To celebrate the opening of the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre this week, we take a look at some of the great outdoor theatres around the UK.

Best for views

Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Panoramic view of Minack Theatre, Cornwall.
Minack Theatre, Cornwall.
Photo by Tom Lewy © Tim Lewy, via Wikimedia Commons Browse and license our images

Occupying a stunning cliff setting overlooking the sea, this open air theatre in Porthcurno was quite literally carved - by hand - out of the granite. Work on the project started in the 1930s, with rocks from the cliffside and sand from the beach used to create the shape of the theatre and many of the structures that are still in place today. Look out to sea and there's even a chance you might see dolphins or seals enjoying the water.

Best for intimate shows

Willow Globe, Powys

A scaled-down, living version of Shakespeare's Globe in London, this Welsh outdoor theatre is made up of woven walls of willow, originally planted in 2006. The theatre is about a third of the size of the Globe and has a thrust stage for its shows, making for a magical and intimate space for its range of workshops and productions.

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.
Photo by Mike Fleming (cropped) © Mike Fleming from London, England, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Browse and license our images

Built in 1932, this is the oldest professional outdoor theatre in the UK, and also boasts one of the largest auditoria in the capital. The venue had an unusual start to life, being created as a makeshift theatre for a production of Twelfth Night following the closure of a play by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Now, the theatre has made its digital archive available online, giving an insight into almost a century's worth of shows.

Best for seafarers

Brownsea Open Air Theatre, Dorset

A category you might not have expected, but you probably didn't expect one of these theatres to only be reachable by sea. BOAT (see what they did there?) runs its productions on Brownsea Island, the largest of the five main islands in Poole Harbour, with a short ferry ride getting patrons to and from the shows. Get there early for a picnic and a chance to explore.

Best for Shakespeare

Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

The Garden Theatre lit up at night with an audience and the cast standing to bow on the chequered stage
The Comedy of Errors in the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre
Photo by Pete Le May © RSC Browse and license our images

Well, what did you expect us to say? This newly-built temporary theatre in the Swan Gardens is the home for Phillip Breen's production of The Comedy of Errors, and Next Generation ACT's performances of All Mirth and No Matter on 23 July, based on the wedding scene from Much Ado About Nothing

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