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Lights, camera… outdoor action

Pack your picnic and give your social life CPR this summer! From Toy Story to Sherlock Holmes, here's my definitive guide to outdoor cinema and theatre.

We thought the summer would be a social bust thanks to the unmentionable C word. But the ‘going out’ gods, have made it happen. Three of my favourite unholy activities – watching a show, lounging outside and getting tipsy are all available in one delicious bundle. with a steady stream of outdoor cinema and theatre nights in Berkshire.


Caversham Court Garden, Reading, Thu 23 Jul – Sun 30 Aug

Scarlett Johansson in World War II film Jo Jo Rabbit pushing a retro bike with basket

Caversham Courts Gardens is an under rated riverside park and now it has the Summer Screens cinema too. Socially-distanced screening? Race you. There’s eight films on Caversham movie reel: war epic 1917 (24 Jul); get ready to rumba or Dirty Dancing (25 Jul). Fast forward to the end off August and take your pick from The Lost Boys (26 Aug); Jo Jo Rabbit (27 Aug) The Greatest Showman (28 Aug) Star Wars (29 Aug) and everyone’s favourite prostitution rom-com Pretty Woman (29 Aug).

The King’s Speech, Coppa Club Streatley, Sun 26 Jul

Colin Firth Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter The King's Speech

The Coppa Club had us a Champagne barbecue, but the stonking riverside location makes this the perfect night out to see the 2010 award-winning drama The King’s Speech. Colin Firth plays the future King George VI who, to cope with a stammer, sees Lionel Logue, an Australian speech and language therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. It’s an absolute classic.

Slumdog Millionaire, Coppa Club Sonning, Sun 26 Jul

Dev Patel Slumdog Millionaire

If you’re closer to Coppa Club in Sonning, it’s also putting on a fancy al fresco film night with Champagne barbecue. Sonning will be screening Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire – a moviethat launched Dev Patel’s Hollywood career and comes full loaded with no bull honesty it’s impossible for it not to leave a mark.

Dinton Pastures Country Park, Hurst, Sat 1 – Sat 29 Aug

Toy Story 4 animated film Woody Bo Peep Buzz Forky and pals

It’s been 10 years since Woody, Buzz and his other landfill-avoiding pals were handed over to young Bonnie after seeing Andy through his childhood. But the gang are back together with newbie Forky for one last rodeo – Toy Story 4. Expect rivers of tears at Dinton Pastures on 29 Aug. Not your bag? See The Greatest Showman (1 Aug), Dirty Dancing (15 Aug) and Bohemian Rhapsody (22 Aug). You’re given a time slot to arrive. Bring a blanket, picnic and tissues.  

Stubbings Nursery, Maidenhead, Fri 31 Jul – Sat 1 Aug

Singer Elton John baseball outfit and cap playing piano at gig

If you enjoyed the Freddie Mercury biopic, stand by for Rocketman (1 Aug), a film about Sting… only joking, Elton John obviously, with Brit star Taron Egerton (above) donning the silly specs. It’s on the movie reel at Stubbings Nursery in Maidenhead along with Dirty Dancing (31 Jul). Doors open at 7pm. There is a bar bring your own picnic.

Shaw House, Newbury Sat 1 – Sun 2 Aug

Patrick Swayze jennifer grey water lift practice Dirty Dancing

Nobody puts Baby in the corner, so loosen your hips, carry a watermelon and get loaded on Martinis – it’s Dirty Dancing at Shaw House in Newbury (1 Aug)! I think we’ve all watched this film a gazillion times and it does not get old. Innocent Baby, naughty Johnny and a first time sexual experience that would never happen in real life. Grab the gang and get yourself down to Shaw House in Newbury. Plus last year’s Sam Mendes war epic 1917 on 2 Aug. Doors open at 7pm. Film starts at 9pm.


The Wind In The Willows, South Hill Park Bracknell, Fri 14 Aug – Sun 16 Aug

Wind In The Willows South Hill Park

Parp parp. South Hill Park in Bracknell is back, baby, with an outdoor performance of the children’s classic The Wind In The Willows – and it’s a venue that that gives you the grandeur of Toad’s manor and the landscape of the Wild Wood for Mole, Ratty, Mr Badger, Mr Toad’s tale of misadventure. This is a high energy, interactive performance with lots of humour and audience participation. So no hiding at the back. 

The Hound Of The Baskervilles, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, Wed 29 Jul – Sat 8 Aug

The Hound of the Baskervilles Watermill THeatre Poster

The show must go on and it helps when your theatre has a garden. The stunning Watermill Theatre in Bagnor usually puts on an immersive performance amongst its flora and fauna – and when they got the 2020 green light, they had the spooky retelling of Sherlock Holmes’ The Hound of the Baskervilles ready to go. Support the arts, book a table and get your culture fix. It’s elementary, dear Muddy readers, elementary.

Camelot, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, Wed 17 Aug – Sat 29 Aug

The Watermill Theatre Newbury garden

A garden concert, you say? Your wish is my command, m’lady. The Watermill Theatre will be performing Camelot – a special concert of Lerner and Loewe’s music based on the legend of King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Lose yourself in a socially distanced world of knights and chivalry, royalty and romance.

Prefer to be stranded at the drive in? Rev your engines and 9 drive-in cinemas in Berkshire and beyond.

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