Outdoor theatre is on the riseby Michael Coveney / June 20, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
The predominant image of outdoor theatre in the British summer is of students or amateurs shouting their heads off in Shakespeare or a forgotten French classic while the audience shifts about in deck chairs fiddling with blankets and thermos flasks.
This is still undisturbed in many parks and castle keeps from Lancaster to Ludlow, and all the way down to Porthcurno in Cornwall, where the Minack Theatre, carved in stone and perched above the ocean, provides a breathtaking elemental setting for King Lear, Peer Gynt or indeed Gilbert & Sullivan.
But in London, recent upheavals at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and at the Globe Theatre have ensured that each venue has become a major player in the capital’s cultural calendar, not just a diversion for visitors at a loose end.