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Ragtime and Dream in Open Air’s Olympics year season

First Published 12 September 2011, Last Updated 12 September 2011

The Regent’s Park Open Air theatre has announced it will stage two productions – as opposed to its usual four – during Olympic year in a season running from 18 May to 8 September.

Shakespeare’s magical comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream and contemporary musical Ragtime will play in repertory and share the same creative team, led by co-directors Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a perennial favourite of the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre, having been staged frequently during the leadership of Sheader’s predecessor as Artistic Director, Ian Talbot. The tale of magic and romance in the woods is revived now for the first time since Sheader’s inaugural season in 2008, when it was reinvented for a younger audience.

Based on the novel by E L Doctorow, Ragtime is set at the turn of the 20th century and unites three families separated by race and destiny in a story of hope and transformation. The 1996 Broadway production won four Tony Awards, while a 2003 West End production at the Piccadilly theatre received eight Olivier Award nominations, with Maria Friedman winning Best Actress in a Musical.

Speaking about the season, Sheader said: “What has proved exciting at Regent’s Park over the past few years are productions that embrace scale, both physically and in their narrative.  The titles for 2012, each with their own particular ambition, are united in their exploration of space, light and the changing atmosphere of theatre in the open air.”

The directing duo, who have previously collaborated on productions of Lord Of The Flies, The Crucible and Into The Woods, are joined by designer Jon Bausor and costume designer Laura Hopkins, who will work on both productions.

In the run up to the Olympics the theatre will offer a special price of £20.12 on all performances from 25 July to 12 August when booked before the end of April 2012.

This year’s season at the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre closed last Saturday with the final performance of Crazy For You, which transfers to the Novello theatre on 8 October.



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