Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival – Wales’s biggest theatre festival launches 2017 programme

I had the privilege to be invited to this years Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festivals launch.

Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival takes place during the summer at Sophia Gardens, Sophia Close, Cardiff CF11 9HW.

The launch took place at the beautiful No.10 Cathedral Road (formally Jolyons)

Upon arriving I was welcomed by Chairman Paul Williams who did a fantastic job portraying Rene in last years Allo Allo  (my husband was star struck!)

Paul is a bit of a Festival Veteran having been involved from the very beginning 35 years ago in Dyffryn Gardens, where he played the romantic lead in Winter’s Tale

Paul was to talk about this years upcoming productions and introduce us to some of the directors and actors who will be hot topic at this years Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival. Paul had this to say about the festival –

‘We have a team of around 200 people working or volunteering at the festival. Its such a brilliant part of Cardiff summer. So many passionate people get involved, and its brilliant to see how much the audience enjoy it – it makes all the hard work worth it. We’re proud to offer theatre of the highest quality without an elitist price tag’

Starting with just one Shakespearean production in the early 1980’s, adding a family show in 1998; a musical in 1992  and a light entertainment show in 2012 . The Festival has grown into the largest Open Air Theatre Festival in Wales and the second biggest outside Regent’s Park in London, attracting over 20,000 people a year.

The Festival kicks off on 22nd June with the uproariously funny – Spamalot the Musical – the Monty Python Classic.  Based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, directed by the Richard Tunley and Musical Direction from Rob Thorne Junior.

Spamalot the Musical will run from 22nd June – 1st July Book Here

Second is The Vicar of Dibley  up on the 6th July.  Directed by Richard Nicholls and starring Fiona Porter-Smith as the fun loving Vicar – Geraldine Grainger. This has already proved really popular, tickets are selling fast! 

The Vicar of Dibley will run from 6th July – 15th July Book Here

On the 20th July comes the very dark and gruesome Macbeth, Directed by Simon H West the Shakespeare play is about Treachery, Murder and Black Magic! .

Macbeth will run from 20th July – 29th July Book Here

From the 22nd July the festival is proud to present Disney’s Aladdin Jnr produced by AndGo Theatre and Directed and Choreographed by Emma- Jane Parker. Aladdin Junior will be running for two performances during the day of Macbeth and feature some of South Wales’ most talented youngsters.

I caught up with Emma- Jane Parker who had this to say about this years family friendly show-

We are to bring the magic of Disney outdoors with a fast paced, highly entertaining family show that takes you on the magical carpet ride of your life; all in a very child friendly 1 hour performance. Emma said it has been quite difficult to portray on stage but everyone is in for a treat this year. Children will be amazed whilst adults will feel a little nostalgic reliving the magic of Disney’s Aladdin.

Last year Disney’s Peter Pan sold out fast so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Disney’s Aladdin will run from 22nd July – 29th July Book Here

Then we come to the new programme additions:

On Sunday 25th June working closely with Amnesty International the festival will bring a night of Stand Up Comedy (details to publish in the near future). This will be both a fundraiser and to raise awareness of the fantastic work that Amnesty are involved in throughout the world.

This year the festival welcomes HELLO CABARET produced by Dan Fulham.

Hello Cabaret is a new musical theatre cabaret event, which celebrates and explores musical theatre, showcasing amazing professional artists and nurturing emerging talent.

HELLO CABARET make their festival debut on Sunday 9th July Book Here
Finally, the festival welcome back Everyman Youth Theatre under the fabulous direction of Sarah Bawler who will be performing ‘Twelfth Night’ on 23rd July.

To support the stars of our future in ‘Twelfth Night’  Book Here

As well as celebrating the Festival Launch we were also at the launch to celebrate a new partnership with No 10 a beautiful boutique hotel.

Well known hotelier Hugh Hilary is the new owner of this beautiful boutique hotel. An old friend of Paul Williams, Hugh has previously held the position of General Manager with Park Hotel and more recently General Manager of the Park Plaza Hotel, Cardiff. Also hailing from the Park Plaza Hotel is No.10’s current General Manager, Jordan Lewis. Suffice to say that a high pedigree of new ownership and management can be expected from No.10.

No.10 will be offering pre-theatre suppers for the duration of the Festival from 6.00pm every evening.

Below you will find a sample menu of the pre-theatre supper. The menu will change daily, Where possible using locally sourced produce.

Everyman Pre-Theatre Menu
July 2017

Soup of the Day, Freshly Baked Bread
Prawn & Crayfish Cocktail, Bloody Mary Granita
Ham-Hock Terrine, Piccalilli Flavours

Hot Smoked Salmon, Crushed New Potatoes & Spinach, Chive Butter Sauce
Pressed Pork Belly, Dauphinoise Potatoes, Peas & Spring Onion, Cider Sauce
Roast Chicken Breast, Colcannon Mash, Tomato & Mascarpone Sauce
Home-Made Gnocchi, Summer Veg & Local Goats’ Curd

A Selection of House Ice-Creams & Sorbets
Classic Lemon Tart & Chantilly Cream
Chocolate Brownie with Raspberry Coulis & Sorbet

2 Courses £15.50
3 Courses £18.50

My husband and I got to try some canapes, the presentation was superb and they tasted even better! I must admit I am very much looking forward to a pre theatre supper in this very welcoming boutique Hotel.

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Not only did we get to try some moreish canapes and hear about the upcoming festival shows, we were blown away with by the very theatrical and beautiful singing voice of Laura Phillips who is to play the Lady of the Lake in this years Spamalot.

If a pre-theatre supper is not your thing then dont panic – there is an open bar at the festival.

So now you have had a sneak peak at what is on at this summers Open Air Theatre Festival I do hope to see some of you there!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Facebook for more information on the Charity Stand Up Comedy night and to see my reviews of this years productions.




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