The Handbook
The Handbook

From outdoor dining to movie drive-ins, everything has been given the alfresco makeover this summer and theatre is set to be no different. Sure, the British weather might be a little unpredictable but outdoor theatres provide you with entertainment, laughter and a family-friendly day out. 

From Shakespeare’s favourite tale of two star crossed lovers to a fun reenactment of Robin Hood, here are the best outdoor theatre shows to catch this summer. Just make sure you pack a raincoat for that potential downpour.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s Globe 

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is centred around the longest day of light, the summer solstice and Shakespeare’s Globe’s production returns for a summer season. 

This heartfelt comedy is riddled with some of Shakespeare’s finest poetry. Following two sets of lovers, Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius, who run off to take refuge in the woods as the Duke of Athens tries to marry off Demetrius and Hermia, and find themselves wandering amongst the king and queen of the fairies. Expect bright and beautiful costumes nuzzled amongst the woodland scenes.

Dates: 19th May – 30th October 

Where: 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT

Romeo & Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Fall back in love with Shakespeare’s greatest love story as it makes a scheduled arrival at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this summer. 

Kimberley Sykes will be taking on the challenge of directing Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet at London’s finest outdoor theatre in Regent’s Park. Running from 17th June until 24th July, the production will be running in line with the Government’s restrictions, which means all performances will be running at a reduced capacity to allow social distancing to occur. 

Dates: 17th June – 24th July 

Where: The Regent’s Park, Inner Circle, NW1 4NU

The Alfresco Theatre, Syon Park 

Brought to you from the creators of Pub in the Park, The Alfresco Theatre does exactly what it says on the tin. Expect five days of big-screen movies, comedy gigs, live theatre and music acts to be making its way to Syon Park in June.

Scheduled to arrive at Syon Park 9th – 13th June, the moveable theatre experience brings with it an eclectic mix of family-friendly fun to West London. On the theatre front, your little ones are about to be in awe as their favourite story of Gruffalo comes to life on the big stage. Join Mouse as they embark on an adventure in search of the rumoured Gruffalo. 

Alongside the theatre performances, catch comedy legends Mark Watson, Nina Conti and Ivo Graham as they make you roar with laughter for the night, while The Bootleg Beatles pump out your favourite Beatles songs. The Alfresco Theatre also doubles as a movie drive-in, showcasing the best of Hollywood’s favourites. Think JoJo Rabbit, The Greatest Showman and Dirty Dancing. 

They’ll also be pulling up at other UK locations too so make sure to check out those as well.

Dates: 9th – 13th June 

Where: Brent Lea, Brentford, TW8 8JF

Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 

Returning in August, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival will celebrate its 26th anniversary this year. Book in for a summer extravaganza filled with free outdoor performances from some of the world’s rising stars. This year’s performance programme is yet to be announced but last year saw over 21,000 audience members join together for 150 socially distanced performances. 

Dates: 27th August – 11th September

Where: Greenwich

A little further afield…

The Hawth is set to return with the family-friendly favourite directed by Sarah Slator.

Robin Hood, The Hawth

Armed with your own trusty bow and arrow, join The Hawth as it’s transformed into Sherwood Forest for a magical retelling of the folklore favourite, Robin Hood. 

Following the success of their first in-house production, Treasure Island, The Hawth is set to return with the family-friendly favourite directed by Sarah Slator. Performed on The Hawth’s outdoor woodland amphitheatre, join Robin and his Merry Men as they take on the Sheriff in stage fights. Expect sing-a-longs and live music throughout. 

Dates: 8th – 11th July

Where: The Hawth Amphitheatre, Hawth Ave, Crawley, RH10 6YZ

And Then Come the Nightjars, Minack Theatre

Tie in this theatrical performance with your summer Cornish getaway you’ve got booked in the coming months, and catch And Then Comes the Nightjars at the breathtaking beautiful Minack Theatre. Set surrounded by crystal blue seas, this theatre is truly spectacular and well worth the visit. 

Set during 2001, the performance follows farmer Michael and local veg Jeffrey as they sit awaiting the birth of a calf on Michael’s farm. The threat of Foot and Mouth disease is looming outside but it’s closer to home the pair have bigger troubles. 

You’ll want to head to the Minack Theatre for the views alone.

Dates: 25th May – 3rd June 

Where: The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Penzance, TR19 6JU

Mr Stink, Brighton Open Air Theatre

Catch the adaptation of David Walliams’ curious tale of Mr Stink as it heads on stage at the Brighton Open Air Theatre this June. Located within Dyke Road Park, the theatre is surrounded by greenery and provides the perfect intimate setting for this family-friendly favourite. 

Join Annabelle as she celebrates 10th birthday with a giant party hosted by MP candidate, Janet Crumb. Everyone in the area is invited except Chloe’s newest friend, Mr Stink. Chloe met Mr Stink, an incredibly smelly homeless man and his loyal four-legged friend, the Duchess, on a park bench and soon sparked up an invigorating, rewarding friendship which sees them head on live television and Downing Street via a garden shed…

Dates: 4th – 6th June 

Where: Brighton Open Air Theatre, Dyke Road, Hove, BN3 6EH

Want to receive more great articles like this every day: sign up here