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Keep it fresh! Open air theatre shows in Surrey

Picnic hampers and fold-up chairs at the ready: it’s outdoor theatre season! You’ve got your pick this year, from kid-pleasing comedy to Shakespearean classics. Here's what to book now.

The Jungle Book
■ Kew Gardens, Richmond (Tulip Tree Avenue) ■  Sat 23 July – 21 Aug (Tues-Sun)
Fun, songs and adventure await in this heart-warming story for all of the family. Join Mowgli on her journey through the jungle as she meets the wise Bagheera, the noble Akela and the enthusiastic Baloo. Shows are at 11am and 2pm, and run for 70 minutes, with no interval. 

Twelfth Night
■ Kew Gardens, Richmond (next to the Japanese Pagoda) ■ Fri 29 July – 29 Aug (Wed-Sun)
Brought into a 1930’s setting, Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedyTwelfth Night offers the perfect excuse for a picnic with friends set against Kew’s beautiful background.

Othello
■ Hatchlands Park, East Clandon ■ Tues 2 Aug
Love, jealousy, deception, murder. Othello is an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Changeling’s production promises to fizz with passion, intrigue and dark humour. Who needs Scandi noir when you’ve got Shakespeare?

The Importance of Being Earnest
■ Hatchlands Park, East Clandon ■ Wed 3 Aug
Fancy of an evening of open-air decadence and hilarity? You’re in the right place! Immersion Theatre are bringing Oscar Wilde’s wittiest comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, to Hatchlands. Prepare your cucumber sandwiches and sit back and enjoy one of literature’s most trivial comedies for serious people.

New Creations Collective The Secret Garden

A Midsummers Night’s Dream
■ Painshill, Cobham ■ Thurs 4 Aug
Shakespeare’s timeless comic masterpiece by Illyria explores every colour in the spectrum of love, from arranged marriage to elopement, from infatuation to hatred, from chivalric devotion to raw sex. Add to this bawdy mix a heady brew of confusion, magic and mischief, and you have the most perfectly frothy comedy for a moonlit summer evening. Oh, I do say!

The Green Knight
■ Bagshot Playing Fields, Bagshot ■ Tues 9 Aug
A raucous tale for ages five and up based on the Arthurian legend!
Join the young Gawain as he journeys across ancient Britain, in search of the greatest sword-master of all time, Sir Bredbeddle, The Green Knight.

The Rascally Diner
■ Windlesham Field of Remembrance ■ Wed 10 Aug
Everybody clap your pans – it’s time for The Rascally Diner which is cooking up a storm in this fun-filled, messy performance about food. It’s ideal for kids aged 5+ and their families.

Catch that Beast
■ Frimley Lodge Park, Frimley ■ Thurs 11 Aug
The Royal Society of Beastologists are a group with one mission: to track down mythical beasts. And they’re coming to Frimley Lodge Park to track down the Beast of Frimley. A great show for anyone aged 5 and above.

The Secret Garden
■ West Horsley Place, West Horsley ■ Fri 20 Aug
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s iconic story is brought to life in this one-hour dance adaptation by New Creations Collective, a Kent-based dance company.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
■ Castle Grounds, Reigate ■ Tuesday 23 August, 7pm
The Duke’s Theatre Company present Shakespeare’s celebrated comic fairy tale, featuring live music, beautiful design and theatrical magic.

The Little Mix Show
■ Castle Grounds, Reigate ■ Wednesday 24 August, 6pm
Dance and sing along to the girl group’s chart-topping hits in this exciting, high-energy pop concert for all ages.

Julius Caesar
■ West Horsley Place, West Horsley ■ Fri 26 & Sat 27 Aug
Performed by the Globe Theatre, Shakespeare’s epic tragedy takes on new relevance and asks the question: in a world where the mark of one’s success is how great your country is, how far are our leaders willing to go to reign supreme? 

Globe on Tour Julius Caesar

Rapunzel
■ Hatchlands Park, East Clandon ■ Fri 26 Aug
Let your hair down and get tangled in a brand-new musical adaptation of this children’s classic fairy tale. With magic and mayhem throughout, it’s billed as a hair-raising adventure the family won’t want to miss. 

Alice in Wonderland
■ Painshill, Cobham ■ Sat 27 Aug
Alice follows a white rabbit down a rabbit hole and ends up in Wonderland where she meet some of the strangest and most peculiar characters, including the mysterious Cheshire Cat, the Wacky Mad Hatter and the foul-tempered Queen of Hearts! Filled with live music and puppetry, this is a great show for the whole family!

Much Ado About Murder
■ Castle Grounds, Reigate ■ Friday 26 August, 7pm
Don your detective cap and join Heartbreak Productions for an original murder mystery where the audience find the answers!

OOPS… TOO LATE FOR THESE

The Pirates of Penzance
■ Painshill, Cobham ■ Fri 8 July
With hilarious melodrama, sharp satire and glittering wit, The Pirates of Penzance is as fresh as if it had been written today. This production by Illyria Theatre is packed-full of memorable songs such as To be a Pirate King!, Modern Major General and A Policeman’s Lot is Not a Happy One.

Double bill: Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet
■ Painshill, Cobham ■ Fri 15 July
Two of Shakespeare’s most memorable productions come to Painhill – Act One is a side splitting Romeo & Juliet (Yes, a comedy!) followed by an even more outrageous Hamlet in Act Two. It’s by 440 Theatre – 40 actors delivering exciting and engaging piece of theatre in 40 minutes. Laughs guaranteed.

The Tempest
■ The Astolat Pavilion, Stoke Park, Guildford ■ Fri 15 – Sat 30 July

Guildford Shakespeare Company continues its open-air theatre season with a promenade production of The Tempest, staged across varying locations in Stoke Park, Guildford. The show starts and ends at the Astolat Pavilion, GSC’s HQ, on the edge of the park. Expect shipwrecks, sorcerers and surprises, in this enthralling voyage of reckoning and redemption.

The Secret Garden
■ Claremont Gardens, Esher ■ Sat 16 July
Join Mary on her journey to discovering The Secret Garden in this family-friendly, dance adaptation of the best-selling novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The iconic story is brought to life like in this one-hour ballet by Kent-based New Creations Collective. Perfect for kids and grown ups.

The Wind and the Willows
■ Meadowbank Park, Dorking ■ Sat 16 July
Join Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger on a wild adventure filled with motorcar madness, wicked weasels, exciting escapes and plenty of messing about in boats. Billed as frantically feral fun for the whole family – it’s put on by the Pantaloons Theatre Company.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
■ Meadowbank Park, Dorking ■ Sat 16 July
Six actor-musicians present one of Shakespeare’s favourite comedies, with a Scoot Theatre ‘spin’. Get ready for confusion, chaos and costume changes! Expect music, magic, and cricket bat sword fights!

As You Like It
■ Claremont Gardens, Esher ■ Sun 17 July
Bring a chair and a picnic and be entertained by Shakespeare’s sparkling comedy performed by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an all-male cast, in the open air and with Elizabethan costumes, music and dance.

A Midsummer’s Nights Dream (In Sixty Minutes)
■ Farnham Cricket Club, Farnham ■ Thurs 28 July
Join Scoot Theatre for their outdoor, sixty-minute, family-friendly production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Expect music, magic, and cricket bat sword fights!

Much Ado About Nothing
■ Painshill, Cobham ■ Fri 30 July
Two young lovers, Claudio and Hero are to be married but a malicious scheme threatens their big day. Meanwhile marriage seems inconceivable for the bantering Beatrice and Benedick, Shakespeare’s wittiest and most loveable pair of reluctant lovers, whose endless sparring threatens to keep them apart forever!

As You Like It
■ Hatchlands Park, East Clandon ■ Sun 31 July
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men invite you to join them this summer for the sparkling comedy, As You Like It. Enjoy a glorious summer’s evening watching one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies. Performed in the open air as Shakespeare first saw it, by an all-male cast with Elizabethan costumes, music and dance. 

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