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The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London

See Also - The Regent's Park Theatre, Park Street, Camden

 A Google StreetView Image of the Entrance to the Regents Park Open Air Theatre - Click to Interact.

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the Entrance to the Regents Park Open Air Theatre - Click to Interact

The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre is situated in Queen Mary's Gardens which is in the Inner Circle of London's Regent's Park. The Theatre is, as the name suggest, totally open to the elements, although the stage itself is sometimes roofed over, as is the Theatre's bar, the longest of any in London's Theatres. The audience sits in a raked amphitheatre surrounded by parkland which can accommodate some 1,200 people all seated. Backstage the Theatre has a large area for artistes and crew, with dressing rooms, crew rooms, a green room, wardrobe and wigs rooms, and a workshop and paintshop along with office and administration areas.

A view of the Regent's Park Theatre on its opening day, 5th of June 1933 - From the Daily Mail, 6th June 1933.The Theatre first opened on the 5th of June 1933, at 2.30 in the afternoon, with a production of Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' under the direction of Sydney Caroll, who had staged the play the previous year on the same spot in the park, before the permanent Theatre was constructed.

Right - A view of the Regent's Park Theatre on its opening day, 5th of June 1933 - From the Daily Mail, 6th June 1933.

The Times Newspaper reported on the opening of the Theatre in their 6th of June 1933 edition saying:- 'Shakespeare took his place yesterday among the regular outdoor spectacles that the present summer has to offer Londoners, competing gaily with the cricket at Lord's, the flowers at Kew, and the rest of the good things that take people into the sun for a long afternoon. He seemed to be welcome. More than 2,000 spectators were drawn to Regent's Park, and there, with soft grass underfoot and a blazing sun overhead, they saw Twelfth Night played in black-and-white costumes on a raised stage of turf against a background of bushes and trees...

The Regent's Park Theatre during the run of 'Jesus Christ Super Star' in August 2016 - Courtesy Jemma Newton.

Above - The Regent's Park Theatre during the run of 'Jesus Christ Super Star' in August 2016 - Courtesy Jemma Newton.

...The production, which was seen in the same place last year, aimed at breadth rather than subtlety of treatment, and so far achieved rightness in outline that in the circumstances nobody was inclined to call either the players or the producers strictly to account in matters of detail. Feste's songs have no particular relation to the principal theme, and if the producer robbed him of a verse or two for the benefit of a singing Olivia the fault seemed venial. There was a great deal of music, and, though in any performance given within four walls it would have seemed a great deal too much, it undoubtedly served a useful purpose in getting the players on and off the vast natural stage of the open-air theatre. But, whatever the production lacked in precision, it succeeded in firmly establishing the elaborate pattern of the comedy. Within that pattern there is much irresponsible fooling, which gives the actor a measure of freedom, and there is even room for effects that spring less from the text than from the accidents of locality...

The Regent's Park Theatre during the run of 'Jesus Christ Super Star' in August 2016 - Courtesy Jemma Newton.

Above - The Regent's Park Theatre during the run of 'Jesus Christ Super Star' in August 2016 - Courtesy Jemma Newton.

...Nobody did more for the poetry of the piece than Miss Margaretta Scott, whose Viola would have done credit to any production. In all her scenes she was natural, and, when in love, bore herself with gallant and sensitive pathos. It is in many ways the best performance that this young actress has yet given. Miss Phyllis Neilson-Terry, the Olivia of last year played the part again, and was as gracious a dupe of sentimentalism as ever. Sir Nigel Playfair seemed inclined to over clown Malvolio, getting plenty of fun in the process, but remaining in the end with insufficient dignity. Mr. John Laurie though lacking the suavity proper to Orsino, was roughly effective, and Mr Robert Atkins, perhaps a little too careful not to over-play Sir Toby, had many good moments. Miss Clare Harris as Maria and Mr. Leslie French as Feste were both first rate; all their work was done with vigour, enjoyment, and variety.'

The above text in quotes was first published in The Times Newspaper, 6th of June 1933.

The Theatre was rebuilt in 1999, and is still a very popular space today, opening for the summer season each year. The entrance to the Open Air Theatre is via the box office in Queen Mary’s Garden within Regent’s Park, see map here.

You may like to visit the Theatre's own Website here.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.

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