The Actors’ Church kicks off its sensational summer season with West End stars
Summer Season: May – September 2023
St Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, London, WC2E 9ED
The Actors’ Church has announced further events for Theatre in the Garden, its dedicated summer season filled with Shakespearean comedy, puppetry, comedy and new takes on classic tales. Eight visiting companies will bring a wide variety of innovative theatre to the Church’s award-winning gardens, marking a new era for the Actors’ Church. St Paul’s, world renowned as the Actors’ Church, lies at the heart of London’s West End. This follows Their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla’s visit to the Church in May, which was their first engagement since their Coronation.
Mark Robert Petty presents a series of events running throughout the summer, kicking off with Don’t Tell The Bishops! The After-Pride Concert on Sunday 2nd July at 7.30pm celebrating songs from LGBTQ+ themed musicals and classic Pop songs. The concert will raise money for the LGBT charity OneBodyOneFaith, which supports marriage equality in the Church of England. Following this a celebration of all things Wickedly Ever-Green…A Musical Theatre Celebration, which will take place on Sunday 16th July at 7.30pm, featuring 6 former stars of the musical. Completing the series is Masquerade…A Musical Theatre Celebration of The Phantom Of The Opera descends on the venue on Sunday 23rd July at 7.30pm
The Reverend Simon Grigg, Rector, comments, ‘We are delighted to have launched our summer season, with the triumph that was As You Like It, presented by The Three Inch Fools. Outdoor theatre is in our bones and this season will attest to that. But the West End also has its beating heart here in Covent Garden and we would be remiss not to celebrate Musical Theatre as part of our summer extravaganza. Our three electric concerts will delight and dazzle visitors with the cream of theatre talent, promising to produce a fabulous night of entertainment which may even see some “homegrown” talent return to the stage after a gap of over thirty years… but I of course, couldn’t possibly comment….’
Shakespeare in the Square stages Shakespeare in London’s garden spaces every summer. Their Patron is Dame Judi Dench, who is a great friend of St. Pauls. They will perform Shakespeare’s glorious romantic comedy of mistaken identity, Twelfth Night (30th June – 1st July) set in the roaring 1920s. This year’s production is kindly sponsored by Chestertons.
Tethered Wits will welcome audiences to the ultimate Jazz Age party, for an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece of American literature The Great Gatsby (17th – 24th August). The company will then bring a fun, family-friendly story of Doctor Dolittle (18th – 24th August) to the church, using magnificent puppetry to fill the courtyard with every kind of creature imaginable.
Troubadour Stageworks will stage a fast paced, high-energy version of Romeo + Juliet (5th – 8th July) suitable for all the family. Audiences will be whisked away on a magical visit to Verona, with newly composed music and even a dance or two. The company will also present a new adaption of The Odyssey (4th – 6th August) which is full of music and adventure – the perfect way to encounter a classic at any age.
Originally created in 2015 to critical acclaim, Henry I from Rabble Theatre returns at a time when its themes resonate more acutely than ever. Henry I is written by the company’s resident writer Beth Flintoff. Rabble Theatre are known for their award-winning historical seasons and championing the forgotten women of history.
Slapstick Picnic Peter Pan (13th – 15th July) is a theatrical treat like no other as they whip up a three hander version of JM Barrie’s classic tale Peter Pan. Let your imagination soar as they dish out this timeless tale of hapless pirates, revolting children and a particularly punctual reptile…
The award-winning Illyria Theatre Company return to St Paul’s with Jane Austen’s scandalous romcom Pride and Prejudice (1st – 2nd August). It flips the traditional costume drama on its head for a whirlwind of parties, romance, and gossip.
The Three Inch Fools return after the success of As You Like It, rushed off their feet performing the legendary folktale Robin Hood (1st – 3rd September) with a production which can only be described as disastrous.
To conclude the season the HandleBards, the company of cycling Shakespearean actors, will delight audiences with their hilarious, high-octane production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7th – 8th September). The company carry all their set, props and costumes on the back of their bikes, performing extremely energetic, charmingly chaotic and environmentally sustainable Shakespeare plays across the UK.