open-air theatre



  • The first Greek and Roman theaters were in the open, and medievaltravelling players also erected their temporary stages outside. Playswere first produced indoors in Renaissance Italy. In England the PublicTheatres of the Elizabethan era were open to the sky except forroofs over the stage and galleries. Although theater came firmly insidewith the introduction of the proscenium arch, open-air drama,whether on the streets or in municipal parks, has never died out.

    Britain's best known outdoor venue is the Open Air Theatrein Regent's Park, London. Ben Greet began to stage plays in the parkwith his Woodland Players in 1900. Sydney Carroll revived the traditionin 1932, and in 1962 the New Shakespeare Company was formed to carryit on; three productions are now given each summer, two of which areShakespearean works. The theater was reconstructed in 1975 with anauditorium complex being added to replace the old rows of deck chairs.The Open Air Theatre's bar is famous for its 'Puck's Fizz' cocktail.

    Europe's largest open-air theater, with a seating capacityof 7000 and standing room for 9000, is at Scarborough in North Yorkshire.The theater closed in 1968 but reopened in 1982 with a productionof Magical Musical Time Machine.