday July 6 2015 - Saturday August 29 2015

Measure for Measure

Exiting artistic director Dominic Dromgoole directs Shakespeare's Vienna-set play, which fits neatly into his final season's theme of 'Justice and Mercy'

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Shakespeare's Globe Until Saturday October 17 2015

Richard II

Shakespeare's misguided monarch King Richard II returns to London in 2015 as part of Dominic Dromgoole's final season at Shakespeare's Globe

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Shakespeare's Globe Saturday July 11 2015 - Sunday October 18 2015

The Seagull

Critics' choice

This electric, blackly funny adaptation of ‘The Seagull’ brings out both the venom and the anguish of hopeless longing in Chekhov’s 1895 original. Torben Betts’ often terse, expletive-filled update will probably have Chekhov purists pining for their samovars, yet while certain subtleties are cast aside, this is an intelligently provocative production, which at moments even seems to point towards the Russian Revolution.

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Monday July 6 2015 - Saturday July 11 2015

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

The team behind the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's 2013 hit show 'The Sound of Music' reunite for the summer of 2015

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Thursday July 16 2015 - Saturday August 29 2015

Twelfth Night

Old reliable Principal Theatre return this year with their open-air Shakespeare production, this time the Bard's mistaken identity romp 'Twelfth Night'. Fringe theatre company Principal's track record is pretty high and anyone looking for some fun en plein air with Mr Will Shakespeare will likely find it here. The show runs at Forty Hall in Enfield, before transferring to Coram's Fields.

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Forty Hall Thursday July 9 2015 - Saturday August 8 2015
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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

The Seagull

Critics' choice

This electric, blackly funny adaptation of ‘The Seagull’ brings out both the venom and the anguish of hopeless longing in Chekhov’s 1895 original. Torben Betts’ often terse, expletive-filled update will probably have Chekhov purists pining for their samovars, yet while certain subtleties are cast aside, this is an intelligently provocative production, which at moments even seems to point towards the Russian Revolution.

Read more
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Monday July 6 2015 - Saturday July 11 2015

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

The team behind the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's 2013 hit show 'The Sound of Music' reunite for the summer of 2015 on this new production of the golden oldie musical 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers'. Rachel Kavanaugh returns to direct the show, which follows a man looking for a wife to help him run his household of seven brothers in Oregan, USA, in the 1850s. Some classic tunes are featured including 'Bless Your Beautiful Hide', 'Going Courtin' and 'Barn Dance'.  Tickets go on sale Dec 6.  

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Thursday July 16 2015 - Saturday August 29 2015

Lord of the Flies

Open Air Theatre revive their production of William Golding's classic, if a bit horrifying 1954 novel about human behaviour 'The Lord of the Flies'. It's one of those texts that get studied at school, but its startling plot is likely to resonate with pretty much everyone. Marooned on a tropical island, a load of schoolboys begins to run riot when left without authority. Timothy Sheader's production was a secure hit last time it was staged at the Open Air theatre in 2011 and is adapted for the stage by Nigel Williamson.  

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Thursday September 3 2015 - Saturday September 12 2015
See more on open-air theatre in London

Shakespeare's Globe

As You Like It

There’s plenty to like and a few things not to in this respectful reading of Shakespeare’s pastoral romcom, to which perennial rising star director Blanche McIntyre brings lots of neat little ideas but not much overarching vision.

Read more
Shakespeare's Globe Wednesday July 8 2015 - Saturday September 5 2015

Measure for Measure

Exiting artistic director Dominic Dromgoole directs Shakespeare's Vienna-set play, which fits neatly into his final season's theme of 'Justice and Mercy'. When the city's duke goes on a diplomatic mission, he leaves the reins in the hands of judge Angelo, who then struggles to keep control of Vienna's bawdy brothels and loose morals. When a good nun pleads Angelo to help her brother, it stirs some lusty urges.

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Shakespeare's Globe Until Saturday October 17 2015

Richard II

Shakespeare's misguided monarch King Richard II returns to London in 2015 as part of Dominic Dromgoole's final season heading up Shakespeare's Globe. Simon Godwin directs 'Richard II, which follows the downfall of the fickle king in the final two years of his life as Henry Bolingbroke forces him off the throne.

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Shakespeare's Globe Saturday July 11 2015 - Sunday October 18 2015

The Heresy of Love

Shakespeare's Globe's more modern offerings begin in 2015 with 'The Heresy of Love', a piece by Helen Edmundson about the 17th century Mexican nun and playwright Juana Ines de la Cruz. First staged in 2012 at the RSC, the piece is revived as part of Dominic Dromgoole's final season at the Globe.

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Shakespeare's Globe Friday July 31 2015 - Saturday September 5 2015

Nell Gwynn

The final show in Shakespeare's Globe's 2015 season is this new piece from Jessica Swale, which follows her 'Blue Stockings' and 'Thomas Tallis' at the Globe in 2013 and 2014. This is, of course, a play about theatrical charmer and mistress of Charles II, Nell Gwynn. The life of the Restoration actress, from her time as an orange seller to starring onstage and her life as the King's escort, helps to tell the tale of theatre in the 17th century.

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Shakespeare's Globe Saturday September 19 2015 - Saturday October 17 2015
See more on open-air theatre in London

Other Open-Air Theatre Shows

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Head over to The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park this summer and you will find a bubble of the Bard's best-loved characters. Amid the ornamental garden Watch Your Head stage and immersive retelling of Shakespeare's classic fairy play. All in the outdoor, but if it rains, there will be a covered version performed at The Savill Building. Ages 12-plus.

Read more
Windsor Great Park Until Sunday July 19 2015

Pinocchio

The tale of the little wooden boy and his ever-growing nose is told by Iris theatre in their annual promenade summer season at St Paul's Church - or the Actor's Church - in Covent Garden. Daniel Winder directs the show, following his 'Alice in Wonderland' last year, which takes place in the church and in the church's gardens. Carlo Collodi's 'Pinocchio' is here staged in a new version commissioned by the company, from Winder and Candida Calidcott and features fairies, puppets, carnivals and talking animals.

Read more
The Actors' Church Monday July 6 2015 - Saturday August 29 2015

Twelfth Night

Iris theatre company return to Covent Garden's St Paul's Church (or the Actor's Church) for their yearly summer season with a promenade production of Shakespeare's bawdy comedy 'Twelfth Night'. Vik Sivalingham directs the piece, which is set in the kingdom of Illyria where twins get separately shipwrecked and cause a ruckus with cases of mistaken identity. The beautiful gardens of the church are usually a truly lovely space for outdoor theatre.

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The Actors' Church Monday July 6 2015 - Friday July 24 2015

Captain Showoff!

At this year's annual theatre stint down at the Scoop theatre for the More London Free Festival, Phil Willmott and his company Gods and Monsters goes ancient Roman and Greek. Following his successful foray into opera with the Ring Cycle for kids last year, 'Captain Showoff!' is an adaptation of the Roman comedies of Plautus. Theo Holloway provides original music and if it's anything like last year's shows, it should be epic, well adapted and very atmospheric. 'Captain Showoff!' is a family show set in a Roman town that's anticipating the return from war of soldier Milos Colossus. Following it is the staging of 'Hecuba and the Trojan Women' from 8pm. Don't forget to bring layers, and picnics are very much encouraged.

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The Scoop Wednesday August 5 2015 - Sunday August 30 2015 Free

Summer Shorts

Yet another load of plays staged in a market pops up over the summer with 'Summer Shorts', organised by Robin Linde Productions. From June 10th every Wednesday - Saturday between 11am and 5pm a 1960s caravan will rock up in Borough Market's Market Hall where you can watch short plays along with ten other punters. There's a piece about adjusting to life post divorce, an interactive show exploring life and death and a comedy about whether it's wrong to laugh at the misfortune of others.   

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Borough Market Wednesday July 8 2015 - Saturday July 18 2015

Women of Troy

At this year's annual theatre stint down at the Scoop theatre for the More London Free Festival, Phil Willmott and his company Gods and Monsters go  ancient Roman and Greek. Following the company's successful foray into opera with the Ring Cycle for kids last year, 'Hecuba and the Trojan Women' is an adaptation of the Greek tragedies of Euripides by Lisa Kuma. The play tells the take of Queen Hecuba and her daughters who face defeat, slavery and the fall of Troy. It follows adaptation of Plautus's Roman tragedies 'Captain Showoff!' from 8pm  and if it's anything like last year's shows, it should be epic, well adapted and very atmospheric. Don't forget to bring layers, and picnics are very much encouraged.

Read more
The Scoop Wednesday August 5 2015 - Sunday August 30 2015 Free

Comments

1 comments
Sophie
Sophie

Would have paid double to see this. Was terrific. Love site specific open air theatre. Standing ovations from the whole audience!