Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is a permanent outdoor theatre that welcomes over 140,000 visitors each year during its eighteen-week season between May and September. Established in 1932, the award-winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is one of the largest theatres in London. Situated in the beautiful surroundings of a Royal Park, audiences can look forward to bold and dynamic productions of plays, musicals, opera and family-friendly entertainment in London's fresh open air, with an uncovered stage and auditorium.
The venue was curated after Benito Mussolini’s play about Napoleon’s life flopped at the Noël Coward Theatre, with a last-minute emergency production of Twelfth Night was put together. After sold-out performances, the show set up camp at a temporary outdoor theatre in the middle of Regent’s Park to continue their production.
During wartime, the usual disadvantage of being outside played to their advantage as ‘bomb damage’ wasn’t a real threat to closure. The theatre was one of only two theatres that remained open throughout the war. After the war, the permanence of the Open Air was affirmed by new brick dressing rooms, and by 1974, a box office and kitchen were built to accompany the venue.
The first musical was performed at the open-air venue in 1983. Since then, the theatre has installed more facilities around its amphitheatre for actors and patrons.
Timothy Sheader and William Village were appointed Joint Chief Executives in 2007. During their tenure, the theatre’s award-winning productions of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Sound of Music entertained audiences, as well as Into the Woods, which won the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and transferred to the Delacorte Theatre, Central Park, New York in 2012.
The theatre’s ambition of reaching new audiences beyond the Park has seen their productions of Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird tour the UK and Ireland, with To Kill A Mockingbird transferring to the Barbican for a month-long residency in 2015.
The 2016 sell-out production of Jesus Christ Superstar won the Olivier Award for best musical revival and an Evening Standard Award for best musical, and the production returned to the Open Air Theatre for an extended engagement in 2017 ahead of a run at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Spring 2018. The production played a season at the Barbican Theatre in 2019, ahead of a North American Tour.