Where Are The Best Outdoor Cinemas and Theatres To Catch A Show This Summer?
The weather in the UK is famous for its unpredictability. As if to prove just that, we’ve been experiencing a decidedly rainy summer so far. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop us from hosting some amazing outdoor entertainment.
Relaxing back in a deck chair or on a picnic blanket with your favourite snacks while a great film plays in the background or watching a dramatic play beneath the stars sounds like a great way to make the most of the lighter evenings. So, grab your designer umbrellas for our top picks of outdoor cinemas and theatres to visit before the summer is over.
Rooftop Film Club, London
The Rooftop Film Club in London is an established outdoor cinema that, as you might have guessed, is held atop various London buildings. This year, the club currently has showings at Roof East in Stratford and the Bussy Building in Peckham.
The club is currently showing various films over August, from new releases like the highly anticipated summer movies Barbie and Oppenheimer to beloved classics, including Amelie and Jurassic Park.
The Luna Cinema, various locations
The Luna Cinema is a touring outdoor cinema that hosts films at various locations throughout the UK, so it’s great for picking somewhere that’s close to you. The locations are also often within glorious country estates, next to medieval castles or ruins, or in parkland – the perfect setting to watch some of your favourite films.
In August, you’ll be able to watch Harry Potter against the dramatic view of Lulworth Castle in Dorset or enjoy Pride and Prejudice at Chatsworth House – the same place featured as Pemberly in the film itself. Other locations include Guildford Cathedral, Chester Zoo, and Bolton Abbey.
The Minack Theatre, Cornwall
The Minack Theatre is a tourist attraction in its own right and is visited by over 250,000 people each year. And how could it not be? Nestled on the edges of the cliffs of Penzance, the Minack Theatre is in a stunning location that’s perfect for experiencing a show.
In August and September, you’ll be able to go and see a variety of plays, from The Scottish Play, a humorous retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, to Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and the Tony-winning musical Evita. For families, a stage adaptation of Tom’s Midnight Garden is also shown.
The Minack Theatre is also open to the public to discover more about this amazing venue. However, we recommend booking in advance to secure a timeslot and avoid disappointment.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is Britain’s oldest professional outdoor theatre and has been putting on performances for audiences for almost 100 years.
Throughout the remaining summer season for 2023, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre will be bringing the glamour with the classic Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles. Or for children under 12, until early September, you can also be thrilled by the lifelike puppets of Dinosaur World Live.
All seating is completely uncovered, and the theatre only cancels shows on rare occasions when the weather is particularly bad, so you’ll definitely want to pack an umbrella just in case to protect yourself from any showers.
Brighton Open Air Theatre, Brighton
The Brighton Open Air Theatre, more informally known as BOAT, is set in beautiful parkland just on the edge between Brighton and Hove.
Throughout August and September, there will be a huge variety of shows to go and watch, including classic adaptations such as Robin Hood, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Jane Austen’s Persuasion. There are also plenty of music and comedy performances to see this summer, including Cavern To Imagine by The Vox Beatles, Drag In The Park, and Stand Up Under The Stars with some of the UK’s funniest comics.
Shakespeare’s Globe, London
Last but not at all least is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the banks of the River Thames in London. The original theatre that opened in 1599 and became known for its performances of Shakespeare’s plays is long gone. However, the tradition continues in the new Globe Theatre that was opened in 1997 after years of campaigning.
Like the Minack, the Globe is also open for guided tours where you can learn more about the history of the area. If you’re more interested in experiencing what it might have been like to go and see a show, you’ll be able to see performances of Macbeth and As You Like It until the end of October.
The other venue on the site (which happens to be indoors should the weather turn on you) is the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse, which throughout August, is showing the family-friendly Midsummer Mechanicals, based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
There’s so much to choose from, whether you’re more interested in laughing until your sides hurt, anguishing at a dramatic tragedy, or enjoying a good time with your family – just don’t forget to have an umbrella on hand, just in case! Have you decided what you’re going to see before summer is over?