Since its launch in 1983, Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival (in association with Everyman Theatre) has become a calendar highlight for a wide demographic of theatregoers in Wales. Over the years, it has grown from strength to strength, with over 14,000 visitors a year enjoying innovative interpretations of productions which aim to challenge and entertain audiences. Offering up Shakespeare, musicals, family shows, and light entertainment/comedy productions, the festival is a bag of pick‘n’mix waiting to be devoured by theatre lovers.
Held at Sophia Gardens, this year’s festival will showcase new takes on some well-known productions, alongside cinema singalongs, comedy and cabaret. There are two Shakespeare productions on offer: Much Ado About Nothing, one of his most frequently performed works, and back by popular demand, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. An amateur production of Jesus Christ Superstar, by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd, looks set to be a highlight as they retell the “greatest story ever told”, whilst fans of Disney and families in general will want to check out The Little Mermaid.
If comedy is more your thing, there will be laughs a plenty as you join Ted, Gladys and the Maplins gang for Hi-De-Hi [pictured], based on the vintage BBC comedy. You can also enjoy some Stand-Up In The Park, in partnership with Amnesty International Cardiff. Alternatively, if you just fancy a good old fashioned sing-song, Hello Cabaret In The Park will be right up your street, whilst Cinema In The Park will be bringing us singalong versions of two of the most iconic films in history, Grease and Rocky Horror Picture Show.
All of the performances will be under cover with tiered seating, which is a blessing considering the unpredictable Welsh weather in the summer. You can even hire a blanket for £2 if you’re feeling a little cold during the evening.
words KATRINA REES
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, Thurs 27 June-Sat 3 Aug. Tickets: £10-£18. Info: 0333 6663366 / www.cardiffopenairtheatrefestival.co.uk