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Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
London, United Kingdom (UK)|openairtheatre.com
This is, without doubt, one of London’s most atmospherically set stages, encircled by Regent’s Park and its elegantly planted Queen Mary’s Garden. With the stage, bar and lawn picnic areas canopied by trees and latticed by climbing plants, fairy lights and lanterns, the magic begins even before the curtain goes up.
For the most part, there’s no curtain as such, although each show stages its production using the al fresco setting with varying degrees of ingenuity. Seasonal set pieces include crowd-pleasing Shakespeare plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night (the debut show in 1932), but the theatre has won a very respectable number of awards for productions that have transferred to the West End and Broadway.
Getting there & doing it
Regent’s Park is a 10-minute walk from the Underground at Baker Street station, slightly further from Regent’s Park station. Or use buses that run along Marylebone Road or Baker Street.
Entry to the theatre is via the box office in Queen Mary’s Garden within Regent’s Park, accessed via York Gate, following York Bridge into the Inner Circle. Tickets are hugely popular and it’s essential to book in advance (through Ticketmaster or similar). There may be returns on the day but it’s impossible to guarantee.
When to do it
From May to September, performances go ahead rain or shine, the elements and changing light often interplaying spectacularly with action on stage, and the show may stop and start accordingly. Shows are every evening apart from Sundays, with matinees usually on Thursdays and Saturdays. Come prepared for all weather (umbrellas are not permitted during a performance). The theatre does not operate outside these months.
On the rare occasion a show gets suspended entirely, tickets may be exchanged in accordance with the theatre’s weather policy.
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