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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, South Bank Monday August 31 2015 - Saturday September 5 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.

Read more
The Scoop, London Bridge Sunday August 30 2015

River Stage

With the appearance of the Temporary Theatre in front of the National Theatre, the annual free festival of performances 'Watch This Space' got shunted out onto the road. But now the bods at the National have set up a brand new free outdoor offering on the steps of the National at what they're calling the River Stage - located on Riverside Square in front of The Understudy Bar.

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National Theatre, South Bank Sunday August 30 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, Greenwich Peninsula Until Sunday September 27 2015

Measure for Measure

Critics' choice

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, South Bank Tuesday September 8 2015 - Saturday October 17 2015

Richard II

Critics' choice

You can’t quite see Charles Edwards’s excellent Richard II going for a cheeky Nando's, nor do you imagine he’d be much use with the football scores. But compared to recent London Richards – Eddie Redmayme’s ritual-encrusted museum piece, David Tennant’s Ziggy Stardust-esque weirdo – Edwards’s performance as Shakespeare’s doomed monarch is about as close to down to earth as it gets.

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Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank Saturday September 26 2015 - Sunday October 18 2015

The Heresy of Love

In a year that has seen the Church of England finally create its second female bishop - amid much predictable controversy within the church itself – this tale of an inspirational seventeenth-century Mexican nun feels surprisingly modern. We are, perhaps inevitably, most interested in history when it seems to tell our own stories, and the play’s heroine is all the more compelling for waging battles that remain familiar to women both inside and outside the church today. 

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Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank Friday September 4 2015 - Saturday September 5 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 Greek. Following the company's successful foray into opera with the Ring Cycle for kids last year, 'Women of Troy' 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 '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.

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The Scoop, London Bridge Sunday August 30 2015

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

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, Regent's Park 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, South Bank Monday August 31 2015 - Saturday September 5 2015

Measure for Measure

Critics' choice

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, South Bank Tuesday September 8 2015 - Saturday October 17 2015

Richard II

Critics' choice

You can’t quite see Charles Edwards’s excellent Richard II going for a cheeky Nando's, nor do you imagine he’d be much use with the football scores. But compared to recent London Richards – Eddie Redmayme’s ritual-encrusted museum piece, David Tennant’s Ziggy Stardust-esque weirdo – Edwards’s performance as Shakespeare’s doomed monarch is about as close to down to earth as it gets.

Read more
Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank Saturday September 26 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, South Bank Friday September 4 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, South Bank Saturday September 19 2015 - Saturday October 17 2015
See more on open-air theatre in London

Other Open-Air Theatre Shows

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.

Read more
The Scoop, London Bridge Sunday August 30 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, London Bridge Sunday August 30 2015

River Stage

With the appearance of the Temporary Theatre in front of the National Theatre, the annual free festival of performances 'Watch This Space' got shunted out onto the road. But now the bods at the National have set up a brand new free outdoor offering on the steps of the National at what they're calling the River Stage - located on Riverside Square in front of The Understudy Bar.

Read more
National Theatre, South Bank Sunday August 30 2015

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!