The best open air theatre in Somerset
Picnic blanket? Check. Booze? Check. Grub? Check. Brolly? Check. More booze? Check. Then you’re all set to enjoy some of the al fresco theatre coming down to Somerset this summer.
Around the World in Eighty Days
Racing against the clock, Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout travel around the world by any means necessary to see if they can make it back to London in 80 days (about the same time it takes to get through the Stonehenge bottleneck on a Friday evening). This Boxtree production is on at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells on Fri 12 August. Gates open 6pm; show starts 6.30pm. £14 adult; £9 under 16s; £30 2 adults/2 under 16s.
The story of the boy who never grew up (P. Pan, not your significant other). Join Peter, Wendy, Michael and John Darling on the magical island of Neverland in a new production, with original music and songs, from Chapterhouse Theatre. On at the National Trust’s Tyntesfield on Sat 3 September. Doors open 6.45; show starts 7.30. £16 adult; £8 child; 1 adult/3 children £32; 2 adults/2 children £48.
Much Ado About Nothing
Enemies deceive lovers and friends trick friends (not UK politicians but everyday Shakesperean folk) in this lively battle of the sexes comedy from The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. It’s on at two venues in Somerset. The Bishop’s Palace in Wells on Sun 31 July. Gates open at 6pm; show starts 7pm. £16.50 adult; £10 child; £45 2 adults/2 under-16s; 10% discount for groups of 10 or more. You can also see it at the National Trust’s Tyntesfield on Sat 30 July. 6.45pm £16 adults; £8 children, 2 adults/3 children £48; 1 adult/3 children £32.
The Smartest Giant in Town
George updates his image and then discovers it’s not how you look but how you feel. Folksy Theatre’s version of Julia Donaldson’s famous book is on at the Walled Gardens of Cannington on Sat 20 August, at 2pm & 5pm. Tickets now only available for 5pm show. Advance tickets from their gift shop or Folksy website. £13.50 adult; £10 concession; £8 child; £38 2 adults/2under 16s. On the day, £15 adults; £12 concessions; £19 child; no family tickets.
Sense and Sensibility
Enjoy a picnic under the stars as the Dashwood sisters find their way and lose their hearts – and find the perfect balance of sense and sensibility – in this Chapterhouse Theatre production of the Shakespearean classic. On at Dunster Castle, near Minehead on Sat 20 August. 6.30pm. £14 adult; £10 child; £42 2 adults/2 children; £40 1 adult/3 children; £52 2 adults/3 children.
As You Like It
Rosalind falls in love with Orlando, gets banished from court, disguises herself as a boy and calls herself Ganymede. See what happens next. You can see the Folksy Theatre’s production at Hestercombe, just outside Taunton (in the Edwardian garden with Edwin Lutyen’s Orangery as the backdrop) on Sun 31 Jul, 7pm; at the Walled Gardens of Cannington near Bridgwater, on Fri 29 July; and Forde Abbey in Chard, on 2 August, 7pm. In advance £13.50 adult; £10; concession £8 child; £38 2 adults/2 under 16s. On the door, £15 adult; £12 concession; £10 child; no family ticket.
The Canterbury Tales
A cast of just five actors take on all the parts in every single one of Chaucer’s 24 timeless tales (over 70 in case you were wondering) in The Pantaloon’s fast-paced production. Expect puppets, music, magic, mayhem, belly laughs, talking chickens and burnt bottoms I had a wet bottom the last time I saw them at Montacute House. I sat in a puddle of rainwater that had collected in my little camp chair and the show was so good I (almost) didn’t notice. On at Montacute House, Sat 13 August. 7.30pm. £15 adult; £7 child; £11 group; The Walled Gardens of Cannington on Sat 26 August, 7.30pm, tickets from £8; The Bishop’s Palace on Sun 27 August. 7.30pm. £14 adult; £10 under 16s; £42 2 adults/2 under 16s; and Alford House in Castle Cary on Sat 3 September, 7.30pm. £15 adult; £5 children (book here).
Watch The Pantaloon’s production of Swift’s satire in the gorgeous Walled Gardens of Cannington on Thurs 14 July. You’ll meet the tiny people of Lilliput, the giants of the place I can never remember (just checked… Brobdingnag), the floating island of Laputa and the land with talking horses. 7pm. Tickets from £8 from their gift shop or on The Pantaloon’s website.