chester theatre

While the Playhouse gears up for a fresh new season that sees highlights such as a new production from 20 Stories High, the world premiere of the Playhouse’s Crime And Punishment other theatres, including The Liverpool Empire, Royal Court, Epstein and Capstone – will be keeping their doors open.

While many theatres might go dark over summer, we’re far from starved for entertainment and – touch wood – seem to be holding up alright on the good weather front too, which makes the prospect of heading outdoors all the more appealing.

Pack a picnic and some fizz and you’re all set for some (statistically likely to be Shakespeare-based) fun in the sun. Going dark? Not a bit of it – our theatres are coming out into the light this Summer – here are seven of the best.


The Mikado and Comedy of Errors at Ness Gardens

For what is a British summer without a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan? If you’re quick you can catch The Mikado this week with the return of G&S fanatics Illyria, then next month there’s a chance to see Off the Ground Theatre perform Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors.

“The event will only be cancelled in the event of a hurricane,” joke the Illyria players, and this year we can be fairly confident they’re in the clear. For a change.

Illyria presents The Mikado
Wednesday 17 July

Off The Ground presents Comedy Of Errors
2, 4, August
Ness Gardens


Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

Head to Chester for the outdoor theatre daddy of them all – in the North at least – with Chester Performs staging a revolving programme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and a new production of Cyrano de Bergerac from now until August 25.

With a stunning outdoor amphitheatre, locally-sourced food available as picnics – not to mention bottles of fizz – it’s a real once-a-year treat.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Othello
Cyrano de Bergerac
Grosvenor Open Air Theatre


YEP at Croxteth Hall

Young Everyman and Playhouse – now known as YEP – will be putting their own inventive and modern spin on Wind in the Willows in a promenade performance in the grounds of Croxteth Hall in late July.

“If you think you know the plot, prepare for a surprise,” warn the Weasels – in hoodies, natch.

Young Everyman and Playhouse present Wind In The Willows
26-28 July
Croxteth Hall


Liverpool Network Theatre presents Romeo And Juliet

Community group Liverpool Network Theatre will be touring their annual summer Shakespeare production, this year Romeo And Juliet, at various outdoor locations across the city including West Derby, Kensington, Woolton and Mossley Hill from this week.

With a cast sourced from open auditions it’s about as grassroots as theatre gets.

Liverpool Theatre Network presents Romeo and Juliet
July 19-28
Various locations


A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Speke Hall

There’s more Midsummer Night’s Dreaming going on in the grounds of Speke Hall – expect music, magic and audience participation in this new production from Pantaloons Theatre Company.

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The company returns in August to put its own lighthearted spin on the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
31 July

Sherlock Holmes
17 August

Speke Hall


Impropriety at Kazimier Gardens

Among the al fresco delights to be found in the Kazimier Gardens this summer will be comedy troupe Impropriety’s Big Day of Fun in August.

The family day will include improv workshops and performances plus appearances from Edinburgh-bound sketch group Legion of Doom, Headstrung Puppet Cabaret, the Handbag of Harmonies choir and more.

Impropriety’s Big Day of Fun
4 August
Kazimier Garden


How to Fall in Love at Unity Theatre

How to Fall in Love in an experimental piece of street theatre by Wirral-based RAWD, which works with aspiring actors with learning disabilities.

The company will start at the Unity before splitting the audience into twos and taking them on a ‘date’ around the city in this feel-good show.

How to Fall in Love
6, 7 August
Unity Theatre