The Lord of the Flies begins performances May 19, 2011, prior to an official opening May 25, for a run through June 18. It is directed by the theatre's artistic director, Timothy Sheader, designed by Jon Bauser and is adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams. With a group of schoolboys stranded on a desert island, what starts as an adventure becomes a struggle for survival as superstition and immorality sees the community slide into a darkly sinister world. According to press materials, the production will aim to "rediscover this classic story in the unconfined and unparalleled atmosphere of theatre in the open air."
It is followed by John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, beginning performances June 23 prior to an official opening June 28, for a run through July 23. It is directed by Lucy Bailey and deisgned by William Dudley, with original music arranged by Roddy Skeaping. Set beneath the gallows of rural Tyburn, at the far end of Oxford Street, this comically corrupt satire revolves around highwayman Macheath, a lover of wine, women and song, whose tangled web of lies and deceit unravels as his lovers get revenge. The score of lewd songs and low ballads will be recreated from the original pastoral score and played on authentic instruments by The City Waits, led by Roddy and Lucie Skeaping.
Continuing the successful series of Shakespeare plays for younger audiences, Perciles begins performances July 2 for a morning and matinee performance run through July 23. The play, making its first appearance at the Open Air Theatre since 1939, will be re-imagined for everyone aged six and over from July 2. The young prince, Pericles, takes to the high seas on a quest to discover the world. An odyssey adventure of shipwrecks, tournaments and of love lost, and found, this is a journey into manhood and a celebration of family.
Finally, Crazy for You, with songs by George and Ira Gershwin and book by Ken Ludwig, will begin performances July 28, prior to an official opening Aug. 8, for a run through Sept. 10. It is directed by Timothy Sheader and choreographed by Stephen Mear, who were also behind the theatre's production of Hello, Dolly! Designs are by Peter McKintosh and musical direction by Gareth Valentine. Including such songs as "I Got Rhythm," "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Embraceable You" and "Nice Work if You Can Get It," the original 1992 production won both the Tony and Olivier Awards for Best New Musical.
The 2011 season will follow what became the most successful year in the theatre's history with more than 142,000 visitors across the 16-week run of May to September 2010. Into the Woods became the highest-grossing single production at the theatre taking £1.2 million in five weeks, while The Comedy of Errors became the most successful Shakespeare play. Priority booking for members opens Nov. 23, with public booking from Jan. 11, 2011. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 826 4242, or visit www.openairtheatre.com.