Britain’s best outdoor summer theatre shows of 2019

Pop-up Shakespeare at Blenheim Palace

Summer wouldn’t be summer without catching a theatre performance under the stars (as long as the weather plays along). Pack your picnic hamper and enjoy an alfresco performance this summer

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Fans of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are spoilt for choice in London this summer, with Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy showing at three theatres – Regent’s Park, The Globe and The Bridge – but our pick of the three is the thrilling show at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Acclaimed Director Dominic Hill has assembled an energetic cast that breathes new life into the familiar characters, giving the familiar tale an eerie, darkly magical feel. The otherworldly set, stalked by shadowy fairies on stilts and overlooked by rustling trees, will take your breath away.

Amber James as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Open Air Theatre. Credit: © Jane Hobson.

Blenheim Palace pop-up theatre

Step back in time to experience what it would have been like to see a play in the 16th century at Europe’s first ever pop-up Shakespearean theatre. The pop-up Shakespeare’s Rose will present four plays in the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The 13-sided playhouse, complete with Elizabethan-style garden, will be hosting performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Richard III until 7 September.

Inside the Shakespeare’s Rose pop-up theatre at Blenheim Palace

Theatre at Kew Gardens

A lively outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland returns to Kew Gardens this summer. Expect acrobatics, singling, dancing and imaginative sets. Settle down with a picnic and enjoy this nostalgic summertime treat, before wandering the beautiful grounds at Kew, at their spectacular best in the summer months.

Alice in Wonderland at Kew Gardens. Credit: Theatre on Kew

Theatre at Sutton Hoo

Sutton Hoo is having a moment: this beautiful Suffolk estate, home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time, unveils a new visitor experience this summer. As an added reason for a visit, the Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company will be performing outside Tranmer House at Sutton Hoo – the home of Edith Pretty. Edith was the driving force behind the archaeological dig that uncovered the famous Anglo-Saxon discovery. This performance will see the story of Edith brought back to life. Performances take place August 24-26.

Edith in the Beginning. Credit: Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company

Minack Theatre

Perched on the cliffs high above the Atlantic, there can be no more magical location to watch a play under the stars. Cornwall’s Minack Theatre’s spectacular setting makes any performance memorable, but the shows are attention-grabbing in their own right. Catch Sunset Boulevard (12-16 August), The Mill on the Floss (2-6 September) or the Minack Proms (4-5 September), highlights of a varied programme of opera, music and theatre.

The Minack Theatre. Credit: Klaus Stebani from Pixabay