Why Outdoor Theatre Should be on Your Summer Bucket List

If you read my summer bucket list earlier in the year, you may have seen that Outdoor Theatre was on the list, and a couple of weeks ago I ticked this off when I watched As You Like It at Ordsall Hall.

As You Like It - The Handlebards

This was a production by The Handlebards – a group of 4 actors who cycle around the country carrying their sets and props on their bikes with them. They even incorporate cycling paraphernalia into the shows with handlebars, bells, helmets and horns featuring as costumes and props.

Open Air Theatre - Handlebards

Open Air Theatre - Handlebards As You Like It

The show was set in the gardens of Ordsall Hall, and we enjoyed the humorous interpretation of this Shakespeare comedy with a picnic on a lovely sunny evening. I’d definitely recommend this particular theatre group for a fun show and great performances, but here’s why I think everyone should give any outdoor theatre a go this summer:

Summer is about spending time outdoors

Getting outside is what summer is all about, and open air theatre will be one of your most memorable summer activities.

The weather is all part of it

We may be in England and it may seem like a risk to book an open air show, but even if you aren’t as lucky as we were for As You Like It, it is still lots of fun. When we watched Pride and Prejudice at Brockholes the weather was windy and raining, and the cast simply made it part of the show in a hilarious way. And as long as you prepare for the worst (bring rainwear and warm clothes) it doesn’t have to spoil your fun.

The laid-back atmosphere

Set up your own deckchairs and blankets in plenty of space and enjoy the chilled atmosphere, good humour and some fresh air with your theatre.

Enjoy a picnic and a glass of prosecco

If eating a delicious picnic with a glass of prosecco in an al fresco setting isn’t appealing to you then we do not share a wavelength!

Discover beautiful locations

Every venue is different and it’s a chance to discover some of England’s nicest stately homes, nature reserves and gardens that you might never have heard of otherwise.

The prices are relatively cheap!

Tickets are cheaper than for regular theatre, which makes it a nice reasonably-priced summer activity. There are plenty of family shows too, so it’s a great activity for children without breaking the bank.

It’s a unique experience

Due to small casts playing several roles each and limited sets and costumes, open air theatre  productions have to be very creative and they are often interactive. So it’s something very different from your usual theatre experience.

Outdoor Theatre - Ordsall Hall

I’ve decided that my summers won’t feel complete without an outdoor theatre experience, and there are plenty of options all over the country. Here are just 8 of the many places to watch outdoor theatre in the Manchester area this summer. (And many of the shows are coming up in August so check them out now if you don’t want to miss out!):

Ordsall Hall

Walkden Gardens (Sale)

Chorlton Park

Heaton Park

Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens

Brockholes Nature Reserve

Dunham Massey

Hoghton Tower

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OutdoorTheatre

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