Minack Theatre

Best Outdoor Theatres in the UK

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Open-air shows to book now

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How does comedy on a Cornish cliff sound? Or Shakespeare on a Dorset island, accessible only by boat? The UK is blessed with some beautiful outdoor theatres – read on for our favourites.

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Main image: The Minack Theatre by Mike Newman

Best Outdoor Theatres in the UK

 

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Shakespeare in the Squares

Shakespeare in the Squares, London

Not-for-profit touring theatre company Shakespeare in the Squares stages a Shakespeare play in London garden squares each summer. This year’s production is The Tempest – the last play Shakespeare wrote solo – with performances taking place in venues such as St James’s Gardens, Queen’s Park and Charterhouse Square. From 15 June, shakespeareinthesquares.co.uk

Minack Theatre

The Minack Theatre, Cornwall

This Cornish gem wins on location, perched on the rugged cliffs of Penzance overlooking the sea. Over 200 live performances take place there each year, from opera to comedy to musicals. Upcoming shows for this summer include a musical version of Little Women, a retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and David Mynne’s The Odyssey. minack.com

Image: Lynn Batten

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London

One of the oldest and largest outdoor theatres in Britain, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre dates back to 1932. Tucked away in the middle of the park, the leafy playhouse is open from May to September each year. Its 2022 season is kicking off with a stage version of beloved noughties film Legally Blonde, directed by Lucy Moss and starring Courtney Bowman as Elle Woods. Later in the summer, there’s a musical adaptation of Disney classic 101 Dalmations. openairtheatre.com

Brighton Open Air Theatre

Brighton Open Air Theatre, Brighton

After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the late playwright Adrian Bunting threw his efforts into launching an open-air theatre in Brighton. Shortly before passing away he asked four friends to see his dream through, and in 2015 Brighton Open Air Theatre opened on the former bowling green at Dyke Road Park. Modelled on the amphitheatres of the ancient world, the venue has become an integral part of Brighton’s cultural landscape. Its season typically runs from May to September, with the 2022 programme including a new show from performance group Pinch Punch, titled Murder on the Improvised Expressbrightonopenairtheatre.co.uk

Brownsea Open Air Theatre

Brownsea Open Air Theatre, Dorset

In 1964, the National Trust decided to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth with an outdoor performance of one of his plays on Brownsea Island, of which they had recently become owners. This was the beginning of Brownsea Open Air Theatre. Hop on a boat from Poole Quay to see a Shakespeare play performed amid magical surroundings. Pack your own picnic or stock up at Gillian’s Catering tent, which serves snacks, cakes and drinks. brownsea-theatre.co.uk

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

An intimate auditorium on the north bank of the River Dee, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre is produced by Storyhouse, Chester’s award-winning cultural centre. Shows coming up this year include a new staging of Romeo and Juliet, alongside the theatre’s most popular family show, Stig of the Dump. There’s an on-site pizzeria, but you’re also welcome to bring your own food and drinks. grosvenorparkopenairtheatre.co.uk