The Great British Outdoors

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 2018 season begins this month, so you can watch shows under the stars from the 17th May. The season, which is curated by artistic director Timothy Sheader, opens with JM Barrie’s Peter Pan (17th May-15th June), followed by Henry JamesThe Turn of the Screw (22nd– 30th June), William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (6th-28th July) and the rock musical Little Shop of Horrors (3rd August-15th September).

Peter Pan is a new version of the classic that was first performed at the Open Air Theatre in 2015. The Olivier Award-nominated show, set in World War I, follows soldiers who use their imagination to escape the horrors of war in favour of Neverland’s pirate ships. It has a flying cast, thanks to bungee cords, as well as puppetry and magic. Sheader directs The Turn of the Screw. Published as a novel in 1898, it follows a governess who is hired to care for two orphans before realising that the country house they live in is haunted.  You can also catch William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, a romantic comedy about sibling rivalry and mistaken identity. It’s directed by Max Webster and has new music by Charlie Fink – the former frontman of Noah and the Whale. Little Shop of Horrors, meanwhile, is based on Roger Corman’s 1960 black comedy, about a florist on the verge of closing until the owner discovers a plant that can talk.

For a change of scenery, visit Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstructed Elizabethan playhouse that’s now in its 21st year. To mark the occasion, it is staging Hamlet, which was written in 1599 – the year the original Globe was built.   Opera fans should head to open-air Opera Holland Park for Verdi’s tragedy, La Traviata (from 29th May), and Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte (from 31st May), about identity and infidelity. Whichever venue you choose to visit, you’ll find them all a breath of fresh air.

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