There are few better ways to bask in those balmy summer evenings than outdoor theatre at some of the UK’s most picturesque locations - and with the Bank Holiday Weekend coming up (oh yeah!), it's time to make the most of what we have of the summer. Luckily, theatergoers are more than spoilt for choice for that alfresco fix and we've rounded-up our pick of the UK’s must-visit venues. From the iconic Regent’s Park open-air theatre to the historic Chatsworth House, don’t forget to pack a blanket, cushion and a bottle of red…
1. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Be prepared to get distracted from the Pride and Prejudice-esque stately home as you enjoy Romeo and Juliet. Settle back and be swept up in its breathtaking garden amid forbidden love and feuding families.
Best for: Period drama devotees
Where: Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP.
When: 20th August
Tickets: £15. www.chatsworth.org
2. The Scoop, London
Part of the annual More London Free Festival, thrifty theatre-loving Londoners should look no further than Southbank’s 1,000 seat outdoor amphitheatre. Celebrating its 12th year, enjoy award-winning theatre set against the spectacular backdrop of Tower Bridge and the Thames.
Best for: Those on a budget
Where: Queen’s Walk, More London, London, SE1 2DB
When: 6 – 31 August
Tickets: Free entry; cushion £1. www.morelondon.com
3. Minack Theatre, Cornwall
Carved into a cliff overlooking the ocean, it’s theatre as you’ve never experienced it before! Be prepared to get distracted from the world-class theatrical line-up by one of the most picturesque backdrops on the planet. Highlights include A Midsummer’s Night Dream (August 11–15) and Dracula (September 22-26).
Best for: A unique setting
Where: Porthcurno, Penzance, Cornwall, TR19 6JU
When: Until 28 September
Tickets: £5 - £11.50; cushion £1. www.minack.com
4. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London
King of the outdoor theatres, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s atmospheric award-winning venue is unmissable. Surrounded by trees twinkling with fairy lights in a secluded corner of Regent’s Park, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were miles away from the hustle and bustle of London. Whether you’re a seasoned theatergoer or a newbie, prepare to be enchanted.
Best for: A city retreat
Where: Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4NU.
When: Until 13 September
Tickets: From £25. openairtheatre.com
5. Arundel Castle, Sussex
Steeped in history and surrounded by acres of picturesque landscaped grounds, catch Shakespeare’s literary feats in one of the most magnificent castles in the UK, if not the world.
Best for: Medieval magic
Where: Arundel Castle, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 9AB
When: 21 – 23 August
Tickets: £26. www.arundelcastle.org
6. Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester
Celebrate the 5th anniversary of one of the greatest open-air theatre experiences outside of London. Soak up the relaxed and intimate atmosphere in the 400-seat theatre amongst stripy deck chairs, patterned blankets and picnic hampers as you enjoy alfresco Shakespeare. Highlights include Macbeth (until 23rd August) and The Comedy of Errors (1 – 24 August).
Best for: An intimate feel
Where: 55 – 57 Watergate Row South, Chester, CH1 2LE
When: Until 24 August
Tickets: From £18.50. www.grosvenorparkopenairtheatre.co.uk
Words by Salma Haidrani