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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

Welcome to our round-up of open-air theatre events and venues in town. 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 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, and be sure to check back here as soon as the weather improves for all the best open-air theatre in London. 

This month

Twelfth Night

Here it is, then. Barely a year after she directed her first Shakespeare play for the Globe, this 'Twelfth Night' marks current theatre boss Emma Rice's last Shakespeare in the main theatre, and probably - pending on her final, indoor season - her last one at the Globe generally (and perhaps ever)…

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Until Saturday August 5 2017
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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

A Tale Of Two Cities

As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, Dickens' Victorian novel about social inequality feels as timely as ever. Or at least, that's what Regents Park Open Air Theatre are banking on with Matthew Dunster's contemporary adaptation.

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre , Regent's Park Friday July 7 2017 - Saturday August 5 2017

Oliver Twist

'Please sir, can I have some more?' Workhouse orphan Oliver is best known for the 1960 musical of the same name. But Royal Court playwright Anya Reiss' family-friendly adaptation of 'Oliver Twist' should bring his story to a whole new audience…

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre , Regent's Park Monday July 17 2017 - Saturday August 5 2017
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Shakespeare's Globe

Twelfth Night

Here it is, then. Barely a year after she directed her first Shakespeare play for the Globe, this 'Twelfth Night' marks current theatre boss Emma Rice's last Shakespeare in the main theatre, and probably - pending on her final, indoor season - her last one at the Globe generally (and perhaps ever)…

Read more
Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Until Saturday August 5 2017

Tristan & Yseult

A Cornish King marries his enemy's sister in 'Tristan & Yseult', a reimagining of the classic medieval romance that's seen through the eyes of a cuckolded husband…

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Tuesday June 13 2017 - Saturday June 24 2017
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Much Ado About Nothing

After his explosive gangland reimagining of 'Cymbeline', last year's 'Imogen', Matthew Dunster is reimagining well-loved comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing'. It's a play that's famous for its pair of warring lovers, Beatrice and Benedick. Dunster's amped up the tension by relocating their sparring to 1910 Mexico, a country locked in revolution.

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday October 15 2017

King Lear

As artistic director of Shared Experience, Nancy Meckler is known for using physical theatre to imagine characters' inner lives. Shakespeare's tragedy 'King Lear', her debut Globe show, will throw up plenty of psychological complexities to work with. 

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Thursday August 10 2017 - Saturday October 14 2017

Boudica

The Globe is taking a break from all that Shakespeare with this fearsome new play by Tristan Bernays. As the name suggests, it's a look at the Celtic warrior queen who fought the Romans for the throne they denied her.  

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Friday September 8 2017 - Sunday October 1 2017
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Other open-air shows in London

Shakespeare in the Garden: Twelfth Night

Touring company Three Inch Fools are performing Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' in the atmospheric surrounds of an East London churchyard - the final resting place of two of Shakespeare's partners at the Globe Theatre. The audience sit on blankets to watch this stripped down version of this twin-filled comedy, performed by five actors.

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St Mary Aldermanbury's Garden , Moorgate Thursday June 1 2017

A View from the Bridge

Greenwich and Docklands Fest makes a rare move into staging 'proper drama' with this updated version of Arthur Miller's classic play. His story of Brooklyn dockworkers will be given new relevance in a staging that puts it slap bang in the middle of Greenwich's riverscape

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Meridian Quays , Greenwich Peninsula Thursday June 22 2017 - Sunday June 25 2017

FierS à Cheval

A calvalcade of glowing white horses will parade through the streets in 'FierS à Cheval', part of Greenwich and Docklands Festival's annual influx of lavish outdoor spectacle. These giant puppet-costume hybrids are the handiwork of French outdoor theatre specialists Compagnie des Quidams, who make dreamlike, playful night-time shows.

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Cutty Sark Gardens , Greenwich Friday June 23 2017
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Macbeth

Iris Theatre celebrate a decade in action with Shakespeare's violent tragedy 'Macbeth'. It'll bring blood, guts and Hieronymous Bosch inspired design to the pansy-lined gardens of Covent Garden's St Paul's Church. Daniel Winder directs David Hywel Barnes in the title role, after his turn as fellow historical villain Richard III three years back.

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St Paul's Church, Covent Garden , Covent Garden Wednesday June 21 2017 - Saturday July 29 2017

River Stage

Head to South Bank for free weekends of live music, dance, performance, workshops and family fun, courtesy of the good guys at the NT. Their outdoor River Stage will use the space outside the theatre to host takeovers from live performance luminaries including WOMAD, Rambert, and East London cabaret bar The Glory. 

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National Theatre , South Bank Friday July 28 2017 - Sunday August 27 2017

Sense of Unity

Take the whole family outdoors for this magical free show. Giant light-up puppets from Germany will tell a story of togetherness and friendship with a storming drum soundtrack from Worldbeaters. Accompanied by their West African-inspired rhythms, Dundu's 'Sense of Unity' takes the form of a procession down Bow's Roman Road. 

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Roman Road , Bow Saturday July 1 2017
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Extravaganza Macabre

As a sprawling former Victorian town hall, Battersea Arts Centre isn’t short of space, so its decision to turn a previously unloved courtyard into a brand new outdoor performance space is a surprising one. But it makes perfect sense once you see what playful theatre scamps Little Bulb can do with it. They make its brick walls reverberate with supernatural horrors in a melodrama that harks back to the theatre’s Victorian heyday. 

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Battersea Arts Centre , Battersea Tuesday July 4 2017 - Saturday July 29 2017

Tales from the Arabian Nights

Flying carpets, magic lamps, beautiful maidens and adventuring sailors: the stories of the Arabian Nights have captured kids' imaginations for centures before Disney's 'Aladdin'. This outdoor promenade show from London Bubble will tell some of Scheherazade's best stories in two South London parks, Greenwich Park and Southwark Park. 'Tales from the Arabian Nights' is the handiwork of playwright Farhana Sheikh, who first created it for community-focused company London Bubble. This revival, directed by Jonathan Petherbridge, with designs by Yasuko Hasegawa, is a welcoming show for all ages - and you can even bring the family mutt along

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Southwark Park , Rotherhithe Tuesday August 1 2017 - Saturday August 19 2017

Hansel & Gretel

The biggest draw of this family show might just be the life-size edible gingerbread house Iris Theatre are promising to build (although how edible it'll be after a month exposed to the British weather is anyone's guess). But their 'Hansel & Gretel' promises all manner of magical beasts and forest adventures around the gardens of St Paul's Church. Amy Draper directs this fairytale adventure for kids.

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St Paul's Church, Covent Garden , Covent Garden Thursday August 3 2017 - Sunday September 3 2017
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Comments

2 comments
sijege s
sijege s

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Sophie
Sophie

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