Experience the magic of open-air theatre at Kew Gardens this summer

Set against the backdrop of Kew Garden and Wakehurst, performances of Twelfth Night and The Jungle Book reimagine classic stories for a new generation.

Release date: 20 June 2022

  • Sixteenfeet Productions present two open-air productions this summer as part of Theatre on Kew.
  • Experience Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare performed against the stunning backdrop of Kew’s Great Pagoda.
  • Families and adventurous adults can enjoy The Jungle Book both at Kew and at Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex.
  • Free entry to the Gardens on the day with each ticket.

This summer, Sixteenfeet Productions bring their unique style of site-specific theatre to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for the first time.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Kew Gardens’ 320-acre UNESCO World Heritage site and with a limited season of performances at Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, these performances promise to enchant audiences of all ages, reimagining classic stories for a new generation within magical natural environments.

Twelfth Night

As twilight falls at Kew Gardens, a tale of passion, revenge and laughter begins to unfold. As the lovesick Duke Orsino pines for the beautiful Countess Olivia, Viola is separated from her twin brother Sebastian by a shipwreck. A hilarious love-triangle ensues, compounded by the mischievous antics of Sir Toby Belch and his companions. This explosive mix of mistaken identities, riotous fun and live music transports audiences to the 1930s, where nothing is quite as it appears.  Directed by Peter Hamilton Dyer, known for his success at Shakespeare’s Globe and with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and with set design by Ceci Calf (Tapped, Yes So I Said Yes, How To Survive an Apocalypse), and Costume design by Isobel Pellow this site-specific production promises to immerse and enchant audiences at Kew this summer.

The Jungle Book

Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli Stories, The Jungle Book by Andrew S. Walsh tells the much-loved tale of Mowgli and her adventures, as she meets the wise panther Bagheera, the noble wolf Akela and the irrepressible bear Baloo. With original music and lyrics by Guy Holden and directed by Shane Dempsey, and designed by Alison Taylor this acclaimed production allows visitors of all ages to help Mowgli as she journeys through the jungle, avoiding Kaa the python and crossing paths with the infamous tiger Shere Khan. Coming to life along Kew Gardens’ Syon Vista and within the wild surroundings of Wakehurst in Sussex, Sixteenfeet’s production of The Jungle Book shines a unique light on the vital relationship between humanity and the natural world, inviting visitors of all ages to learn about the Law of the Jungle and engage with a host of memorable characters.

Caroline Funnell, Artistic Director of Sixteenfeet, says: “Outdoor theatre promotes a wonderful relationship that breaks the wall between the actor and audience, so they’re both immersed in the story that’s being told. This seems new, but interaction and audience participation is in the best Shakespearian tradition. Add a picnic, a glass of wine, the stunning environment at Kew Gardens and a magical summer experience awaits.”

Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprises at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, adds: I’m delighted to be able to continue our tradition of open-air theatre performances at Kew Gardens and Wakehurst this summer. The unique style and approach of Sixteenfeet promises something very special for audiences to enjoy, as these two enchanting productions are brought to life within the most spectacular of natural surroundings.”

Tickets for Twelfth Night and The Jungle Book are available to book now via www.theatreonkew.co.uk. Free entry to the Gardens on the day of the performance with every ticket.


For more information, please contact the Press Office at pr@kew.org.

Notes to Editors

About Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. Kew Gardens’ 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.5 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 260th anniversary in 2019. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG Kew receives approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support RBG Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

About Sixteenfeet Productions

Sixteenfeet Productions, a not-for-profit company has been producing site specific promenade theatre since 2008; re-imagining classic stories for a new generation. The productions embed the stories within the natural settings of walled gardens, parks, and green spaces. This introduces children to an accessible theatre experience as well as to the beauty of the natural environment. The setting becomes the world of the play within which we use props, costumes, and live music to tell our stories.

The synthesis of original music and lyrics imaginatively deliver the core and spirit of well-loved tales for a modern audience. Sixteenfeet strive to be accessible, diverse, and sustainable and aim to reflect these across all projects and productions.

Sixteenfeet also run an educational programme with workshops to support our productions and encourage engagement with the arts in areas where it is not as accessible. The Lambeth Voices Programme works with the local community, increasing participation in and access to creative opportunities.

Sixteenfeet Productions need your support to share the magic of outdoor theatre with families across London and the South West to ensure we continue to engage all communities in cultural opportunities and share the beauty of our parks and gardens. 

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Listings Information

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3JR

29th July – 29th August 2022, performances Wednesday – Sunday at 7.30pm, 120 minutes (including 20 minute interval)

Directed by Peter Hamilton Dyer

Set Design by Ceci Calf

Costume Design by Isobel Pellow

Tickets - £46 Adults | £17 Children

Members- £43 Adults | £15 Children

Free entry to the Kew Gardens on the day of the performance with every ticket

The Jungle Book, inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli Stories

Written by Andrew S. Walsh

Original music and lyrics by Guy Holden

Directed by Shane Dempsey

Designed by Alison Taylor

Age recommendation 5+


Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3JR

23rd July – 21st August, performances Tuesday – Sunday at 11am and 2pm, 70 minutes

Tickets - £22.90 Adults | £15.90 Children

Members- £19.90 Adults | £12.90 Children

Free entry to the Kew Gardens on the day of the performance with every ticket

Wakehurst, Selsfield Rd, Haywards Heath RH17 6TN

25th August – 30th August, performances Thursday – Tuesday at 11am and 2pm, Saturday 27th August at 2.30pm and 5pm, 70 minutes

Tickets - £17 Adults | £13.90 Children

Members- £16 Adults | £13.90 Children

Free admission to Wakehurst on the day of the performance with every ticket.

Group tickets are available for The Jungle Book at both Kew Gardens at Wakehurst