10 of the most beautiful outdoor theatres

With Covid-19 keeping theatres shut for the foreseeable future, we look back to visit our favourite outdoor theatres from around the world.

We round up some of our favourite outdoor theatres, both in the UK and around the world. 

1. Shakespeare’s Globe

No list of outdoor theatres would be complete without The Globe, rebuilt by Sam Wanamaker based on the Shakespearean original.

2. Epidaurus, Greece

Built in the 4th Century AD, this is the granddaddy of all outdoor theatres. Although it seats up to 14,000, its acoustics are famously so good you can (literally) hear a pin drop.  2020 saw reduced schedules, but shows did go on, ensuring an ongoing theatrical presence in Athens.

3. Brighton Open Air Theatre

Since opening in 2015, Brighton Open Air Theatre, or BOAT, has proved an extremely popular place to visit whilst visiting the UK’s Southeast coast. This may be the smallest outdoor theatre on our list, but it’s mighty nevertheless.

4. Seebühne, Bregenz

This incredible floating stage has an auditorium seating 7,000 and is the star attraction of an annual theatre festival held in Bregenz, on the shores of Lake Constance in Austria. The sets are among the most spectacular you will see.

5. The Minack, Cornwall

The Minack. Carved into a granite cliff overlooking Porthcurno Bay, it’s difficult to imagine a more picturesque backdrop for theatre.  It was one of the first theatres to open back up for productions after lockdown restrictions eased in July 2020.

6. Allen Elizabethan Theatre, Oregon

One of three theatres that host the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, this beautiful venue has been extensively remodelled over the years and seats well over 1,000 people.

7. Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park 

A firm fixture of the London Summer season, the Open Air Theatre produces a mixture of plays and musicals and has been attracting growing audiences in recent years. This year has seen a concert version of its record-breaking revival of Jesus Christ Superstar for those needing a theatre fix after lockdown.

8. The Delacorte Theatre, New York

Known for hosting the Public Theater’s annual free ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ seasons, this 1,800-seater is situated in the iconic Central Park. Since opening in 1962 it has hosted greats including James Earl Jones, Meryl Streep  and  Al Pacino.

9. Hever Festival Theatre, Kent

Situated in the grounds of the 13th century Hever castle, this is a great choice for the rain-averse; most of the seats are covered by canopies to make sure the Great British weather can’t spoil the fun.

10. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Theatre, China

Set against the backdrop of the jaw-dropping Snow Mountain massif, theatres don’t come much more epic than this one in Lijiang, southern China. Vertigo suffers beware: it’s situated at 3,500m.