London’s Free Open Air Theatre Season returns to The Scoop at London Bridge City with the world premiere of The Sea Queen, a one-hour family show about the Irish pirate Grainne O’Malley, and Shakespeare’s popular romantic comedy Twelfth Night. The productions form an integral part to the programming for Summer by the River festival which runs throughout June, July and August.

As with all the events here, there’s no need to book – just turn up and take a seat! There’s room for 1,000 people at every performance.”

These two plays and their two respective heroines, Grainne and Viola, will place the stories of strong, independent women at the heart of our season. It will also be the first year that one of the plays of William Shakespeare is being presented by the Company. Telling classic narratives in modern ways, with strong female role models, is central to the approach being taken by this season’s director, Rae McKen.

McKen said: “I believe that the free season of theatre at The Scoop provides an opportunity for audiences from all backgrounds (young and old, seasoned theatregoers and first timers, and those for whom the cost of theatre is prohibitive) to see excellent shows in a wonderful, communal setting. This year I am so happy to have the opportunity to direct a wonderful, talented cast, as diverse as our audiences in one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies as well as the tale of Grainne O’Mhaille.”

‘The Sea Queen’

Join Grainne O’Malley; pirate, chieftain and Irish queen of the seas, as she sets sail on her greatest adventure yet. Her family are prisoners, held in the dark dungeons of Dublin Castle by the evil Sir Richard Bingham. To save their lives she must embark for London, overcoming storms, buccaneers, and mutiny, before finally facing her implacable foe; England’s Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I. Based on the true story of Ireland’s legendary 16th century heroine, this voyage is for anyone who has dreamed of an ocean adventure. Come dance a jig, sing a sea shanty and live the life of a sea queen. Written by Daniel Winder.

‘Twelfth Night’

Experience Shakespeare’s famous tale of unrequited love in all its hilarious and heartbreaking splendour, entirely for free. Separated from her twin Sebastian in a shipwreck, Viola must fend for herself in a strange land. Havoc ensues through mistaken identity and heartache as Viola falls in love with Orsino, who dotes on Olivia, who falls for Viola but is idolised by Malvolio… ‘I am all the daughters of my father’s house, And all the brothers too.’

Family Workshops: Running in tandem with the shows will be a series of free Saturday theatre workshops for families in nearby Hay’s Galleria – why not make a day of it and enjoy one of the free performances of ‘The Sea Queen’ after the workshop? Workshops are at 11am, an hour long and are drop in – no need to book.

O’Malleys Crew 10 August

Grainne O’Malley, queen of the Sea, is seeking bold buccaneers for her crew. Become a pirate queen with this free theatre workshop.

Sea-Shanty Scallywags 17 August

“Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirate’s Life for Me” Come learn a tune and sing with performers from London’s Free Open Air Theatre Season. Learn traditional Irish Folk and sing songs of the sea, perfect for any voice whether a mermaid’s or walrus’s!

Davy Jones’ Crafting 24 August

Create your own loot to hide in Davy Jones’ Locker! A workshop that’s perfect for pirates who love arts and crafts.

The Sailors’ Hornpipe 31 August

Join the crew of Grainne O’Malley and learn a jig like a true sailor of the sea.

London’s Free Open Air Theatre Season will run at Scoop, More London, SE1 2AA from Thursday 8 August – Sunday 1 September with both shows playing nightly, Wednesday – Sunday. ‘The Sea Queen’ at 6.00pm & ‘Twelfth Night’ at 8.00pm. Admission: Free.