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The best open air theatres this summer

Pack your picnic basket and breathe in the culture! More than 40 shows of the Bard, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Noel Coward and, erm Gangsta Granny, in our definitive Warwickshire guide to al fresco theatre.

Words: Rhiannon Pursall

Dreamy Austen tales, classic Shakespeare romps and children’s delights in picturesque places…

 

Coughton Court, Alcester 

Classic stories told in the grounds of an imposing Tudor residence.

 

Packwood House, Lapworth 

Pick your spot amongst the topiary, alongside the much-restored Tudor mansion.

 

Shakespeare’s Family Homes 

series of open-air performances in the beautiful surroundings of Shakespeare’s family homes.

Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, Stratford upon Avon

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, Stratford upon Avon

Hall’s Croft, Old Town, Stratford upon Avon

 

The Dell, Avonbank Gardens, Stratford upon Avon 

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

On weekends during the summer the Royal Shakespeare Company’s outdoor theatre, The Dell, plays host to a range of lively student, community and semi-professional productions. All of the productions in this quaint riverside setting in Avonbank Gardens, near Holy Trinity Church, are free. New for this year is an ingenious app allowing audiences to receive captions on their phones – perfect if you’re hard-of-hearing or at the back!

The 2019 programme includes, amongst many others:

 

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve 

Shimmy up to nature at this wonderfully wild venue and enjoy a classic from the Bard (yes, you’ll probably be amongst shrews. See what they did there).

 

Heartbreak Productions 

Wuthering Heights

This hugely popular, engaging and interactive Leamington-based theatre company are touring across the whole of the UK. including Ireland. with Romeo and Juliet,  Noel Coward’s Private LivesGangsta Granny and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights in Summer 2019. You can catch them in our ‘hood at:

Coombe Abbey, Binley – The grandiose Abbey is perfectly suited for a performance of Emily Bronte’s deep novel under the night skies.

Hillclose Gardens, Warwick – Settle yourself amongst botanical beauty and feed a multiple of senses in this intimate garden setting.

Brueton Park, Solihull

Ryton Pools, nr Bubbenhall, Coventry

Bosworth Battlefield, Sutton Cheney, CV13 0AD

Packwood House

Foundry Wood, Leamington Spa

Warley Woods The Pavilion, 101 Lightwoods Hill, Smethwick, 

Kingsbury Water Park, Sutton Coldfield

The Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa

If you’re travelling elsewhere in the country over the summer holidays pop your postcode on the website and see what’s closest here.

 

FURTHER AFIELD:

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon,  8 Jul – 7 Sept 

Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre pitches up for summer, with Blenheim being its second venue following a successful inaugural season in York last year. The 13-sided scaffolding theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’, will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows. Showing this summer is MacbethA Midsummer Night’s DreamRichard III and Romeo & Juliet (8 Jul – 7 Sept).

 

Regent’s Park, London

The most famous of them all, Regent’s Park’s theatre is set within beautifully landscaped grounds where you can picnic on the lawns, enjoy food from the barbecue, café or covered dining and prop up the West End’s longest bar. Showing this year:  A Midsummer Night’s Dream (28 Jun – 27 Jul) and Evita featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Prices £23 – £63.

 

BEEN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

The Dell, Avonbank Gardens, Stratford upon Avon 

Heartbreak Productions 

Caldecott Park, Rugby

Find more ideas here

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