Summer in Newcastle: outdoor theatre not to miss
If there’s one thing I love doing in summer, it’s watching a bit of outdoor theatre. Last year, I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed at one of the beautiful colleges in Oxford – a stunning performance that really stands out in my mind as one of my favourite evenings out in 2012. So, when I head up to Newcastle for a long weekend later this year, outdoor theatre is high on my to-do list.
If you’ve never seen any outdoor theatre before, you might be wondering just what makes it so special. In my opinion, good theatre is hard to beat, but the appeal is much more than simply seeing a knockout show. The chance to enjoy it in the open air, which is perfect for balmy summer evenings, is a big part of the experience, while most performances also let you bring wine and a picnic to add an extra dose of magic and merriment to the whole affair.
While there aren’t many outdoor performances currently scheduled in central Newcastle (or not that I can see, anyway!), there are plenty nearby. So, I’d recommend booking accommodation in a fairly central location so it’s easy to travel outside the city when you need to, but also to enjoy its attractions when you don’t. Booking a hotel in Jesmond, Newcastle is a good choice if you fancy having some scenic greenery to enjoy the sunshine in nearby as well.
All of the below are being staged at the gorgeous English Heritage site of Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, which is in Belsay, Northumberland. As well as being an incredible setting for these performances, this site is just a 25-minute drive from central Newcastle, or 40 minutes away on public transport. You’ll be welcome to bring wine and picnics with you!
Sense and Sensibility
First on my list is Sense and Sensibility, a stage adaptation of the classic Jane Austen Novel. Being performed by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company, the play will tell the classic story of sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood’s first experiences of love and heartbreak.
It’s being performed on July 6th and the gates open at 18:45, while the play begins at 19:30. As a quick tip, I’d get there on the early side to nab a good picnic spot!
Comedy of Errors
A classic Shakespearean comedy is my next recommendation. Rain or Shine Theatre will be performing Comedy of Errors on August 17th, and I think this is a great choice if you like the sound of giggling over your glass of wine on a (hopefully!) warm summer evening.
In case you’re not familiar with Comedy of Errors, it’s a play about two sets of twins, mistaken identity and an awful lot of comical confusion! Expect misplaced seductions, false accusations and wrongful beatings aplenty!
Wind in the Willows
If you’d like something you can enjoy as a family, I recommend seeing Wind in the Willows performed on August 8th. This adaptation of the classic novel promises to be heaps of fun for all ages, featuring music and dancing, as well as a lively woodland parade in the interval that you can join in with! So, this is bound to be something the kids will love. Adults, meanwhile, are likely to enjoy the colourful costumes, which have been beautifully designed in keeping with tradition.