We’ve pulled together a list of shows to see at outdoor theatres across the UK so that you can get ready to enjoy the magic of theatre throughout the summer.
And because we want you to feel completely comfortable when booking your tickets, we’ve put together our See It Safely mark – when you see this you can feel confident that the show you are booking for is Covid-secure and following the latest Government guidance for live arts events.
Booking tickets in advance is a great way to support theatres at this time so if you see something you’re interested in, be sure to get it booked up! To celebrate our much awaited returns to theatres and to support the industry, please share your experience using #BackOnStage – we can’t wait to see you at theatres soon!
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has confirmed its 2021 season, including extended runs of Romeo And Juliet (17 June – 24 July), directed by Kimberley Sykes, and Carousel (31 July – 25 September), directed by Timothy Sheader.
Dragons And Mythical Beasts, for ages 3+, will now open on 13 August with additional performances added during the run. In addition, the theatre will present a co-production with Unicorn Theatre of Anansi The Spider for ages 3-7.
A series of MOREoutdoor events will include comedy from Aisling Bea, Jimmy Carr, and Luisa Omielan. The same covid-secure procedures will be in place for as long as necessary including an initial 50% reduction to seating capacity.
Shakespeare’s Globe is preparing to reopen its outdoor theatre on 19 May 2021, welcoming audiences in for socially distanced performances. The summer season opens with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, followed by Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night. The Globe Touring Ensemble will perform As You Like It, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The season will star Jean Chan, Alfred Enoch, Jim Fortune, Sean Holmes, Sami Ibrahim, Ola Ince, Laura Lomas, Sabrina Mahfouz, Brendan O’Hea, Holly Race Roughan and Michelle Terry.
For the first time, some productions will be live-streamed from the Globe stage. The outdoor theatre is introducing Covid-safe protocols including staggered arrival times, allocated entrances, no intervals, pre-ordered drinks, and for the initial period of opening there will be seating in the Yard.
From July, Arcola Theatre is presenting Today I’m Wiser, an outdoor festival inspired by the present collective desire for change. The festival will mainly take place in the theatre’s new Arcola Outside outdoor performance space and bar in the centre of Dalston. Covered by a giant roof structure and purpose-built in response to the pandemic, the new space will allow Covid-safe performances to happen all year round.
Homeground, HOME Manchester
HOME in Manchester is launching a large temporary outdoor venue from 28 May, which will host theatre, food, drink, shows, music, cabaret, and comedy in a space three times the size of Manchester’s Albert Square, with a Cabinet of Curiosities-themed design. The new venue, Homeground, will feature a 400-seat socially distanced theatre space, and musical productions of Filter Theatre’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a brand-new version of Alice In Wonderland will form the centrepiece of the venue’s theatrical entertainment. Homeground will also host work by partners including Frog & Bucket, Contact and Trans Creative.
Storyhouse, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
Storyhouse in Cheshire has announced an extended season from 29 May until 30 August at its multi award-winning Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, with 110 performances planned throughout the summer. Children’s classic The Jungle Book and Shakespeare’s farce The Merry Wives Of Windsor will be performed alongside Jane Austen’s romantic comedy Pride And Prejudice.
English National Opera, Crystal Palace Bowl
English National Opera is performing an outdoor concert version of Verdi’s opera Tosca on 27 and 29 August in Crystal Palace Bowl. Richard Farnes conducts the ENO Orchestra and Chorus, with a cast featuring Natalya Romaniw, David Junghoon Kim and Roland Wood. The performance is part of South Facing Festival, a brand new outdoor concert series launching this summer, which will see audiences seated picnic-style in a large grass area in front of the stage. Large screens will relay the performance and microphones will be used for high quality sound.
Chichester Festival Theatre Theatre, Oaklands Park
Chichester Festival Theatre will be putting on a series of open air concerts and family events from 3 – 6 June in Oaklands Park, next to the theatre building. Family Fun In The Park will feature a reading of Lauren Child’s That Pesky Rat, with actors using puppetry to bring the stories to life. Families can also join in a fun ‘Dance-Along’ as part of Telling Tiger Tales. Concerts in the Park will feature a celebrity compère and West End stars including including Carly Bawden (Romantics Anonymous, Alice, My Fair Lady), and Ako Mitchell (Caroline, Or Change, Sister Act, The Color Purple), plus a superb live band performing beloved numbers from musical theatre and beyond, for an uplifting evening of (hopefully!) sunshine and song.
Cornwall’s open air Minack Theatre, located on the Porthcurno cliffs, has announced its first shows for 2021. Shows will take place from 17 May, including concerts by the Fisherman’s Friends and Show of Hands, and theatre productions And Then Come the Nightjars by Bea Roberts, The Cameraman (Bash Street Theatre), The Canterbury Tales (David Mynne) and The Further Adventures of Doctor Dolittle (Illyria Theatre). There will also be a number of storytelling family-friendly shows including The Sea Show and The Piskie in the Garden.
Iris Theatre’s Summer Festival, Actors Church in Covent Garden
Iris Theatre have announced the full programme for their Summer Festival 2021, running in the courtyard of the Actors’ Church in Covent Garden from 21 June – 22 August. All performances will adhere to social distancing in line with government guidelines. The Festival includes Iris Theatre’s world première Arthur/Merlin (a reimagining of the Arthurian legend) and five pieces from the company’s Seed Commission Scheme for early-career artists. Eyes On, a series of one-off work in progress shows from a variety of artists, will also run throughout the festival – as will Shakespeare Sundays, presenting new pieces inspired by the bard.
Birmingham Stage Company
Birmingham Stage Company and Woods Silver Fleet today are launching a brand new tourist experience for London this summer. Horrible Histories Live Onboard! Terrible Thames will set sail on the city’s historic river, leaving from Tower Bridge Quay on a journey to discover the truth about London landmarks, using immersive theatre in Horrible Histories’ unique style. The tour will be hosted aboard one of Woods Silver Fleet’s luxury sightseeing cruisers and is currently working on a reduced capacity of 120 people per trip.
Children’s author David Walliams has joined with Birmingham Stage Company and Coalition Agency for a new production of Billionaire Boy (adapted for the stage from the children’s novel by Walliams), touring the country this April and May to drive-in Car Park Party venues, created to host family-friendly, Covid-safe theatre and entertainment.
Birmingham Stage Company and Coalition Agency are also putting on 30 Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain, Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians shows, which will be playing at a number of Car Park Party venues this Easter, spanning the country from Poole to Middlesborough.
Royal Shakespeare Company
This Summer, the Royal Shakespeare Company will open their return to live performances in Stratford-upon-Avon with an outdoor production of The Comedy of Errors, directed by Phillip Breen. The Company will stage the production in the conceived Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre, a specially constructed outdoor performance space located in the Swan Gardens, flanked by the River Avon and overlooked by the Swan Theatre. The Comedy of Errors runs from 13 July – 26 September 2021.
The theatre will also see two performances by Next Generation ACT of All Mirth and No Matter, their creative response to Much Ado About Nothing. These talented young people from our Associate Schools will present a one-hour accessible production featuring a semi-integrated BSL interpreter and a special introduction from two company members. You can see All Mirth and No Matter on Friday 23 July at 10.30am and 2.30pm.
Brainiac Live!, Camp Bestival & more
Brainiac Live!, a stage production based on the children’s science TV show, is touring a mixture of indoor and outdoor theatre this summer appearing everywhere from the Oxford Playhouse and Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham to Camp Bestival.