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Lucy Popescu’s theatre news: Open Air theatre opens; 846; Blindness; ROH Faust

24 July, 2020 — By Lucy Popescu

Juliet Stevenson voices characters in Blindness at The Donmar Warehouse. Photo: Trevor Leighton

REGENT’S Park Open Air Theatre will be among the first London theatres to welcome back audiences with 70 live performances in August and September. The theatre is presenting a special concert staging of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar from Friday August 14, to Sunday,September 27. The venue capacity is reduced to 390 seats and the running time is 90 minutes with no interval. There is priority booking for members. Book tickets online at or call 0333 400 3562

ON May 25, a police officer in Minneapolis killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. In the aftermath of Floyd’s brutal murder, acclaimed playwright Roy Williams brought together 14 writers to respond artistically to Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement. The end result is 846 – a collection of short pieces, directed by Ola Ince with a soundscape by Donato Wharton, available for free on Stratford East’s website. Each is a standalone exploration of racial inequality and oppression, but together they form a powerful tapestry of voices. 846 will be adapted and performed live as part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival on Saturday, September 12. Note that 846 contains strong language and discusses themes some may find upsetting. Visit:

THE Donmar Warehouse is to reopen temporarily from August 3-22 with a socially distanced sound installation of Blindness, based on the dystopian novel by José Saramago, adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Walter Meierjohann. This hour-long ticketed installation for a limited number of visitors will run four times a day, with seating arranged two metres apart in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Juliet Stevenson voices the Storyteller/Doctor’s wife. Visitors will listen on head­­phones to this gripping story of an unimaginable global pandemic – and its hopeful conclusion – featuring an immersive sound design using binaural technology. An audio-described or captioned digital version of the installation will also be available for purchase for those not able to attend in person. Tickets are selling fast. Visit:

GOUNOD’S Faust (1859) was one of the world’s most popular operas from the 1860s until the Second World War. The story, adapted by Gounod’s librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré’s play Faust et Marguerite, is based on Part I of Goethe’s epic poem Faust. Gounod’s masterpiece is given the Royal Opera House treatment in David McVicar’s multi-layered production. It is set in Second Empire Paris and features spectacular sets, costumes and extensive dance. Online until July 30. Visit:


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