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The Roman Theatre Open Air Festival 2024

Welcome from OVO's Artistic Director, Adam Nichols

We’re so excited to bring you an incredible line-up of theatre and music in the 2024 Roman Theatre Open Air Festival – our tenth anniversary season at the oldest producing theatre in the UK.

For this landmark year we have – as you would expect – an amazing array of bold and imaginative spins on classic plays and stories, including brand-new adaptions of English classics and the return of some iconic audience favourites from OVO and visiting companies.

We will open with the return of OVO’s critically acclaimed production The Merry Wives of Windsor, last seen in the pandemic year, in which the classic Shakespeare comedy receives an 80s makeover in an “inventive and laugh-out-loud remodelling” (Daily Express).

The season rounds out with The Highwayman – a sexy, darkly funny and deeply moving new musical based on the narrative poem by Alfred Noyes, with book, music and lyrics by Kitty Morgan, in an OVO co-production with Norwich Theatre.

In other co-productions, OVO will present a fresh new reimaging of Sense and Sensibility, adapted by award winning Scottish playwright Frances Poet, with Pitlochry Festival Theatre; the medieval poem Gawain and the Green Knight will be brought to life on stage with Make It Beautiful, and an imaginative contemporary mashup of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and The Seagull will challenge preconceptions with Knuckledown.

Changeling Theatre presents thrilling restagings of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter and Henry V, Jack Dean and Company present a folk/indie gig theatre reimagining of Christopher Marlowe’s poem based on the Greek myth Hero and Leander, and the Kernow Chamber Players premiere a new opera version of Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Rogue Shakespeare makes its Roman Theatre debut with multi award-winning playwright Ryan J-W Smith’s Pretty, Witty Nell, in an exciting double bill with Shakespeare’s lost play Loves Labour’s Won, alongside humorous reimaging MacDeath! (completing the tenth edition’s incredible variety of Shakespeare restagings) and Elizabethan comedy Sweet Love Adieu.

This year’s festival also showcases the best theatre talent from the local community with St Albans Musical Theatre Company presenting the coming-of-age rock musical Spring Awakening, Act4 Productions producing the beloved Sondheim musical Into the Woods and OVO’s new youth and community ensemble presenting The Secret Garden.

In addition to a stellar line-up of theatre shows, OVO will present a series of incredible music events this summer. Classical Chorus will delight audiences with a medley of classical greats, followed by a concert of song and spoken word with Jez Lowe, Bob Fox & Julie Matthews, presented by St Albans Folk Music. St Albans based ukulele group, the Ver Players, will return to the Roman Theatre with a brand-new production celebrating The Beatles to round off the month.

You can click here to view the Festival Calendar and see an overview of performances that will take place over the summer.

We cannot wait to welcome you back to the Roman Theatre this summer. See you soon!

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