If we asked you to name London’s outdoor stages, you’d probably mention the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park. You know Shakespeare’s Globe doesn’t have a lid, and if you were the sort who feels Waitrose is a bit downmarket and prefers your foie gras from Fortnum’s you’d probably recommend Opera Holland Park. So do we: it’s lovely, even if you bring a picnic from Gregg’s.
Take a look at where else you can watch theatre shows outdoors this summer.
How about a rock musical by the unholy combination of Dostoyevsky and Toyah Willcox? In a concrete sink hole outside City Hall. For free.
After years of bashing out the Greeks, it’s Russian season at The Scoop, with a family show at 6pm, then pop rock and youthful angst in Crime and Punishment at 8pm.
Wednesday to Saturday from 31 August to 25 September. No tickets, just stop by.
The Globe Theatre
Shakespeare seems to work well outdoors, and London's Globe season has Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew and, best of all, Emma Rice’s rowdy technicolour Midsummer Night’s Dream with Zubin Varla and Meow-Meow as Oberon and Titania.
There's a more sedate and sylvan Dream at Fulham Palace where for one night only (25 August) Illyria's grown-up fairies cavort in the Walled Garden on its insane sixty-gig tour of sensational locations.
Still on the what-to-do-with-the-kids theme, how about introducing them to cabin boy Jack Hawkins and the cut-throat crew of the pirate ship Hispaniola: Black Dog, Blind Pew and Billy Bones? It’s where the Johnny Depp movies got all their best ideas from.
Experienced outdoorsmen Iris Theatre present Treasure Island in and around St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden from 27 July – 28 August. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum. Just for mum and dad, obvs.
Battersea Arts Centre
We're thrilled to see Battersea Arts Centre coming back stronger than ever after the devastating 2015 fire - and opening a new 'intimate' courtyard theatre space (honestly, it's smaller than the average 2-bedroom flat in Battersea).
It kicks off with Extravaganza Macabre from 26 July to 26 August: a riotous assembly of London Victoriana featuring 'wafts of opera, close-harmony acapella, chimes and euphonium', a loyal urchin and a clairvoyant maid. What more could you want?
Abney Park Cemetery
If Shakespeare's the number one royalty-free choice for outdoor theatre companies, Alice in Wonderland runs a close second. There's still time to catch a cute production in Stoke Newington at the Abney Park Cemetery. This one focuses on the surreal situations and dark intrigue but claims it still won't frighten the kiddies. They're tough in Stokey. Until July 31.