9 places to catch outdoor performances this summer

Jun 21 2019

Make the most of summer in Oxfordshire with these outdoor shows!


Fan of Shakespeare? You are in luck this summer, with performances taking place all over the county.


1. Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre at Blenheim Palace

Europe’s first-ever pop up Shakespearean theatre arrives at Blenheim Palace for summer 2019! Four of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays – ‘Macbeth’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Richard III’ and ‘Romeo & Juliet’ will transport audiences to the thrilling, intimate atmosphere of an Elizabethan playhouse, with plenty of breath-taking, spine-tingling and heart-stopping moments. The 13-sided scaffolding theatre offers three tiers of covered seating and an open courtyard for standing ‘groundlings’. Outside the theatre, visitors can experience a vibrant Shakespearean village, offering the finest Oxfordshire fare – from local ales to scrumptious ice creams – served from oak-framed, reed-thatched buildings; an array of ‘wagon’ entertainment. Step back in time and experience Shakespeare as it was in his day, with bloody battles, comic mayhem, gruesome murders and grand oratory.
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2. ‘Oxford Shakespeare Festival’ at Oxford Castle

The ‘Oxford Shakespeare Festival’ will once again grace the Oxford Castle summer theatre stage with 8 weeks of scintillating theatre performances by the amazing Tomahawk Theatre, Siege Theatre and BMH Theatre. This season’s programme includes ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and ‘Richard III’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Twelfth Night’.
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3. ‘Shakespeare in the Quad’ at the Bodleian Library

Firmly established as an unmissable highlight in Oxford’s cultural calendar, Shakespeare’s Globe’s Touring Ensemble returns to the glorious setting of the Bodleian Library with a trio of plays exploring the themes of refuge and displacement. Taking on multiple roles across all three plays, the cast will unravel these timeless tales of those who have crossed seas and lost their families, are seeking new homes, and finding out what belonging truly means to them. The programme includes ‘The Comedy of Errors’, ‘Pericles’ and ‘Twelfth Night’.
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4. Shakespeare and Opera Festival at Waterperry Gardens

Make the most of the long summer days and enjoy an evening’s entertainment with one of the productions taking place in the magical setting of the outdoor Waterperry ampitheatre: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ on Friday 28th June, ‘The Tempest’ on Saturday 6th July. You can also join the Waterperry Opera festival which extends this year to 4 days of programming, running 25th – 28th July 2019, with a broad range of events. From the enchanted realms of Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ and Purcell’s ‘The Fairy Queen’.

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5. Shakespeare and more at Cogges Manor Farm

There will be plenty of Shakespearian entertainment to choose from at Cogges Manor Farm this summer. You can watch ‘The Tempest’ on Sunday 7th July or ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ on Wednesday 21st August. And if theatre is not really your thing then why not join Long John Silver and his fearsome crew for a voyage into panto mayhem that you definitely do not want to miss on Sunday 7th July. To end the summer with a bang you can also attend the ‘Over the Hill Festival’ featuring some of the best UK Americana and roots bands and artists around today.
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But it’s not all about Shakespeare this summer, there will be something for everyone in Oxfordshire!


Wind in the willows performed by quantum theatre6. ‘Wind in the Willows’ at Waddesdon

Boating with Ratty, a feast with Badger and high jinx on the open road with that reckless ruffian, Mr Toad. What more could such firm friends wish for? At Waddesdon, Join Mole, Ratty and Badger on their mad-cap adventures in Quantum Theatre’s brand new adaptation of this family favourite- a treat for all ages on Friday 23rd August!
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Concerts al fresco? There are plenty of artists and venues to choose from this summer.


7. Summer concerts at Bletchley Park

Make the most of the sunshine at Bletchley Park and relax in the beautiful grounds whilst listening to great music. Various artists will be performing throughout the summer on the Oval Lawn, the perfect setting for a summer concert!
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8. Outdoor entertainment at Stonor

The Knights of Royal England will perform a truly memorable jousting tournament including horse riding events to test courage and skill as well as foot combat with Medieval weaponry on Saturday 29th June – Sunday 30th June in Stonor Park. And if the Middle Ages aren’t really your thing then why not join the Giffords Circus caravan and its musicians, horses, clowns and tumblers on 25th July – 29th July?
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9. ‘Oxford Festival of the Arts’

Now in its eleventh year, the Oxford Festival of the Arts is a whirlwind of culture and creativity in venues throughout Oxford. With comedy, dance, exhibitions, film, music, speakers, sport and theatre, there really is something for everyone! The theme of this year’s Festival is CONNECTIONS, across the arts, with the past and between cultures. This fortnight of events across the city will take place between Friday 21st June to Sunday 7th July.
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