The Open Air Theatre has been a fixture of London’s Regents Park since 1932 and is the only professional outdoor theatre in the entire country. Situated within the park’s Inner Circle, in Queen Mary’s Garden, the theatre’s auditorium holds 1250, and while this may make it one of the largest in the city, those who catch a show here adamantly claim that it is, without a doubt, the most intimate theatre venue that they have ever visited. Its unique surroundings also appeal to the younger crowd, many of whom watch their first theatre production here, with this magnificent setting introducing them to this exciting aspect of British culture. The unpredictable weather adds a thrilling element to each visit, with the theatre attracting around 140,000 people during their season between May and September.
May 13th sees a new production hitting the stages of the Open Air Theatre. Running Wild is an adaptation of a novel by Michael Morpurgo, and focuses on a boy called Will, who is riding an elephant called Oona while on holiday in Indonesia when the tsunami hits. With themes of survival, love, loss and living in the moment, this is a production that promises to grip you from the start, especially when taking into account its natural surroundings at the Open Air Theatre. With a cast of 40, Running Wild is set to be the largest production ever held at the Open Air Theatre and is one that is extremely highly anticipated.
Running Wild ends on the 12th of June, and if you are not able to make it to London in time to catch it, there are plenty of exciting upcoming shows that you can arrange to view instead. Henry V will be on from the 17th of June to the 9th of July, and is a part of Shakespeare400, a global celebration of the 400th anniversary of his death, and following on from that will be world famous Jesus Christ Superstar. The final production of the season is Pride and Prejudice, which will run until the 17th of September before moving on to tour the country.
The Open Air Theatre has its very own picnic lawn and barbeque as well as the longest bar in the West End, all of which is situated along with the theatre in lush, manicured grounds. The menu changes with each production, and consists of a choice of a pre-show main meal dish, along with a smaller dish during the interval. From the Venison Meatballs to the Chicory Tart, the meal options are each extremely tempting, while the interval snack choices include both sweet and savoury options, such as the Trio of Mini Desserts and the Chef’s Choice Cheese Plate.
Catching a theatre show is a must-do with any visit to London, and the Open Air Theatre allows you to do this in a truly spectacular venue. The incredible surroundings mean that each production is able to be beautifully intermingled with nature, giving the shows a one-of-a-kind edge that all of the other theatre venues in the city simply cannot compete with.