Rachel Kavanagh, who directed last year's production of Twelfth Night, returns to direct A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's comedy in which Titania and Oberon cast magic spells in the woods and cause chaos for the Athenians in their pursuit of love. Alan Strachan, who directed last year's The Merry Wives of Windsor, also returns. He directs Much Ado, in which another couple, Beatrice and Benedict, constantly try to outwit each other until their animosity gives way to mutual attraction.
This year's musical attraction, The Pirates of Penzance, is directed by New Shakespeare Company artistic director Ian Talbot. In Gilbert and Sullivan's 1879 comic operetta, Frederic, a slave to duty, thinks he has finally completed his apprenticeship to a band of pirates when he turns 21. However, his attempts to follow a more honourable profession are scuppered when he realises he was born on February 29 of a leap year - and thus his apprenticeship has many, many more years to run. The score includes 'Poor Wandering One', 'I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General', 'The Sergeant of Police' and 'Policeman's Chorus'.
The Open Air's Pirates will make the second Gilbert and Sullivan revival to hit the West End this year. Their HMS Pinafore, performed by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, opens at the Savoy later this month.
Casting and other details about the Open Air's 2000 season have yet to be confirmed.