Regent's Park Open Air Theatre ☆☆

A play at the Open Air Theatre of Regent's Park (Photo by Tom J Anderson)
A play at the Open Air Theatre of Regent's Park
A play at the Open Air Theatre of Regent's Park, Open Air Theatre, London (Photo by Tom J Anderson)
The longest theatre bar in London, Open Air Theatre, London (Photo by Tom J Anderson)

A lovely venue for Shakespeare and musicals in the heart of Regent's Park

This cozy performance space in the middle of Regent's Park has offfered one of the lovliest settings for a play since 1932. 

This theater is not merely set in a park, the trees come right down onto the stage and form a vderdant backdrop all around it. (Perhaps why A Midsummer Night's Dream is a perennial favorite here.) 

Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brian Cox have all tread the boards here, and the Open Air Theatre has launched the careers of several stars. Ralph Fiennes made his professional debut here in 1985 as Curio in Twelfth Night, and in 1986 was a player in A Midsummer Night's Dream—a produciton on which his understudy was another fresh young face from the cast making his own debut, Hugh Bonneville (the future Robert 'Lord Grantham" Crawley on Downton Abbey).

The sightlines are excellent, even from the cheap seats.

Every season the Open Air Theatre produces several plays by Shakespeare (I once saw an excellent production of Much Ado About Nothing here, set after World War I), other classics like The Importance of Being Ernest, The Crucible, To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Seagull, and literary adapatations for the stage such as Pride and Prejudice or Lord of the Flies.

They also stage their own productions of popular musicals, most recently Jesus Christ Superstar, Into the Woods, Porgy & Bess, The Sound of Music, Gigi, and Hello Dolly!

There is also a picnic lawn (hampers are available, though you can also bring your own), barbecue (famed for its bugers), the longest theatre bar in London.