Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is to reopen despite the financial challenges of staging large-scale shows with a smaller audience.
The London theatre will present a special concert staging of its production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.
The venue will return with 30% of its usual capacity because of social distancing.
The Government announced last week that outdoor theatres in England can reopen.
The theatre’s executive director, William Village, said that “with social distancing, seating capacity has been dramatically reduced to 390 seats” (from 1,256).
“This makes producing any large-scale show economically extremely challenging, particularly as we are an unfunded organisation,” he said.
“Nevertheless, both for us as a venue, and the industry as a whole, we believe it is incumbent upon us to do everything possible to reopen this year.”
There will be 70 live performances in August and September, including one-off comedy events, and the theatre will follow government guidance on safety “meticulously”.
Performers will be socially distanced from each other and the audience, there will be enhanced cleaning, one-way systems, mandatory face coverings, temperature checks, paperless and cashless systems, and multiple hand sanitiser stations.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre said it is the first London theatre to welcome back audiences.
Rob Beckett, Russell Brand and Jimmy Carr are among the names taking part in one-off comedy events on Monday evenings.
– Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert opens on August 14. Booking opens at 11am on July 21.