It will begin performances July 15, 2016, prior to an official opening July 21, for a run through Aug. 27. It will be directed by artistic director Timothy Sheader, with choreography by Drew McOnie.
Sheader will also open the season by staging Running Wild, Samuel Adamson's stage version of Michael Morpurgo's book of the same name that was first staged at Chichester Festival Theatre's youth company. Now it is to receive its professional premiere, co-directed with its original Chichester director, Dale Rooks. It features puppetry design and direction by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié, both previous associate puppetry directors on the stage version of War Horse that is still running at London's New London Theatre. It will begin performances May 13 prior to an official opening May 19, for a run through June 12.
Described as a story of love, loss, loyalty and of living for the moment, Running Wild revolves around Will and his mother, for whom going to Indonesia isn't just a holiday. It's a new start, and the chance for Will to ride an elephant called Oona. But then the tsunami hit. Charging deep into the jungle Oona escapes the beach, but with her rider still clinging on, Will must now learn to survive the rainforest – and he is not alone.
The season will also see a new production of Henry V, directed by Robert Hastie, Donmar Warehouse's associate director who has staged Splendour and My Night with Reg there, beginning performances June 17, prior to an official opening June 22, for a run through July 9.
Finally, the theatre's 2013 production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, adapted for the stage by Simon Reade and directed by Deborah Bruce, will be reprised, beginning performances Sept. 2 for a run through Sept. 17, prior to a major U.K. tour. The theatre's production of Lord of the Flies is currently on a U.K. tour, through March 2016. In a press statement, Sheader commented, "In a year when the world celebrates the life and work of Shakespeare, our 2016 season champions British writing. Whilst giving classics a new voice through outdoor production, I am delighted to be bringing a new play, Running Wild, to the stage this season. I am passionate about storytelling and of creating work that enhances the shared experience of theatregoing, and I look forward to sharing these productions with our audiences."
Priority booking for members opens Nov. 12, with general booking from Dec. 8. To book, contact the box office on 0844 826 4242 or visit www.openairtheatre.com.