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London: Open-air theater with cheap (or free) seats

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Open Air Theatre London
An Open Air Theatre production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Photo: Manne

By Lara Kavanagh in London—

Now that the worst of the winter weather seems to be finally easing off, lots of fun London activities are quite rightly taking themselves outdoors. Theater is one of London’s biggest selling points, and one of the city’s beloved spring and summer activities is to catch an Open Air Theatre production in the stunning surrounds of Regent’s Park, or take in a riverside performance in the more urban setting of The Scoop on the South Bank.

Here are the details for how to enjoy London’s outdoor theater offerings this year:

Open Air Theatre
Regent’s Park
Web site

Open Air Theatre stages four outdoor theatrical performances annually. Starting in May, the 2011 program includes productions of William Golding’s sinister classic, “Lord of the Flies,” John Day’s comic ballad opera, “The Beggar’s Opera,” Shakespeare’s “Pericles” re-vamped for audiences of six years and over, and the popular Gershwin musical, “Crazy For You.”

Tickets for Open Air Theatre at the bottom end of the scale are delightfully affordable, starting from around £14 per person, and each production offers a window of dates with reduced ticket prices.

Book online or by phone on 0844 826 4242. You can make further savings by buying tickets for two or more productions at once or buying group tickets, and under-18s and senior citizens qualify for concessions. Check out the Open Air Theatre’s Web site for more information on dates and prices.

The Scoop
Thames riverside
Web site

An outdoor venue of an altogether different nature is The Scoop, a modern sunken amphitheatre by the river in the shiny More London complex, hosting theatrical performances from April to September. This year’s line-up includes lively Shakespeare adaptations, modern re-workings from The Merry Opera Company and a version of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”

The Scoop holds an audience of 800, and it’s absolutely free to catch a production here. Get there early to bag a space, and you might want to bring something to sit on, as the surfaces are quite hard. For further information on events and how to get there, see the More London Web site.

About the author

Lara Kavanagh

About the author: Lara Kavanagh is a travel editor and freelance writer based in London, and has also had the great pleasure of living in and writing about Paris. Top vintage shopping, great food and quirky nightlife are her favourite things about London.

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