Pubs become summer theatre venues in brewer's deal

Pub gardens in London and the South East are to become makeshift open-air theatres a new deal between a brewer and a theatre company.

Open Bar, the company that performs plays in open spaces, and the pub chain Fuller’s have come together to present Love’s Labour’s Lost and As You Like It in 42 different pub gardens between July 12 and September 16..

“2020 was such a rollercoaster, and nowhere has that been felt more keenly than in the pub and restaurant trade, and in the performing arts” said Fuller’s brand manager Michael Trevena. “Fuller’s is in a position to invest in high quality performances and essentially act like an executive producer. The company pays for the package of everything from writing the script to casting, to production, to transportation.

“But it’s far from an altruistic venture - it’s an investment. We host the performances in our pub gardens and Fuller’s takes the ticket sales and any food and drink sales. We wanted to put in every effort to showcase the amazing work Open Bar does and provide our customers with an amazing experience. We really hope other brands consider following in our footsteps." 

Open Bar have chosen two Shakespeare plays full of comedy, romance and adventure, and have composed original songs to go with them.

"We’re used to making innovative theatre in unusual spaces, - our shows are designed to work with the elements and surroundings, not against them” said Open Bar’s founders Nicky Diss and Vicky Gaskin. “As the audience gets more enthusiastic (and often drunk, we are in a pub garden after all) we use it to our advantage. We feed off their energy. They don't have to understand every word but it's important that we take them with us - that they leave humming the tunes and still laughing at the gags.

“With Fuller’s, we are in the extraordinary position of being able to produce full-scale professional shows regardless of Covid-19 capacity restrictions, maintaining high production values, employing artists and dreaming bigger and better.” 

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