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Open Air Theatres to Try Over the Summer Holidays

The Summer Holidays are the perfect time to enjoy some educational outdoors fun as a family. Fortunately, London has a plethora of open air theatres which put on exciting shows during the summer months.

Take a break from revision, 11 plus prep or general summertime frivolity with a show! Here are a few of Mentor Education’s favourite open air theatres – most of which are very affordable (or even free!) to attend.

Regents Park: one of the most beautiful open air theatres in London.

Open Air Theatres to Try Now: Regent’s Park

One of London’s most famous (and most beautiful) open air theatres, the venue is nestled conveniently in the middle of Regent’s Park (which is a stone’s throw away from Euston and Marylebone). Whilst this picturesque, tree-lined amphitheatre has a sterling reputation for Shakespeare, in recent years it’s also become famous for musical theatre.

The 2021 line-up includes Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet, running from 17th June – 24th July, and Hammerstein’s iconic musical Carousel (31st July – 25th September). Regent’s Park are also featuring exciting shows guaranteed to provide educational fun for the whole family, including the critically acclaimed Anansi the Spider (7th July – 24th July) and the fantastical Dragons & Mythical Beasts (13th August – 5th September).


Now in its 13th year, London’s Underbelly Festival is a celebration of theatre unlike no other. At one of the specially-curated tents on the Southbank, visitors can enjoy an enormous variety of live entertainment: from comedy sets performed by top comedians like Nina Conti to cabaret, musical theatre and even drag.

There’s plenty of family-friendly fun to be had, too; the ‘Kids Festival’ is back and better than ever before, with appearances from CBeebies staple Basil Brush, Jay Foreman’s Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children, hilarious circus show Hotel Paradiso and much more. In between shows, you can dip into the many delicious food stalls, bars, and fairground rides that crowd the Southbank’s bustling shores. An excellent day out for theatre fans of all ages!

Shakespeare's Globe: one of the most unusual open air theatres in London.

Shakespeare’s Globe

The ideal venue for any Shakespeare fan, The Globe is one of the capital’s most unique open air theatres. A dazzling recreation of the theatre in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed in the Tudor era, you can enjoy the theatre experience in a truly authentic way: as a groundling, standing by the stage, or seated in the period-appropriate wooden stalls (cushions are recommended and can be rented!). You can even take a guided tour of the theatre, which lasts for 40 minutes, and which promises to bring the venue to life with interesting stories about the original (1599) Globe, details of the reconstruction process, and insights into how the traditional amphitheatre is used as an experimental and exciting theatrical space.

Shakespeare’s Globe doesn’t only produce Shakespeare plays, though. This year, there’s an eclectic line-up: favourites like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, The Tempest and Twelfth Night play alongside news works such as Metamorphoses.

Iris Theatre at St Paul’s Church

St Paul’s Church – AKA The Actor’s Church – is one of London’s hidden gems. Tucked away in the centre of Covent Garden, St Paul’s Church is a tranquil space within the busy streets of Central London. What better place to enjoy some outdoor theatre?

Since 2007, Iris Theatre have staged a pair of plays in the beautiful gardens of St Paul’s Church, and this year is no exception. In 2021, the acclaimed theatre company will be gracing the heart of London with performances from a different artist or collective for one night only, alongside runs of Shakespeare-inspired modern pieces and a re-imagining of ancient adventure in Arthur/Merlin.

The Scoop: one of the most diverse open air theatres in London.

The Scoop Open Air Theatre

A sunken amphitheatre by the southern bank of the Thames, with seating for 1000, The Scoop is a great place to catch an unusual bit of live entertainment. It’s also one of the most diverse open air theatres in the UK. From June to August every year, the venue plays host to a number of different events, including sports and movie screenings, concerts, and theatre.

Still stuck for holiday or half term ideas? Read more on the top activities for all the family to enjoy. You can always ask your tutor for ideas too!

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