Outdoor Theatres in London
When the sun comes out in England everyone tends to stop and stare. Then, after we have got over the initial shock, we start trying to work out what to do. In London there are lots of opportunities to enjoy a show, opera, film or concert in one of the parks or open spaces.
Most famously is the Regents Park Open Air Theatre. I was lucky to attend its 75th birthday performance, a gala celebration of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a few years ago and it truly is a magical venue.
It opens between May and September each year and usually has a programme of four productions including at least one Shakespeare play and a musical. The programme for 2013 started with To Kill a Mockingbird, and continued with Pride and Prejudice. William Shakespeare’s offering this year was a production of The Winter’s Tale, tailored specifically for children aged 6 and over. And it ran alongside the main production of Pride and Prejudice.
Looking forward, the 2013 season finishes with a 6 week run of the musical The Sound of Music. Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II it is bound to be popular, especially as the weather in London is holding up so well!
William Shakespeare’s Globe theatre was rebuilt by Sam Wanamaker although sadly he didn’t live to see it open. It now stands on the Southbank of the River Thames and hosts several productions each year over the summer months – although 2013 was the first year in which the theatre hosted performances over the Easter period and, with the addition of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which is an enclosed space, visitors to London will be able to enjoy plays throughout the year.
But for the summer months when the actors and audience are open to the starry heavens the Globe is London’s second major outdoor venue. The Tempest, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are just three of the shows visitors to London can catch this summer.
As well as these permanent theatres, London hosts several summer festivals of culture in a variety of different spaces. Holland Park is home to an annual Opera Festival, Peckham Rye is home to the Rooftop Cinema where patrons are issued with headphones with which to enjoy the films and Kenwood hosts a series of classical and popular music concerts.
So whatever you like to do when you come to London, you don’t have to be sitting inside to do it! Although I am sad to say I am sure this weather won’t last for long and September will see the crowds heading back to see We Will Rock You, Phantom of the Opera and the newly opening Stephen Ward by Andrew Lloyd Webber on a weekend London theatre break in the rain!