See Belle tame an arrogant prince-beast among the spectacular ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, watch Clytemnestra rule the roost while bathed in Sicilian moonlight, or catch thrilling musical performances under the iconic arch of the Hollywood Bowl. This summer, get ready to witness these and other world-class productions around the world, either live in their jaw-dropping locations or via online streaming.

*Please check local health guidelines and restrictions, and visit the venues’ official websites to stay up-to-date on public health alerts.

Enchanting Tales At Williamson Park

Lancaster, England, UK
Until 22 August 2021

It’s about time we enjoy the magical thrills and fabulous adventures of our favourite fairy tale characters once again – and in the great outdoors, no less! Upholding Williamson Park’s three-decade tradition of open-air theatre productions, this year The Dukes present Grimm Tales: a fresh adaptation of beloved classic fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, featuring witches, wolves, frogs and fairies in a theatrical experience sure to entertain young and old alike. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and bring a picnic!

Legendary Love At The Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury, England, UK
Until 7 August 2021

After walking the audience down the yellow brick road with their successful rendering of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the recent past, Ian Kennedy Productions return with a modern and unconventional retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which will take an itinerant tour across the UK ending on 5 September this year. Among the many scenic and historic locations en route, we can’t help but steer you towards the show taking place amidst the magnificent ruins of Glastonbury Abbey – aka the legendary resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. What better ambience for such a spellbinding tale?

Classical Tragedies In The Greek Theatre

Syracuse, Sicily
Until 21 August 2021

Since 1952, the National Institute of Ancient Drama (INDA) has made a name for itself organising an annual cycle of classical plays “in the most important classical theatre in Europe by far” – the Greek Theatre of Syracuse, Sicily. These extraordinary architectural ruins, dating back to the fifth century BC, have seen the most talented artists of the Italian and international scene perform in front of thousands of spectators every summer for more than half a century. After a one-year hiatus, the 56th edition is poised to amaze a slightly scaled-down audience, bringing to the stage Aeschylus’ The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides, both under the direction of Davide Livermore, as well as Euripides’ The Bacchae, directed by Carlus Padrissa, and Aristophanes’ comedy The Clouds, directed by Antonio Calenda.

[Photo: Giorgia Capozzi]

Free Performances At The Miller Outdoor Theatre

Houston, Texas, USA
Various Dates In August

In the heart of Houston’s Hermann Park, the Miller Outdoor Theatre is determined to accommodate visitors of all ages with a season of diverse entertainment, from jazz and classical concerts, to dramas and musicals, film screenings, family-friendly shows and more. A particular stand-out is Bhoomi on 20 August, a production by Houston’s own Indian performing arts group, Samskriti. Set against a backdrop of paintings from award-winning artist Shanthi Chandrasekhar and an original score by Praveen Rao, the work explores climate change and the evolution of human connection with nature through the prism of Indian philosophical thought. This and other productions in the line-up of free events are funded by the city’s nonprofit Houston Arts Alliance. Tickets are available online starting two days before each event, and seating is limited, so plan accordingly – or catch the livestream right from home.

The Best Of Puccini In Torre del Lago

Viareggio, Italy
Until 26th August 2021

It might be trite and clichéd, but it’s also an undeniable fact: inspiration and location go hand in hand (and not just because they rhyme). For evidence, look to the picturesque hamlet of Torre del Lago and the stage design of its open-air theatre which, every year since 1930, has attracted tens of thousands of opera aficionados to the only festival in the world entirely dedicated to the composer Giacomo Puccini. It’s here, on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli, where one of the most-renowned Italian opera composers lived and worked, creating masterpieces such as Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Come to admire great stars of opera under the direction of some of the foremost conductors, in addition to melologues and film screenings against a breathtaking natural backdrop.

Rodgers And Hammerstein At Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

London, England, UK
Until 25 September 2021

Upheld by a rich past and an equally honourable present, the Open Air Theatre at Regent’s Park continues to draw in casual strollers and dedicated spectators in central London with the charm of lush greenery and the allure of outstanding theatrical performances with stars both celebrated and celestial. Sparkling metaphors aside, the permanent outdoor stage, which opened in 1932, is delighted to welcome audiences back upon its reopening to full capacity this summer. In August and September, it will play host to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1945 musical Carousel, based on Ferenc Molnár’s 1909 play Liliom. The production will be directed by Timothy Sheader, with choreography by Drew McOnie and music supervision by Tom Deering.

Comedy Greats At Minack Theatre

Cornwall, England, UK
Until 12 August 2021

Gracefully perched atop a jutting crag along one of the UK’s most stunning coastlines, Minack Theatre is the result of the visionary dream of artist and theatre aficionado Rowena Cade. This authentic gem already possesses the power to take audiences’ breath away with its astounding natural highs – even before adding in its line-up of offerings, from guided tours to world-class theatre stagings. This month, it’s Told by an Idiot’s production of Charlie & Stan which stands out, bringing to the scene the story of a still-anonymous Charlie Chaplin sailing to the Big Apple as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe, with an equally unknown Stan Laurel as his understudy.

Open-Air Opera In Santa Fe

Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Until 9 August 2021

It would be a shame not to put a semi-arid continental climate and nearly 300 sunny days per year to good use – and Santa Fe doesn’t intend to. As part of its reopening celebrations, the Santa Fe Opera has introduced Opera in the Park, a series of free screenings of its 2021 season operas that will take place both at Villa Linda Park in Santa Fe and at the Civic Plaza in Albuquerque. Attendees are encouraged to bring something to sit on and something to nibble on while they enjoy the show.

Summer Nights At The Hollywood Bowl

Los Angeles, California, USA
Until 28 September 2021

If you’re anywhere near Los Angeles, get ready for multiple nights of great shows under the Californian stars – and don’t miss out on the incredible programme put together by the LA Philharmonic at its summer home. The Hollywood Bowl hosts over 250 cultural events throughout the season, guaranteeing high-end extravaganza in complete safety. Yes, the programme is mostly geared towards concert performances, but you can occasionally catch productions with theatrical flair, including the Sound of Music sing-along on 21 August. As for the Tchaikovsky Spectacular with Fireworks, we can assure you: what it lacks in dramaturgy, it more than makes up for in pyrotechnic drama.

[Photo: Michael Li/Flickr]

Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
7-29 August 2021

Just when the word “festival” was starting to feel like a faraway memory, the Scottish capital city renewed its commitment to excellence and originality – and renewed our spirits – by reinstating its annual Edinburgh International Festival. Three locations – Edinburgh Park, the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad and Edinburgh Academy’s junior school – give themselves over to live events for three weeks this summer. Among the many musical and performing arts productions by incredible names (like Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, or accomplished fiddler Duncan Chisholm), visitors will find a number of theatrical stagings; we’re particularly intrigued by Alan Cumming’s eclectic solo performance offering bitter and witty insights into the ageing process.

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