'We shall be working against a backdrop of real trees and the London skyline,' says Jonathan Petherbridge, the Bubble's director. 'Our view is that the environment will enhance the play.'
The play this year is an adaptation by Farhana Sheikh of Tales from the Arabian Nights (right), promising exotic flights of fancy and some colourful costume designs by carnival wiz, Keith Khan.
'The action takes place on five separate stages and the audience will follow us around the park, covering about half a mile,' says Petherbridge, who once did an open-air Gone With The Wind on the Welsh coast.
But why dump the big orange tent, the Bubble's jolly trademark these past 20 years?
'I was worried that we were getting a bit stale, we needed a shake-up. The tent was wacky in the Seventies when the Bubble first started, but you can't go on trying to repeat the same thing year after year. You have to move on.'
In fact the company has moved on in a number of directions under Petherbrldge. It runs two youth theatres in Southwark and Bexley, and works with a homeless group, Cardboard Citizens, touring the country with shows that reflect the members' problems and concerns. It is also developing a new musical about race relations for a production in 1995. Tent or no tent, it continues to provide London with a breath of fresh air.
The Bubble Theatre is at Chiswick House Grounds 30 Jul-7 Aug; Richmond Green 4-5 Aug; Maryon Wilson Park, Greenwich, 10-14 Aug; Ravensbury Park, Mitcham, 17-21 Aug; Valentine's Park, Ilford, 24-28 Aug (071-237 1663)
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