Free Open Air Theatre Season 2019

London theatre news: Friday 3 May 2019

Family - Open Air Theatre - Seasons - Shakespeare

London's Free Open Air Theatre Season is back for another year in the stunning setting of The Scoop on the bank of the Thames, with 2 shows between 7 August and 1 September.
The Sea Queen at The Scoop

Photo c Sheila Burnett, 2011 - Around The World in Eighty Days

Right next to the banks of the Thames, and a stone's throw from Tower Bridge, there's an open air theatre called The Scoop.

It's an appropriate name as it almost looks like a giant builder has come along and literally removed a huge scoopful of the ground to create what is a highly impressive venue.

And it's here where, each summer, London's Free Open Air Theatre Season

takes place - and when we say FREE - that's exactly what we mean.

There's no charge to watch the shows and no booking - just turn up on the day you want to see a show and that's all there is to it.

And there's plenty of space with room for 1,000 people at every performance.

2019 sees the 16th year of summer seasons at The Scoop and it features the world premiere of 'The Sea Queen' - a family show about the Irish pirate Grainne O'Malley - and Shakespeare's popular comedy 'Twelfth Night'.

The season runs from Wednesday 7 August to Sunday 1 September with both shows playing nightly from Wednesday to Sunday.

These two plays and their two respective heroines, Grainne and Viola, will place the stories of strong, independent women at the heart of the season's programme.

It will also be the first year that one of Shakespeare's plays has been performed.

Telling classic narratives in modern ways, with strong female role models, is central to the approach being taken by this season's director, Rae Mcken.

Over the past decade, through her work with her own company 'Custom/Practice', Rae has been at the forefront of presenting classical theatre with diverse casts that better reflect the makeup our cosmopolitan melting pot city.

Through her work with 'Artistic Directors of the Future', Rae also promotes greater diversity in the next generation of artistic leaders.

Here are some details about the season's shows ...

The Sea Queen

Join Grainne O'Malley; pirate, chieftain and Irish queen of the seas, as she sets sail on her greatest adventure yet.

Her family are prisoners, held in the dark dungeons of Dublin Castle by the evil Sir Richard Bingham.

To save their lives she must embark for London, overcoming storms, buccaneers, and mutiny, before finally facing her implacable foe; England's Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I.

Based on the true story of Ireland's legendary 16th century heroine, this voyage is for anyone who has dreamed of an ocean adventure.

Come dance a jig, sing a sea shanty and live the life of a sea queen.

Written by Daniel Winder.

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Experience Shakespeare's famous tale of unrequited love in all its hilarious and heartbreaking splendour.

Separated from her twin Sebastian in a shipwreck, Viola must fend for herself in a strange land.

Havoc ensues through mistaken identity and heartache as Viola falls in love with Orsino, who dotes on Olivia, who falls for Viola but is idolised by Malvolio ...

About the season

London's Free Open-Air Theatre Season began in 2003, and the project continues to make classic texts accessible and enjoyable to all, irrespective of age, education, ethnicity, financial means or physical ability.    

In 2017, Iris Theatre took over the general management of London's Free Open Air Theatre Season.

An award-winning theatre company led by Daniel Winder, Iris Theatre are known for producing award winning, vibrant and accessible site-specific and outdoor theatre, and celebrate their 10th anniversary this year with productions of 'Hamlet' and 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'.

About the venue

The Scoop at London Bridge City is a sunken amphitheatre on the south bank of the Thames, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge next to City Hall.

'The Sea Queen' and 'Twelfth Night' will be a central part of the London Bridge City Summer Festival that takes place annually from June to September on the banks of the River Thames around City Hall with plenty of events, bars and eateries throughout the summer for all the family.


To be announced


Director: Rae Mcken

Set & Costume Design: Mayou Trikerioti

Sound Design: Matthew Bugg

Presented by Gods and Monsters Theatre in association with Iris Theatre

Creative Producer: Suzanna Rosenthal


The Scoop

Adjacent to City Hall

London Bridge City

Queens Walk

London SE1 2DB


Wednesday 7 August - Sunday 1 September 2019



Access performances

Friday 16 August:

Captioned performance (both shows)

Saturday 24 August:

Relaxed Performance (both shows)

Sunday 25 August:

Parent & Baby performance (both shows)

Post Show Talks

Join the team for post show discussions.

Sunday 11, 18 and 25 August 19:45 - 20:30.


ActDrop listings:

- The Sea Queen

- Twelfth Night

Iris Theatre

Gods and Monsters Theatre

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