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22 of the best open air performances in Dorset - summer 2015

PUBLISHED: 17:03 02 July 2015 | UPDATED: 17:03 02 July 2015

The Return of the Native performed by The New Hardy Players

The Return of the Native performed by The New Hardy Players


Summer is here and one of the best ways to enjoy a long evening is with a picnic at one of these open air performances in Dorset

Pride & Prejudice - 8 July

The Pantaloons play out Jane Austen’s romance between Lizzie and Mr Darcy in the grounds of Highcliffe Castle, Christchurch. Box Office: 01425 278807


The Magnificent Three - 9 July

Saddle up the horses and hit the trail of Dead Man’s Prairie as Miracle Theatre are back with their next installment of fantastic outdoor theatre at Maumbury Rings, Dorchester. Box office 01305 266926. Also 30 July: Springhead Fontmell Magna 01747 811853; 31 July: Sandford Orcas 01963 220208 & 1 August: Kimmeridge Bay


Return of the Native - 9-11 & 16-18 July

The New Hardy Players mark their 10th anniversary with Thomas Hardy’s tale of intrigue, hope and destiny on Egdon Heath in a series of outdoor performances.

9-10 July: Max Gate, Dorchester; 11 July: Minterne House, Minterne Magna; 16-17 July: Lulworth Cove; 18 July: Watercombe House, Owermoigne. Box office 01305 267992 or from Dorchester Tourist Information. More details at


The Comedy of Babi Babbett - 12 & 18 July

The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company perform a comedy set in Islington in 1793 expect mayhem, music and fun in this summer outdoor theatre event. Book in advance at Performances start 7.30pm

12 July: Child Okeford Recreation Ground; 18 July Durleston Country Park


The Merchant of Venice - 14-18 & 21-25 July

Will the Bournemouth Shakespeare Players seek their pound of flesh in this open-air performance at Priory House Garden, Christchurch. Box office: 01202 534776


Double Take - 19 July

Free dance event from Pavilion Dance South West featuring Geddes & Groves who take their dance on to the streets of Bournemouth Town 1-4pm.


The Tempest - 22, 24, 27, 29, 31 July & 3, 5 &7 August

Brownsea Open Air Theatre perform Shakespeare’s magical tale about an island on one of Dorset’s prettiest islands. Ticket includes island access from Poole, bring a picnic! Booking essential: 01202 251987


Much Ado About Nothing - 22 July

The Pantaloons perform Shakespeare’s romantic comedy in the grounds of Highcliffe Castle, Christchurch. Box Office on 01425 278807


Music in the Park - 25 July

The Band and Bugles of The Rifles, our county’s own military band join the Yeovil Operatic Society in the grounds of Child Okeford Manor to raise money for Help for Heroes and the Village Hall Appeal. Gates open at 5pm. The concert starts at 6.30pm.


Marshwood Manor Opera Picnic Opera - 26 July

The Garden Opera Company performs Verdi’s opera of love and despair, La Traviata, with a live chamber ensemble. Bring a picnic and enjoy this concert in the grounds of Marshwood Manor near Bridport. Box office: 01308 867440


Canterbury Tales - 26 July

The Wessex Actors Company lively retelling of Chaucer’s famous tales. 5 July: Swans Rugby Club, Wareham (6pm); 12 July: Upton Country House. Poole (6pm); 18 July: Kingston Lacy House (1pm & 6pm); 26 July: Poundbury Farm House, Dorchester (1pm & 6pm). Box office for outdoor venues listed above 07771 691 603. Also at the following theatres: 3 &10 July Mowlem Theatre, Swanage 01929 422 239; 4 July Shelley Theatre, Boscombe 01202 413 600; 17 July Exchange, Sturminster Newton 01258 475137; 24 July Regent Centre. Christchurch 01202 499199 & 25 July: Barrington Centre, Ferndown 01202 894858.


The Tempest - 27, 29, 31 July & 3, 5 & 7 August

Brownsea Open Air Theatre perform Shakespeare’s magical tale about an island on one of Dorset’s prettiest islands. Ticket includes island access from Poole, bring a picnic! Booking essential; 01202 251987


The Magnificent Three 30-31 July & 1 August

Saddle up with Cornwall’s Miracle Theatre for this lively Spaghetti Western. All performances start at 7.30pm.

30 July: Springhead Fontmell Magna 01747 811853; 31 July: Sandford Orcas. 01963 220208; 1 August: Kimmeridge Bay


Twelfth Night - 6 August

Join The Lord Chamberlain’s Men for Shakespeare’s enigmatic comedy in the beautiful grounds of Kingston Lacy house. Booking: 0844 249 1895


The Sorcerer’s Apprentice - 7 August

The story of the original boy-wizard set against the dramatic backdrop of Corfe Castle with magical illusions designed by Paul Daniels. Booking: 0844 249 1895


Stars Under the Stars - 15 & 28 – 30 August

The Purbeck Film Festival in conjunction with the National Trust hosts four outdoor screenings. 15 August: Mermaids at Knoll Beach, Studland; 28 August: What We Did On Our Holidays; 29 August: Paddington & 30 August: Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit all at Corfe Castle. All events weather permitting.


Around the World In 80 Days - 16 August

Phileas Fogg and his world-weary valet Passepartout embark on a journey around the world in 80 days in the grounds of Kingston Lacy. Booking: 0844 249 1895


Treasure Island - 18 August

The Pantaloons bring Robert Louis Stevenson’s piratical tale to life in the grounds of Highcliffe Castle in Christchurch Starts 3pm. Box Office: 01425 278807


The Three Musketeers - 22 August

Join D’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis in the grounds of Corfe Castle for this dazzling production by the renowned Illyria. Booking: 0844 249 1895


A Midsummer Night’s Dream - 28 August

Chapterhouse Theatre Company presents Shakespeare’s romantic comedy in the magical gardens of Athelhampton House. Booking: 01305 848363


Pride and Prejudice - 29 August

Chapterhouse Theatre Company brings Lizzie and Darcy together in the Georgian setting of Mountfield in Bridport. Bookings: 01308 424 204


Haka Day Out - 29 August

Free live dance performances by Corey Baker Dance (2pm, 4.30pm & 7pm) on the Pavilion Dance Terrace in the heart of Bournemouth featuring New Zealand’s magical culture. More details at


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