The May Fair

The May Fair hotel blog

01 Aug 2013

Guest blog: Outdoor theatre in London 0  

Posted in Guest blog, London Theatre

In a blog that is guaranteed to herald the arrival of a monsoon, everything theatre dishes out their top tips outdoor theatre in the capital!


may have picked up from a few of our reviews recently that our team has been struggling with the heat inside the dark confines of London’s theatres. Some of them have air conditioning, but even then why would you want to sit inside in the dark when you could be outside topping up your vitamin D levels? So now seems like a good time to run through our top tips for outdoor theatre in London. Where better to be during the Great British Summer than outside in the glorious sunshine, picnic hamper by your side with a brimming glass of ice cold pimms in your hand, listening to the words of the Bard wash over you?

Everyone already knows about the big players: Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe and The Scoop for example. Don’t get me wrong, they are superb places which you should absolutely visit, but you should also look beyond them. Type in ‘outdoor theatre’ into Google and the aforementioned big three will come up straight away. What won’t come up until a few pages further down however, are shows in Churchyards, shows in smaller parks, and even shows on a roof!

Regent's Park

Regent’s Park

Our Top Tip

Before we get into the details of some of the best that London has to offer the outdoor theatre scene, may we suggest that – wherever you are in the UK – there will almost certainly be some sort of outdoor theatre taking place near you this summer. Finding it is not always so easy however, so the best thing to do is to visit your local theatre or your local park and speak to them to find out what’s happening. It may be theatre, it may be community events, it may be film screenings, but one way or another you can miss out on wonderful stuff just by not knowing about it. If that fails you however, here are a few safe bets:

Iris Theatre in Covent Garden

Right in the heart of Covent Garden there’s a big Church (St Paul’s) with a wonderfully secluded garden nestled around it. This is the stomping ground for Iris Theatre, who are experts in outdoor promenade performance. It’s cracking stuff, and some of the best, most interactive and cheapest outdoor theatre you’ll find in London. Plus when you’re done, you’ll find yourself in Covent Garden while the night is still young!

Alice in Wonderland – 30 July-31 August

The Hunting of the Snark – 1 September only

St. Paul's Church

Street entertainer juggling in Covent Garden piazza, in front of St. Paul’s Church


Coram’s Fields, Russell Square

This family-focussed park has performances of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and A Comedy of Errors on from Thursday-Saturday this summer until 4th August. It’s stuff like this that can be hard to find on Google, but in reality it’s these sorts of places that can often provide you with the best experiences. Ask your local park or your local theatre for advice about what’s happening around you.

The Comedy of Errors – until 3 August

Hamlet – until 4 August


Kensington Roof Gardens

Now I can’t vouch for this myself, but this trendy elevated bar has ‘Theatre on the Roof’ throughout August, and it sounds fantastic. The tickets aren’t cheap, but the venue is superb,

and you get a free hog-roast or a BBQ included depending on what you see. Get stuck in!

Alice in Wonderland – 5August only

Romeo and Juliet – 6, 11 and 12 August

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

A wonderful permanent outdoor theatre set in the stunning surroundings of Regent’s Park (probably my favourite London park full stop). Over 1,200 seats, a great (and licensed!) bar, serves good food and also has space to picnic outside the theatre itself. Top quality shows as well, although tickets aren’t cheap.

The Sound of Music – until 7 September

Sound of Music at Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park

Photo: Andy Locke


Shakespeare’s Globe

The (real) home of Shakespearean performance, this thatched beauty is a world-famous sight on London’s South Bank. Standing tickets cost just £5 for most performances, and they often provide the best experience – if you get there early enough you may even find yourself leaning on the stage itself! A must-visit for everyone, not just theatre fans.

Shakespeare's Globe

Photo: Pawel Libera

Large and varied programme, visit the website for more information.


The Scoop

A modern and trendy amphitheatre, again on the Southbank. Has plenty of interesting shows on, from Greek classics to modern drama, and it also shows films from time to time. Even better, it’s all absolutely free! Pretty informal, so you can just turn up, sit down and leave when you fancy.

The Scoop

Photo: Pawel Libera


Another varied programme, visit TimeOut for more information.


So there you have it, some handy tips which we hope will give you some new ideas for outdoor theatre this summer. Pack up your hampers, grab your brollies and your ponchos and head into the great outdoors!


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Posted in Guest blog, London Theatre

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