Cultural Tourist: Life on the open stage

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The Independent Travel

Though the UK can't boast of a venue as grand as Greece's ancient theatre at Epidaurus or the Roman theatre at Orange in Provence, outdoor performance is thriving in this country. Plays, musicals and operas feature as often as nightly at outdoor venues, the grandest of which is Shakespeare's Globe on the South Bank in London. This recreation of the most celebrated Elizabethan theatre, open all year to the elements, is one of the leading tourist sights of London and a cultural institution. This month offers Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet (www.shakespeares-globe.org).

Also in London, the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park is presenting A Midsummer Night's Dream (with Russ Abbot as Bottom), Henry IV Part I, and the musicals Camelot and The Wind In The Willows this month (www.openairtheatre.org).

The Minack Theatre at Porthcurno, near Land's End in Cornwall, has the most dramatic stage in the country: a clifftop above the Atlantic. Their season runs to 17 September with Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer's Night's Dream, Jane Eyre, Beauty and the Beast, as well as Mozart's The Magic Flute, and a rare Gilbert and Sullivan musical, Utopia Limited (www.minack.com).

Oxford colleges provide beautiful settings for performances. August has two productions, Love's Labours Lost and Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac by the Oxford Shakespeare Company in Wadham College Gardens and the Oxford University Dramatic Society is performing Julius Caesar in the President's Garden in Magdalen College. Creation Theatre stages Romeo and Juliet in Headington Hill Park. For details of Oxford theatre see www.dailyinformation.co.uk.

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