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Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare's Globe 2019
© Tristram Kenton Michelle Terry (Hotspur)

Open-air theatre in London

The best open-air and outdoor theatre shows in London this summer

By Time Out London Theatre

The sun many or may not be out this summer, but London's iconic outdoor stages will be open come rain or shine once the season begins. The outdoor season kicks off in April at Shakespeare's Globe, followed by the gorgeous Regent's Park Opens Air Theatre, which begins its season in May. Plus there are sundry other vibrant events, including the annual street theatre blowourt of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival. Not sure what you'll need for an open-air theatre trip? Then don't miss our guide to practical open-air theatre info

Please note: many of these productions are likely to be rescheduled owing to the current situation. Please check with the venues for up-to-date information.

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Romeo & Juliet

Theatre Shakespeare Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank

‘Romeo & Juliet’ is clearly going to be the Shakespeare play of 2020, with big productions lined up at the National Theatre and Open Air Theatre. Before that, though, the Globe kicks off its outdoor season with rising star director Ola Ince making her Shakespearean debut with the immortal romantic tragedy, and similarly upwards-bound actor Alfred Enoch in the role of Romeo. 

Twelfth Night

Theatre Shakespeare Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank

A summer season of Shakespearean crowdpleasers continues at the Globe, with associate director Sean Holmes helming the beloved ‘Twelfth Night’. Expect a slightly more twisted than usual take on the melancholic mistaken identity comedy from the artsy Holmes. It’ll be performed by a version of the Globe Ensemble, who Holmes directed in his excellent recent Sam Wanamaker debut ‘Henry VI’ and ‘Richard III’.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, 2020
© David Jensen

101 Dalmations

Theatre Musicals Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park

The ‘big summer musical’ is the annual highlight of the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre calendar, one being fulfilled this year with a revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Carousel’. But to open the season, there's also this all-singing adaptation of Dodie Smith’s iconic kids’ novel…

Antony & Cleopatra

Theatre Shakespeare Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank

Globe boss Michelle Terry makes her usual seasonal acting performance in what’s being billed as a ‘radical reimagining’ of Shakespeare’s great romantic history, ‘Antony & Cleopatra’…


Much Ado About Nothing

Theatre Shakespeare Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank

The Globe’s 2020 outdoor season continues apace with another crowdpleaser: archetypal romcom ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. As of season announcement, we don’t know much about this production, including who will play iconic couple Beatrice and Benedick. But it will be directed by Eleanor Rhode, who recently helmed a well-received ‘King John’ for the RSC…

Romeo and Juliet

Theatre Shakespeare Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park

Director Kimberley Sykes has made some waves at the RSC in the last couple of years, and now she helms up the Open Air Theatre’s (almost) annual Shakespeare play in the shape of his timeless romantic tragedy ‘Romeo and Juliet’. 



Theatre Musicals Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s greatest musical is good enough to be revived almost constantly and dated enough to usually feel a bit uncomfortable. But might the Open Air Theatre’s flamboyant artistic director Timothy Sheader be the man to drag it into the twenty-first century? 

Dragons and Mythical Beasts

Theatre Children's Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park

The team behind the Open Air Theatre’s enjoyable puppet-based family show ‘Dinosaur Zoo Live’ move onto more mystical territory with this new family show, which explores creatures from myth and legend.


Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Theatre Drama Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank

A trio of writers – Sami Ibrahim, Laura Lomas and Sabrina Mahfouz – have created a new stage version of Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. The production will be directed by Sean Holmes and Holly Race Roughan, and performed by the same Globe Ensemble Holmes is directing in ‘Twelfth Night’.


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