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Open-air theatre in London

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

Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare's Globe 2019
© Tristram Kenton Michelle Terry (Hotspur)
By Time Out London Theatre |
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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

This month

Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare's Globe 2019
© Tristram Kenton
Theatre, Shakespeare

Henry IV Part 1, or Hotspur

icon-location-pin Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank
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Michelle Terry leads the return of her Globe Ensemble from the front: the actor-artistic director’s all-guns-blazing take on rebel lord Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy is the clear highlight of her rep company’s second season…

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Henry IV Part 2, Shakespeare's Globe, 2019
© Tristram Kenton
Theatre, Shakespeare

Henry IV Part 2, or Falstaff

icon-location-pin Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank
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Oh dear. If ‘Henry IV Part 1’ felt like vindication for the Globe Ensemble rep company, then ‘Henry IV Part 2’… well, it’s just not very good…

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Henry V, Shakespeare's Globe, 2019
Sarah Amankwah (Henry V)
Theatre, Shakespeare

Henry V, or Harry England

icon-location-pin Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank
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Sarah Amankwah is too reserved to convince as a party-loving young Prince Hal in the Globe’s ‘Henry IV Parts 1 and 2’. But this is her moment…

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Theatre, Shakespeare

The Merry Wives of Windsor

icon-location-pin Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank
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Poor Falstaff. After losing his boyhood bezzie in ‘Henry IV Parts 1 and 2’ (which Shakespeare’s Globe is also staging with great aplomb this summer) he gets indignity after indignity piled on him in this sequel, arguably Shakespeare’s silliest play…

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare's Globe 2019
© Tristram Kenton
Theatre, Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe)

icon-location-pin Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank
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When ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is trotted out so regularly – in London alone, there are three big ones on this summer – you can see why a director would want to make their version memorable…

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Coming soon

Theatre, Outdoor theatres

Hunchback of Notre Dame

icon-location-pin St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, Covent Garden
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This outdoor family show will bring Victor Hugo's hunchback story to life, in the pretty gardens of Covent Garden's Actors Church. Its story of rebellion and refuge in Paris's cathedral will presumably get a bit of extra poignancy now that the original Notre Dame is in ruins. It's staged by Iris Theatre, who've got years of experience of turning classics into kid-friendly, quirky promenade shows.

Theatre, Outdoor theatres

Evita

icon-location-pin Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park
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In a big year for the back catalogue of Andrew Lloyd Webber, this looks set to be the most exciting entry: Jamie Lloyd follows up his marathon Pinter at the Pinter project by giving Lloyd Webber’s epic about Argentinean leader Eva Peron its first new London production in over a decade…

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Theatre, Shakespeare

As You Like It

icon-location-pin Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank
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This review is from 2018. ‘As You Like It’ returns for 2019. Casting TBA, but liable to be different. Anybody expecting the Globe to become a chintzy Shakespeare museum, in the wake of the untimely end of Emma Rice’s boisterous regime, doesn’t know the Globe…

Time Out says
The Scoop
© Sheila Burnett
Theatre, Outdoor theatres

The Sea Queen

icon-location-pin The Scoop, Borough and London Bridge
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Each August, open air ampitheatre The Scoop pulls in big crowds with its free summer shows. 2019 sees them staging 'The Sea Queen', a new pirate story for kids that centres on female adventurer Grainne O’Malley. Based on a true story, it's a buccaneering narrative of seafaring, mutiny, and a showdown with Queen Liz the First. Selected dates also include free kids' workshops in dancing jigs and folksinging. 

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Theatre, Outdoor theatres

Twelfth Night

icon-location-pin The Scoop, Borough and London Bridge
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This free show in riverside ampitheatre The Scoop is an accessible take on Shakespeare's crossdressing comedy 'Twelfth Night'. It's created by Gods and Monsters, in collaboration with Iris Theatre, who turn out whimsical site-specific versions of classic texts. 

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