8 brilliant outdoor summer theatres and cinemas
Fancy a fix of film or theatre in the great outdoors this summer? There are several popping up around Berkshire so we’ve picked 8 of the best. Pimms and popcorn at the ready… and probably wise to bring a blanket and brolly too!
Cult Screens, Caversham Park Gardens, Reading, various dates
Cult Screens has a great set up this summer at Reading’s little riverside oasis of Caversham Park Gardens. Choose from deckchairs, director chairs, floor cushions or cosy up in a double bean bag. There’s a brilliant bar selling wines and craft beers, pitcher cocktails and soft drinks. Plus popcorn, chocolate and crisps, and the Bitten Street food stall. Film-wise, there’s a good mix of chick flicks; classics; action-adventure and some recent releases too. Highlights include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (30 June); Mean Girls (1 July); An American Werewolf in London (18 August); The Revenant (19 August) and Dirty Dancing (10 September). See the full listings here.
As You Like It, The Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park, until Sun 24 July
Watch Your Head create very cool theatrical shows where the venue becomes the set of the production. I think this sounds amazing as the Savill Gardens is such a magical setting. There’s scattered seating throughout and food (from Leiths) and drink available to buy at the venue. Pre-ordered hampers will be arranged on reserved tables to be enjoyed during the final wedding scene where the audience and company come together in an acrobatic and musical finale! Tickets £25-£35, book online.
The Canterbury Tales, Knowl Hill Common, Thurs 14 July, 7pm
Medieval mayhem as the critically-acclaimed Pantaloons present every single one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s timeless tales in under two hours. The concept of The Pantaloons is to take a traditional play or novel, and joyfully massacre it for laughs, with modern references, songs, high energy and very few cast members. Sets are virtually non-existent, props are kept to a minimum and there is masses of audience interaction. Songs, clapping, actors running around, all that stuff. Join the pilgrims for puppetry and poetry, music and magic, talking chickens and burnt bottoms. Tickets: Adults £13.50; Child £8. Book online or call 01628 824662.
Pride and Prejudice, Shaw House, Thurs 30 June to Sat 2 July
New Era Players, a locally based amateur theatre group, are performing an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in the beautiful setting on the lawns of Shaw House from Thurs 30 June to Sat 2 July. It’s a stunning building – you’ll feel just like Elizabeth Bennett did when she first saw Pemberley. This is a bring your own – seating/rug, warm clothes and picnic – and the performance lasts 2 hours with a 20-minute interval. Tickets: adults £10, 16 and under £4 available from Shaw House. Tel: 01635 279279 or book online. Cult Screens are also doing open air cinema nights, check out the West Berkshire Heritage Events Page for details.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Caversham Court Gardens, Weds 13 – Sat 23 July
Progress Theatre have been presenting an open-air Shakespeare event in Reading since 1995. This year, join Puck, Titania, Oberon, Bottom and the Mechanicals as the Athenians fall victim to the whims of the faerie king and queen in this new take on Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy. Bring a picnic and some fizz. The performance starts at 7.45pm. Buy tickets online: Adults £18; Children £16.
The Tempest, South Hill Park, Tues 19 to Sat 23 July
South Hill Park’s amphitheatre makes the perfect setting for Shakespeare’s The Tempest. If you weren’t paying attention during English Lit. a powerful magician is banished from home and stranded on a fantastical isle. Shakespeare examines the illusion of justice, the difficulty of distinguishing men from monsters and the allure of ruling a colony in this most fabulous of his plays. Tickets: Adults £14; Children £10. Showings at 7.45pm and Sat matinee 2.30pm. Book online or call the Box Office: 01344 484123.
Carmen and The Marriage of Figaro, Stubbings Nursery, Maidenhead, Fri 22 & Sat 23 July
Opera is the order of the day at Stubbings this summer with the brilliant Opera Brava back again after two sensational performances last summer (Tosca and Rigoletto). This year we’re off to Seville with Carmen on Fri 22 July and then it’s The Marriage of Figaro on Sat 23 July. Held in the private grounds of the main house, the gates open from 5.30pm for picnics and the performance starts at 7.30pm. Picnic hampers are available from Feast Catering and can be bought with your tickets. Tickets: Adults £45; Children £18.50. Book online or call 01628 820140.
Grease, Dinton Pastures, Fri 5 August, 7pm
Grab your girlfriends, get dolled up in your best swing dress and bobby socks, and shake, rattle and roll it at this 1950s themed evening with a live four-piece vintage band and dancers followed by a showing of the Sandy and Danny classic. Refreshments available at the bar. Booking is essential, book online to guarantee entry. Standard tickets, adults £25; children £15 or Premium tickets (including deckchair hire, popcorn and a burger or hot dog) adults £32.75; children £22.75.