11 glorious Gloucestershire locations to enjoy open-air theatre

Spanning beautiful gardens, unique amphitheatres and historic castles, pack a picnic and enjoy an alfresco performance at one of the best open-air theatre spots in Gloucestershire this summer.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Check out the best Gloucestershire locations to enjoy some open-air theatre, from the gorgeous Painswick Rococo Garden to the spectacular Sudeley Castle.

Shakespeare famously wrote ‘all the world’s a stage’ – and this certainly rings true in Gloucestershire this summer, with open-air theatre events taking place at some of the most picturesque locations across the county.

Boasting outdoor drama, the bard under the stars and fine family entertainment, SoGlos has handpicked 11 of our favourite places to enjoy an alfresco theatre performance in Gloucestershire.

Outdoor theatre at Painswick Rococo Garden

Providing a truly magical setting for an alfresco performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Painswick Rococo Garden plays host to bicycle-powered theatre troupe The Handlebards on Friday 30 June and Saturday 1 July 2023. 

Murder mystery fans won't want to miss LocoMotive for Murder The Improvised Whodunnit on Friday 2 June 2023; while Greek gods come to the garden on Monday 28 August 2023 for a family-friendly performance of Hercules from IKP.

Outdoor theatre at Longborough Festival Opera in the Cotswolds

Longborough Festival Opera provides an utterly unique setting to experience opera, encouraging guests to pack a picnic and arrive early to enjoy a glass of Champagne while they soak in the glorious Cotswold views – or book a table to enjoy luxury dining in the festival restaurant.

This year's programme includes Götterdämmerung, the epic conclusion of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle which started at the 2019 festival; Gaetono Donizetti's satirical comedy L'Elisir d'Amore; Olivia Fuchs' radical take on L'Orfeo; and brand-new for 2023, a production of Henry Purcell's The Fairy Queen

Outdoor theatre at Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe

The Duke's Theatre Company brings one of Shakespeare's most iconic comedies to Sudeley Castle this summer, with a performance of Twelfth Night on Thursday 27 July 2023. 

Audiences can expect original music, madcap comedy, spectacular sets and the full text in all its glory, with the Tudor palace’s gardens providing a the perfect setting for the open-air show.

Outdoor theatre at Berkeley Castle near Stroud

The imposing Berkley Castle provides a spectacular backdrop for outdoor theatre performances this summer, with The Duke's Theatre Company also bringing its performance of Twelfth Night to the Stroud venue on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 August 2023. 

There are interactive children's theatre experiences taking place during the summer holidays, too, with Wild Geese Theatre bringing Loki: Lord of Mischief and Sir Gawain of the Round Table to the outdoor stage on Sunday 6 August 2023. 

Outdoor theatre at Llanthony Secunda Priory in Gloucester

Gloucester’s historic Llanthony Secunda Priory plays host to Peter Rabbit and his naughty cousin Benjamin, with an outdoor theatre performance on Sunday 13 August 2023. 

Quantum Theatre Company brings two of Beatrix Potter's much-loved tales to life, with performances of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Benjamin Bunny that are sure to delight little theatre-lovers and nostalgic grown-ups alike!

Outdoor theatre at Tuckwell Amphitheatre in Cheltenham

The idyllic Tuckwell Amphitheatre stages the Bacon Theatre’s annual Open Air Theatre Festival every August, with a packed programme of shows lined up for 2023. 

Highlights include adaptations of classic novels including Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Lewis Carroll's beloved children's book Alice in Wonderland and F. Scott Fitzgerald's iconic The Great Gatsby; Opera Anywhere's performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's most famous operetta, The Mikado; while families won't want to miss seeing David Walliams' Bad Dad when it takes to the Tuckwell stage.

Outdoor theatre at Museum in the Park in Stroud

Enjoy an intimate performance within the walled garden at Stroud's Museum in the Park when the Festival Players perform Twelfth Night on Friday 21 July 2023.

The critically-acclaimed troupe, which boasts Dame Judi Dench as a patron, is known for its spirited and energetic performances, with Shakespeare's zany rom com sure to provide plenty of laughs. 

Outdoor theatre at Newark Park in Wotton-under-Edge

Promising audiences a 'riotous Regency rom com', the Pantaloons Theatre Company brings its unique adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma to Newark Park on Saturday 5 August 2023. 

Then on Saturday 12 August 2023, it invites audiences to follow the cast down the rabbit hole with an 'anarchic' adaptation of Alice in Wonderland full of live music and plenty of audience participation. 

Outdoor theatre at Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham

Providing a dreamy poolside setting for outdoor theatre, Cheltenham’s Sandford Parks Lido is a great spot to enjoy a show this summer.

Taking place in its luscious grounds, families can enjoy a spellbinding performance of children’s classic Wind in the Willows on Saturday 1 July 2023, as Mr Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger head off on an epic adventure.

Outdoor theatre at Berrybank Park in the Cotswolds

One of the most unique outdoor theatre venues in the Cotswolds, Berrybank Park invites audiences to see a packed programme of summer shows at its open-air amphitheatre with uninterrupted views of the Evenlode Valley.

Its season of performances runs from May to September 2023, with highlights including Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain; a magical retelling of children's classic The Velveteen Rabbit; a bicycle-powered rendition of Romeo and Juliet from The Handlebards; a three-hander version of Peter Pan from Slapstick Picnic; and a performance of Doctor Dolittle from Tethered Wits, with a chance to meet the 'animals' after the show, too. 

Outdoor theatre at Eastnor Castle near Gloucestershire

Just across the Gloucestershire border near Ledbury, Heartbreak Productions stages Regency romance Sense and Sensibility in the grounds of Eastnor Castle on Sunday 4 June 2023.

Pitting sister against sister, this classic tale of sibling rivalry, romance and social satire is not to be missed. 

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