Published: 06:00, 23 June 2021
| Updated: 07:56, 23 June 2021
Live theatre shows will be popping up at picturesque venues across the county this summer.
Here, we take a look at what's on.
The outdoor touring theatre company celebrates its 20th anniversary tour this year, after having to postpone last summer due to the pandemic.
The Maidstone-based company raised more than £12,000 through a gofundme campaign to make this year's tour happen, and now A Midsummer Night's Dream will kick off on Friday, July 2 at its spiritual home of Boughton Monchelsea Place.
It will visit 18 venues in Kent between then and Sunday, August 15, including Walmer Castle, Folkestone Amphitheatre, Biddenden Vineyard, Fort Amherst in Chatham and Margate Beach. It is also branching out to beyond Kent at sites including Brighton Open Air Theatre and Osborne on the Isle of Wight.
To book tickets, go to changeling-theatre.com
Westgate Gardens, Canterbury
Actor Ben Roddy - known to many across Kent as the dame in the Marlowe Theatre's panto every year - is behind a series of al fresco performances of The Hound of the Baskervilles in his home town of Canterbury, in Westgate Gardens.
The comedy based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most celebrated Sherlock Holmes story, will run from Thursday, July 22 until Sunday, August 1 at 7pm. Book tickets at £19.50 at marlowetheatre.com or call 01227 787787.
EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge
The theatre has a range of online, indoor and outdoor shows this summer season.
Complimenting its indoor offering are three outdoor shows. The HandleBards bring Macbeth to the town on Thursday, July 8. The all-female troupe and their bicycle-powered production of Shakespeare's classic promise a frantic, full-of-beans show. On Sunday, August 1, The Noise Next Door bring comedy gold with Out and About, an alfresco dose of mind-blowing songs, side-splitting gags and jaw-dropping physicality, as seen on Britain’s Got Talent. On Friday, September 10 Slapstick Picnic perform The Importance of Being Earnest - the entirety of Oscar
Wilde’s classic play of manners, affairs and handbags performed by just two entertainers.
Book tickets by calling 01732 304241 or visiting emftheatre.com
After last year's bitesize event, this year's is the largest festival ever, held in the grounds of Hever Castle near Edenbridge, with live performances of magic, music, plays, family shows and films.
Four sites are being used this year including The Two Sisters Theatre, with tiered seating under cover, The Main Lawn Stage with its castle view; The Loggia’s tranquil Italian Gardens with a lake view and Anne Boleyn’s Woodland Walk.
Events which run throughout the summer until the end of August include New Creations Collective re-telling of The Secret Garden through classical music and ballet on Thursday, August 19; First Knight Theatre’s second instalment of Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquest Trilogy Living Together on Friday, August 20 and Saturday, August 21.
Family shows start with Arthur's Dreamboat on Thursday, July 22, and feature Immersion Theatre’s wild adaptation of The Jungle Book on Wednesday, July 28; Dustbin Doris on Thursday, August 5, presented in association with the Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival and Horrible Histories: Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians on Thursday, August 12.
Book online at heverfestival.co.uk or call 01732 866114.
Fort Gardens, Gravesend
You can bring blankets or pop-up seats for the outdoor evenings of entertainment at the gardens in Gravesend this summer organised by the Woodville. Live comedy for ages 18 and over will be held on Thursday, June 24, Thursday, July 22 and Thursday, August 26. Book at woodville.co.uk
British Touring Shakespeare, Penshurst Place
The company will stage two productions on the South Lawn at the historic home - a new adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes mystery The Hound Of The Baskervilles on Friday, July 2 and classic Shakespeare comedy Twelfth Night on Sunday, August 15.
The Hound of the Baskervilles has been adapted for the stage by director Andrew Hobbs in collaboration with his father the award winning historian and writer David Hobbs MBE and stars SP Howarth as Dr Watson, who is originally from Kent.
Renowned West End and classical theatre performer Lucyelle Cliffe who will be playing Olivia in Twelfth Night is also originally from the county. She said: “It is always particularly special for me to get to come and perform in my home county and I couldn’t wish for a more stunning venue than Penshurst Place. Twelfth Night is such a fun play to perform and if the audience laughs as much as we have been during rehearsals then you guys are in for a treat.”
For tickets click here.
The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company
The company will be putting on a socially-distanced, outdoor performance of Little Lily Harley in Southons Field in Marden on Saturday, July 3 at 7.30pm.
The play, postponed from last year, about Charlie Chaplin’s childhood in Lambeth sees how, with a drunken but charismatic actor father who was rarely around and a beautiful young actress mother who had three children by different fathers, Charlie and his big brother Sydney had to learn how to survive a very precarious existence.
Tickets cost £19 for adults. Book at therudemechanicaltheatre.co.uk.