The Open Air Theatre has announced the programme for its 2018 summer season, under the continuing artistic directorship of Timothy Sheader. The headline productions are Peter Pan, As You Like It, Dinosaur World Live, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Turn of the Screw, a co-production with English National Opera. Public booking for the new season opens at 11am on Wednesday 6 December 2017. Highlights of today’s season announcement include:
- Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel’s Olivier Award-nominated production of PETER PAN by J. M. Barrie returns in the final year of First World War Centenary Commemorations
- Max Webster directs Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT, with original music by Charlie Fink
- Maria Aberg directs the mean green monster musical, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, based on the film by Roger Corman, screenplay by Charles Griffith
- DINOSAUR WORLD LIVE plays daytime performances for ages 3+
- Full creative team confirmed for THE TURN OF THE SCREW including conductor Toby Purser and designer Soutra Gilmour
The season opens on 17 May 2018 with PETER PAN by J. M. Barrie (17 May-15 June 2018), a revival of their 2015 Olivier Award-nominated production, in the final year of the First World War Centenary Commemorations. For the wounded soldiers of WW1, imagination is their only escape. Yet as they’re transported to the fantastical lagoons and pirate ships of Never Land, allegories of the war they’ve left behind are ever present. George Llewelyn Davies, later killed in action in 1915, was one of the children who inspired J. M. Barrie to create the iconic character of Peter Pan. Remembering him, and a generation of Lost Boys, the production enchanted young and old alike during its original, critically acclaimed run. Kids go half price at most performances.
Directed by Open Air Theatre Artistic Director Timothy Sheader (Jesus Christ Superstar, To Kill a Mockingbird, Running Wild) and Liam Steel (Lord of the Flies, Into The Woods), set design is by Jon Bausor who recently won the UK Theatre Award for The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic). Costume design is by Jon Morrell, puppet design and direction by Rachael Canning, composition and sound score by Nick Powell, lighting design by Rick Fisher, sound design by Nick Lidster for Autograph, fight direction by Kate Waters, casting by Polly Jerrold and musical supervision/musical direction by Candida Caldicot. The Season Associate Director (Voice and Text) is Barbara Houseman.
Also confirmed is the full creative team for The Turn of the Screw (22 June-30 June 2018), a co-production with English National Opera. Members of the ENO orchestra will be conducted by ENO Mackerras Fellow Toby Purser. Timothy Sheader directs with design by Soutra Gilmour, who previously designed Into the Woods at the Open Air Theatre / Public Theatre, New York. Lighting design is by Jon Clark, sound design by Nick Lidster for Autograph, and casting by ENO Head of Casting, Michelle Williams.
The story of unearthly encounters at a remote country house, and of a young governess desperate to protect her children, finds chilling new levels of suspense in this unique outdoor production of Benjamin Britten’s masterly reworking of Henry James’ classic novella.
Next, Max Webster directs William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (6-28 July 2018). Returning to the Open Air Theatre following his production of Twelfth Night re-imagined in 2014, Max recently directed A Winter’s Tale (Edinburgh Lyceum), The Twits and King Lear (Northampton Royal & Derngate), and The Lorax, which is currently playing at the Old Vic.
In the mythical Forest of Arden, a world of transformation where anything is possible and anything permissible, two young people discover what it really means to be in love. Design is by Naomi Dawson who recently designed Dr Faustus (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Brave New World(Northampton Royal & Derngate). Movement direction is by Polly Bennett, original music composed by former ‘Noah and the Whale’ frontman, Charlie Fink (The Lorax), lighting design by Lee Curran (Jesus Christ Superstar) and sound design by Gareth Fry.
This warm, open-hearted production promises adventure, sibling rivalry, mistaken identity and romance – Shakespeare comedy as you like it.
Playing daytime performances, Dinosaur World Live (14 August – 09 September), is a new interactive show for all the family (ages 3+). This 50-minute show is written and directed by Derek Bond (Sweet Charity / Little Shop of Horrors, Royal Exchange Manchester), puppet design is by Max Humphries and puppet direction by Laura Cubitt who, with Dinosaur World Live puppet consultant Toby Olié, previously worked on Running Wild at the Open Air Theatre. Set and costume design is by James Perkins, lighting design by John Maddox and sound design by Tom Mann.
Grab your compass and join our intrepid explorer across unchartered territories to discover a prehistoric world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs – including every child’s favourite flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus rex. Dinosaur World Live will announce further tour dates for 2018 in due course.
The 2018 season concludes with the mean green monster musical Little Shop of Horrors (3 August-15 September 2018). Book and lyrics are by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, based on the film by Roger Corman with screenplay by Charles Griffith.
For the misfits of Skid Row, life is full of broken dreams and dead ends. But there’s hope on the horizon for flower shop assistant, Seymour, when he discovers a mysterious new plant with killer potential. Will his newfound fame and fortune win the attention of kind, sweet, delicate Audrey? Can he finally break free and be happy…whatever the consequences?
Making her Open Air Theatre debut, the production is directed by Maria Aberg. Maria’s recent work includes Dr Faustus, The White Devil, As You Like It, King John, The Gods Weep, Days of Significance (all Royal Shakespeare Company), Hotel (National Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Exchange Manchester), The Chairs (Theatre Royal Bath), Alaska (Royal Court) and Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox (Nuffield/Lyric Hammersmith). Design is by Tom Scutt whose credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (Open Air Theatre), King Charles III (Almeida/West End/Broadway), The Deep Blue Sea, Medea (National Theatre), Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Weir (Donmar Warehouse) and Constellations (West End/MTC New York/Royal Court). Musical supervision is by Tom Deering (Jesus Christ Superstar, On The Town), lighting design by Howard Hudson (On The Town), sound design by Nick Lidster for Autograph and casting by Stuart Burt.