Theatre fans, brace yourselves because we have exciting news to share! From 14 August, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre will be welcoming back audiences with 70 live performances in August and September.
The iconic award-winning theatre will be opening with a six-week run of a special concert staging of their production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar with a reduced capacity of 390 seats and 90-minute running times with no interval.
Commenting on the news, William Village, Executive Director said: “Following the government’s announcement last week that outdoor theatres may re-open, we have been working around the clock to find a way to open in August and September this year. With social distancing, seating capacity has been dramatically reduced to 390 seats (down from 1,256). This makes producing any large-scale show economically extremely challenging, particularly as we are an unfunded organisation.
“Nevertheless, both for us as a venue, and the industry as a whole, we believe it is incumbent upon us to do everything possible to re-open this year, and we’re delighted to announce this special concert staging of our award-winning production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
“Of course, the safety of our audience, performers and staff remains of paramount importance to us. We will follow government guidance meticulously; measures to be introduced at the entirely open-air venue include: reduced capacity, distanced performers, enhanced cleaning, one-way systems, mandatory face coverings, temperature checks, paperless and cashless systems and multiple hand sanitiser stations. All information will be set out clearly on our website and communicated with audiences in advance of their arrival.”
In addition to Jesus Christ Superstar – which saw two sell-out runs at the open-air theatre in 2016/2017 – a series of one-off MOREoutdoor Mondays will also play throughout the run with comedy from Rob Beckett, Russell Brand, Jimmy Carr, Kerry Godliman, Judi Love and Russell Kane. Mischief Theatre, the award-winning company behind hits such as The Play That Goes Wrong, present Mischief Movie Night, the improvised movie live on stage, and Berk’s Nest presents Canned Laughter, an all-star comedy fundraiser for London’s food banks, featuring Suzi Ruffell, Sindhu Vee, Olga Koch, Gabby Best and many more to be announced.
Full casting information is yet to be announced and the creative team includes: Will Burton CDG and David Grindrod CDG (casting); Lee Curran (lighting design); Tom Deering (musical supervisor); Barbara Houseman (associate director, voice and text); Drew McOnie (choreography); Nick Lidster for Autograph (sound design); Tom Scutt (design); Timothy Sheader (director); Kate Waters (fight director) and Denzel Westley-Sanderson (co-director).
Timothy Sheader, Artistic Director said: “It has been, and continues to be, an incredibly challenging time for everyone working in the theatre industry. Whilst the arts sector awaits details of how the government’s support package will be disseminated, I’m heartened that we have been able to start work again with a number of our colleagues and to employ over 140 people including 70 performers and freelancers, at least for a brief period this summer. However, a clear and specific timeframe for the re-opening of the rest of our industry, together with the complete and safe removal of social distancing measures in all venues, remains critical to secure the future of the arts in the UK.”
Public booking for Jesus Christ Superstar will open from 11am on 21 July while MOREoutdoor will open from the same time on Thursday 23 July. Set your reminders and get ready to fly back into theatre!