The easing of government restrictions following the pandemic brings with it an air of excitement for theatre goers around the United Kingdom who finally have hope of seeing live performances once again.
Here in South Wales, the excitement is mounting as the award-winning Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival is making a summer return, this year touring to the heritage venues of Insole Court in Llandaff, Cardiff, and Tredegar House, in Newport.
By following the latest Welsh Government regulations, the festival has measures in place to keep casts, crew and audiences safe, including reduced audience numbers to enable social distancing.
This year’s Festival is staged with the ongoing support of members, audiences, and funding by the Third Sector Resilience Fund for Wales Phase 2 Scheme, administered by the WCVA.
Peter Harding-Roberts, Festival Chair, said ‘I am absolutely delighted that Everyman Theatre’s Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival is back, and that we are leading the way in bringing live theatre back to Wales. We are thrilled to be able to welcome audiences back to our performances, and whilst we have made some changes to help them go ahead, we’re excited to have the opportunity this year to take the festival on tour, before we hopefully return to our performance space in central Cardiff next summer.’
The festival includes four fabulous productions in its line-up to give theatre goers old and new a taste of exciting open-air performance.
William Shakespeare’s Richard III at Insole Court & Tredegar House
David Mercatali directs William Shakespeare’s Richard III (Insole Court 6th July – 9th July, 12th July – 17th July at 8pm Tredegar House 19th July – 24th July at 8pm). Shakespeare’s greatest villain is unleashed in a story of cunning plot and brutal murder. In his determination to right wrongs and take what is rightfully his, Richard of Gloucester, charms, schemes and murders his way to the throne on his way to becoming one of the most famous kings: Richard III. But who will come out on top in the end: our dastardly king or his many enemies?
Tickets for the production are £15 (no concession tickets available)
E Nesbit’s The Railway Children at Insole Court & Tredegar House
E Nesbit’s The Railway Children has long been regarded a family favourite and Mike Kenny’s stage adaptation directed by Simon H West shows great promise. (Performed at Insole Court 6th July – 9th July, 12th July – 17th July at 6pm and Tredegar House 19th July – 24th July at 6pm).
When Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis move to rural Yorkshire with their mother following the imprisonment of their father, they leave a comfortable, safe existence to discover a world that is insecure and hard, but one filled with love, resilience and humanity. And always running through that world is the railway, in particular the 9.15 to London. Tickets are £12 (£10 for children under 11 only).
JB Priestley’s The Rose and Crown at Insole Court
Another literary legend is JB Priestley and his story The Rose and Crown directed by Wayne Vincent (performed at Insole Court 11th and 18th July, 2pm) recreates the setting of a public bar in 1946. Into the bar comes an assortment of working-class characters who, with one notable exception, are fed up with life. Their conversations are interrupted by the arrival of a Stranger. Suddenly everyone finds they have a reason to live. The modern-day relevance of The Rose and Crown may surprise audiences. Tickets for the production are £10 (no concession tickets available)
William Shakespeare’s Henry V at Insole Court & Tredegar House
Finally, Everyman Youth Theatre are to present the 2021 Festival’s second William Shakespeare choice Henry V directed by Sarah Bawler (Insole Court Sunday 11 July, 8pm, Tredegar House Sunday 25 July, 8pm). Tickets £10 (no concession tickets available).
- Tickets for all Cardiff Open Air Festival Productions must be booked in advance and are available via www.cardiffopenairtheatrefestival.co.uk or by calling 0333 666 3366.