Must-See Outdoor Theatre Shows of the Summer

Must-See Outdoor Theatre Shows of the Summer

Experience the magic of open-air performances with our handpicked selection of captivating shows…

1 Alice In Wonderland – Theatre on Kew, 22 July – 28 August 2023 (pictured top)

Journey down the rabbit hole with this beloved classic. Follow Alice as she journeys through a world of curious and mysterious things. The gorgeous Kew Gardens lends itself to the fantastical world of the disappearing Cheshire Cat, the entirely bonkers Mad Hatter and the deadly Queen of Hearts. This production is a Bradley Cole adaption and features original music by Guy Holden. Children under two years old go free, and it lasts 70 minutes with no interval.

2  Bad Dad – West Horsley Place, 2 August – 26 August 2023 

Heartbreak Productions presents this warm-hearted adaption of David Walliams’s Bad Dad. Follow the tale of a father-son relationship which is thrown into a frenzy when legendary track-racing legend, Gilbert the Great, faces an accident which ends his career. Desperate to provide for his son, Gilbert turns to a life of crime. The show is most suitable for children aged 5 -12 years old and lasts two hours with an interval. Pack your picnic and come watch as this father-son duo navigates a life of car chases, convicts and escaping the clutches of a crime lord.

3 The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny – West Horsley Place, 26 July 2023 

Quantum Theatre presents this heart-warming new adaption of two of Beatrix Potter’s best-loved tales, The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. Join the mischievous Peter and Benjamin as they chance their odds by venturing into the booby-trapped garden of Mr McGregor. This show is aimed at younger children from three years old and up. The performance is 1 hour and 40 minutes long with an interval.

4  Pride and Prejudice – Painshill Park, 15 July 2023

Step into the enchanting world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with a captivating outdoor theatre production at Painshill Park. Be transported to a time of marriage, wealth, jealousy, and deceit as the lives of the Bennet sisters unfold before your eyes. Join Elizabeth Bennet on her quest for love and self-discovery in a society bound by societal expectations. Illyria’s acclaimed production brings Austen’s vibrant characters to life, delivering a captivating blend of humor, romance, and biting social commentary. Bring your picnic, settle in under the stars, and let Illyria transport you to a world of wit, charm, and timeless love. A must-see for Austen enthusiasts of all ages. 

5 The Ugly Duckling – Painshill Park, 26 August 2023

Experience the heartwarming tale of “The Ugly Duckling” brought to life in a magical outdoor setting at Painshill Park. Join the adorable misfit on his journey to find acceptance and happiness amidst a world that judges him for being different. With live music, enchanting puppetry, and a host of colourful characters, this delightful family musical, presented by Folksy Theatre, is sure to captivate audiences of all ages. 

6 Romeo & Juliet – Morden Hall Park, 11 August 2023

Experience the magic of Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy, “Romeo & Juliet,” amidst the backdrop of Morden Hall Park. Join The Lord Chamberlain’s Men for an open air performance, just as it was originally intended by William Shakespeare himself. With an all-male cast, authentic Elizabethan costumes, and music and dance, immerse yourself in the timeless tale of forbidden love. 

7 The Comedy of Errors – Globe Theatre, 24 May – 29 July 2023

Prepare for a summer filled with laughter as Shakespeare’s uproarious comedy, “The Comedy of Errors,” takes centre stage at the esteemed Globe Theatre. Directed by Globe Associate Artistic Director Sean Holmes, this madcap tale of mistaken identities and long-lost siblings will transport you to the vibrant streets of Shakespeare’s London. 

8 Macbeth – Cannizaro Park, 26 July – 29 July 2023

This summer, the beautiful Italian Gardens of Cannizaro Park will be transformed into a world of witches, ghosts and bloody battlegrounds in an adaption of this timeless Shakespearean tragedy. The open-air show will feature full-stage lighting and amplified sound so you can still see and hear everything as the sun sets. Immerse yourself in the world of Macbeth as he is haunted by his actions after he assassinated the king and took the throne. Chair seating is ticketed individually, but audience members are encouraged to bring their own chairs if preferred, while also being invited to bring a blanket to share instead. One thing is for sure, this gripping tale is sure to captivate you and have you on the end of your seat, or blanket alike.

Tickets from £16 – plus Time & Leisure readers get an exclusive 10% off with discount code T&L10

9 The Jabberwocky & Other Nonsense – Southwark Central, 24 August 2023

Calf 2 Cow, a developing award-winning touring slapstick comedy theatre company, is back with this hilarious adaption of Lewis Carrol’s poem The Jabberwocky. The village of Pokeytin is under threat, with their crops and cows disappearing night after night and poor Mrs Dodos has found her washing is being pinched from the line. A young hero soon emerges and sets off on a quest to slay the beast and save the land. Calf 2 Cow promises to deliver their treatment of silly multi-rolling, kicks and trips, water buckets and a giant dragon puppet which breathes actual fire! This is one for ages 4 and up to enjoy, with Calf 2 Cow inviting you to rock your best mad hat and join this quest of a lifetime. The outdoor family adventure runs for 75 minutes including a 20 minute interval.

10 A Bee Story – Memorial Gardens Staines-Upon-Thames, 2 August 2023

Brought to you by Visit Staines, this unique light-hearted show for families and children combines a kaleidoscope of circus, acrobatics, dance and live music. Follow the story of Queen Bee and Worker Bee who must rebuild their hive after it was destroyed by a bushfire. But of course… nothing quite goes to plan. The family-friendly show is completely free, and picnics are welcome.

11 Robin Hood – Home Park, Sydenham, 22 July – 30 July 2023

Get ready for a tale of swashbuckling adventure, comedy, exciting chases, music and lots of surprises. Spontaneous Productions presents their 25th original family theatre show since 2017 and their second outdoor show. This classic legend will be told in no ordinary way through this brand-new musical adaption. Join peasant girl, Robin, as she rebels against the terrible tyrants, monarch Prince John and his slimy servant Sherriff of Nottingham who have introduced compulsory mask-wearing and raised taxes. The show is suitable for all ages to enjoy.

12 The Tempest – Regent’s Open-Air Theatre, 30 June – 22 July 2023

Revised and directed by Jennifer Tang, this introduction to the Shakespearean world is reimagined for everyone aged six and over to enjoy an open-air display of Shakespeare’s original text brought to life. Marvel at the sorcerer Prospero as he conjures up a storm to shipwreck his enemies, setting the scene for a tale of spells, monsters, revenge and of course, romance.

13 Doctor Dolittle – Morden Hall Park, 25 Aug 2023

Delight in the tale of a doctor who loves animals and fills his home with every kind of creature imaginable. But one day, he discovers a remarkable ability – he can speak their language! Tethered Wits brings this beloved story to life at Morden Hall Park using puppetry, creating a fun and engaging show for the whole family (ages 3 and up). 

14 The Great Gatsby – Morden Hall Park, 25 Aug 2023

Step back in time to the glamorous 1920s New York. Set in the chic Rose Garden at Morden Hall Park, this immersive show brings to life the high-fliers and low-lives of Manhattan through the eyes of Nick Carraway. When he encounters the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, he soon realises that the extravagant parties hide deeper secrets.