Whether you are a fan of Shakespearian comedies, family-friendly plays or awe-inspiring opera, we’ve got the best outdoor theatre shows touring Kent this summer…
Twelfth Night, the HandleBards
Join the HandleBards, a unique troupe of cycling Shakespearean actors, for their quirky and hilarious take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The play, based around twins Viola and Sebastian who are separated in a shipwreck, is full of the playwright’s trademark farce, mistaken identity and drunken frivolity. Take a seat inside the beautiful walled garden in Sevenoaks, with its amphitheatre-style terraces and plentiful picnic spots, and watch this marvellous comedy under the stars.
Twelfth Night will be at the River Hill Gardens in Sevenoaks on Saturday, June 11. Book tickets online here.
Othello and the Importance of Being Earnest, Changeling Theatre
Kent-based theatre company Changeling Theatre will be performing two spectacular productions - William Shakespeare’s Othello and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest - across the county this summer. The renowned company will begin their tour in July at Boughton Monchelsea Place, near Maidstone, and will perform at more than 25 stunning venues in and around the county, including Great Comp, Penshurst Place, Rochester Castle and Walmer Castle, until August.
Changeling Theatre’s summer tour takes place across the county from Friday, July 1 to Sunday, August 21. Book tickets online here.
Romeo and Juliet, Chapterhouse Theatre Company
Marvel at this classic tale of star-crossed lovers and feuding families from the Chapterhouse Theatre Company. Arguably Shakespeare’s best-known play, this captivating tragedy is told to a whole new generation using intricate Elizabethan costumes and magical staging. Taking place in some of the UK’s most magnificent gardens and country house estates, including the historic Walmer Castle near Deal, this open-air production is the perfect summer show for lovers of traditional theatre.
Romeo and Juliet is at Walmer Castle, near Deal, on Wednesday, July 13. Book tickets online here.
The War of the Worlds and Much Ado About Nothing, The Pantaloons
Comical and critically-acclaimed theatre company Pantaloons are known for their hilarious parodies of classic tales, reimagining well-known stories for a new generation. This year, they are bringing their vibrant and anarchical theatre to the beautiful Mount Ephraim gardens, just outside of Faversham, with two fantastic productions. Their open-air adaptations of H. G. Wells’ sci-fi spectacular the War of the Worlds and Shakespeare’s witty comedy Much Ado About Nothing are two very different, but very entertaining, productions.
The War of the Worlds is showing on Sunday, July 17 and Much Ado About Nothing is showing on Sunday, August 7 at Mount Ephraim Gardens near Faversham. The War of the Worlds will also visit Ashford and Rainham. Book tickets online here.
The Secret Garden, New Creations Collective
Discover the Secret Garden whilst surrounded by Kent’s World Garden. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved novel, which was inspired by a garden in Tenterden, is reimagined by the New Creations Collective through charming classical music and dance. The show will be hosted in the idyllic Lullingstone Castle, one of England’s oldest family estates just outside of Dartford and home to the stunning World Garden, which you can explore for free with your theatre ticket.
Rapunzel, Immersion Theatre
Let your hair down for this enchanting new musical production. Watch a pantomime-style performance of the beloved fairy tale by Immersion Theatre, packed with jokes, songs, larger-than-life characters and plenty of audience participation. This family-friendly show is a great way to introduce your kids to the theatre, all in the picturesque surroundings of Leeds Castle. Visit this historic castle on the outskirts of Maidstone and enjoy the vast gardens and grand interiors, recently rethemed to celebrate the glamorous 1930s, before you settle down for an afternoon of entertainment.
Rapunzel is at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone, on Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6. The show will also visit Edenbridge and Sevenoaks. Book tickets online here.
Carmen and La Traviata, Opera Brava
If a night at the opera isn’t part of your usual routine, then this summer is the perfect chance to try something new. Opera Brava, the UK’s leading outdoor touring opera company, are bringing two world-famous productions to the Hever Festival. See the incredible shows - Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s La Traviata - in the grounds of the historic Hever Castle as part of their brimming open-air festival, which lasts from May to August. Whether this is your first opera or you’ve been enjoying this pastime for years, you won’t want to miss these breathtaking performances.
Carmen is showing on Saturday, August 13 and La Traviata is showing on Sunday, August 14. Both take place at Hever Castle near Sevenoaks. Book tickets for both shows, and find this summer’s full theatre programme, here.