8 ways to enjoy theatre outside this summer
As the mercury rises to record levels this week, Ben Hewis takes a look at some of the theatre events taking place outside this summer
Whilst I am more than happy, scratch that, downright excited about some of the shows opening in London over the next couple of months (Streetcar anybody?), all this sun just makes me want to sit outside with a glass of Pinot, where the constant whirr of air con and whiff of perspiring armpits is replaced by the tweeting of birds and aromas of freshly cut grass.
So I've taken it upon myself to have a look at some of the events that will allow me to do just that, enjoy my theatre addiction without having to actually enter a theatre building.
I'd love to hear about any events you are heading to this summer, let us know in the comments below.
So, starting with the obvious...
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
I'm ashamed to admit that I only lost my Open Air Theatre virginity this year with their inaugural production for 2014, Miller's All My Sons. But, like Pringles, once I popped I now can't stop!
This venue tucked away in a corner of Regent's Park is a beautiful setting for a night out at the theatre. Even before you get into the amphitheatre style auditorium there's ample space for a picnic (either take your own or order one of theirs), glass of Pimms or a special Regent's Park Burger.
Helmed by artistic director Timothy Sheader, this season's production have included All My Sons and Hobson's Choice. Next up is Porgy and Bess which opens tonight, followed by the return of the WhatsOnStage Award-winning production of To Kill a Mockingbird.
A trip to the Open Air Theatre is a special occasion and with tickets starting at £25 it doesn't have to be an expensive one.
The Scoop at More London
Set in the shadows of City Hall is The Scoop, normally an unassuming set of steps beside the Thames but for the month of August it plays host to a variety of theatre, film and music events, all for FREE.
This year's theatre events are called The Ring Cycles Plays - A Tale of Gods and Monsters!. Every Wednesday to Sunday, from 6pm until 10pm a selection of Richard Wagner's celebrated adaptation of Viking myths will be played out for your viewing pleasure.
Described as "A unique opportunity for opera buffs and fantasy fans alike to gain fresh insight into Wagner's extraordinary chronicle by encountering The Ring Cycle operas performed as plays."
Again you can bring your own picnics and you can hire a cushion for a £1 donation.
Actors' Church, Covent Garden
Whilst the whole world and their dog is trying to buy a ticket to see Martin Freeman as the hunchbacked King in Jamie Lloyd's production of Richard III at Trafalgar Studios, Iris Theatre are treating audiences to a promenade production at the Actors' Church in Covent Garden.
The company claim that this alternative staging of Shakespeare's history play allows the audience to be "drawn deep into the heart of this dark and dangerous conspiracy."
A great alternative option to the mainstream production for Shakespeare buffs and novices alike, but if the Bard is not your thing then maybe their following production of Alice Through the Looking Glass from 30 July will be more up your street!
Minack Theatre, Cornwall
Arguably the most beautiful theatre in the United Kingdom, if not the world, the Minack Theatre stands on the cliff edge at Porthcurno, 4 miles from Land's End.
Built in the 1930's with the intention of providing a group of local players with a location to perform their plays, the venue is still exclusively used by amateur dramatics companies.
Highlights of this year's calendar include a production of Mel Brooks' The Producers by London based Tower Theatre Company from 28 July to 1 August, Mitre Players' production of Monty Python's Spamalot from 18 to 22 August and Elton John & Tim Rice's Aida presented by Act Now Theatre Company from 1 to 5 September.
Opera Holland Park
Opera Holland Park is a summer opera company which produces an annual season of opera performances staged under a temporary canopy in Holland Park.
Their next production is Vincenzo Bellini's Norma, I won't claim to know a lot about opera, but this particular show is said to contain the most celebrated aria ever, made famous by Maria Callas; "Casta Diva".
As far as I'm concerned, a trip to London isn't complete without a stroll along Bankside and a visit to Shakespeare's Globe. If not for a production, the tour alone is worth doing to find out more about the reconstruction of one of the most famous theatre's in the world.
But if you do want to take in a performance then £5 standing tickets can be bought, allowing you to sample the great Bard's work in a way his audiences would have done 400 years ago. This summer's season includes Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Holy Warriors.
Watch This Space Festival
This summer, the Watch This Space Festival (usually seen outside the National Theatre on the South Bank) packs its bags and heads out on tour, providing free outdoor entertainment all around Lambeth and Southwark.
St John's Church on Waterloo roundabout is the hub for this year's Festival. Highlights include PIG from The Whalley Range All Stars involving peeking into the belly of a 9-metre-long sow sleeping in her pen to take a peek at an unexpected piece of theatre, the internationally acclaimed Gandini jugglers and Laitrum Teatre's Micro-Shakespeare.
Open air theatre company Illyria are back at Fulham Palace with two new productions.Macbeth on Saturday 26 July and The Pirates of Penzance on Sunday 17 August.
The stunning grounds of Fulham Palace make a great place for a day out with the family and again you can take your own picnic or order a hamper from the organisers. For the carnivores out their you can sample the food at the Palace BBQ.