Open Air Theatre in Wanstead Park

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It just wouldn’t be the summer without packing up a picnic and heading outside to enjoy some Open Air Theatre.  But did you know you can enjoy this great British pastime right here on your doorstep, in Epping Forest?

In July and August, the grounds of The Temple, in Wanstead Park, will become the fabulous setting for a series of performances by acclaimed theatre group, Illyria, an equality outdoor touring company.

Wanstead Park, once the extravagant grounds of Wanstead House, is no stranger to outdoor theatre.  In its eighteenth century heyday, Wanstead Park included two amphitheatres, and elaborate gothic amusements were held in front of the grotto and the fortifications.  Audiences would have enjoyed lavish spectacles and entertainment.  Indeed, Epping Forest has a strong heritage when it comes to theatre, with Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ first performed at Copped Hall in 1594.

Proudly continuing this theatrical association, the City of London Corporation are very pleased to present the following Open Air Theatre productions at The Temple in Wanstead Park:

‘The Taming of the Shrew’, by William Shakespeare:

Everyone wants to marry mild-mannered Bianca.  Nobody wants to marry her acid-tongued older sister, Kate. Their father won’t let anyone marry Bianca until a husband can be found for Kate – but no one knows anyone mad enough to take her on. Until Petruchio comes to town, when sparks are guaranteed to fly!

Thursday 16 July, gates open at 6pm, performance starts at 7pm.

‘Iolanthe’, by Gilbert and Sullivan:

Gilbert and Sullivan’s most magical comic opera is set half in fairyland, half in Westminster.  Its surprisingly topical satire pokes fun at love, class and politics and many believe its sumptuous harmonies to be the most beautiful Sullivan wrote.  It gets the complete Illyria treatment, faithfully performed by a reduced cast with a live piano accompaniment.

Sunday 2 August, Gates open at 2pm, performance starts at 3pm.

‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ (traditional), adapted by Oliver Gray:

Bored of chores, the Apprentice waves a wand and a broom magically fetches water.  But what is the spell to make it stop? Perhaps sawing it in half is the only solution? The show features the original music by Dukas, as featured in Fantasia; more water than you have ever seen in a play before, and eye popping magical illusions designed by the world famous illusionist, Paul Daniels. Exciting and magical family fun!

Wednesday 12 August, gates open at 2pm, performance starts at 3pm.

So, dust down the wicker basket, roll up the picnic blanket, chill the bubbly, perhaps pack a brolly (just in case!) and enjoy some great entertainment in the stunning setting of Epping Forest.

Ticket prices are £14.95 adult, £8.95 child (3-16), £3.95 infants.  Family tickets are also available (£45 for two adults and two children, £40 for two adults, one child and one infant).  To book, please telephone 020 7332 1911, or please visit www.illyria.uk.com.

Early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.  Refreshments available to purchase on the day (cash only).

For more information on Wanstead Park or for details of other exciting events in Epping Forest please visit www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/eppingforest or follow Epping Forest on Twitter @COLEppingForest.