Outdoor theatre and cinema in Essex: What’s on this summer

PUBLISHED: 17:06 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:06 09 July 2018

Audley End House (c) John Fielding, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Audley End House (c) John Fielding, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Essex Life profiles a snapshot of the finest musical and theatrical experiences to enjoy under the open skies of Essex this summer | Words: Holly Eells

11 July | The Greatest Showman

Hylands House, London Road, Writtle, Chelmsford CM2 8WQ

Inspired by the imagination of PT Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

Pack a blanket and get ready for a magical cinematic experience under the stars on the back lawn.

Admission: Prices vary

13, 14 and 15 July | Heritage Live Concert Series

Audley End House and Gardens, Saffron Walden CB11 4JF

Enjoy Audley End House & Gardens’ Heritage Live Concert Series, set in the grounds of one of England’s finest country homes. On July 13, experience Here and Now, Back to the 80s, which brings together icons of the 1980s for back to back performances of their best loved hits.

On July 14, expect girl power with a sensational triple bill of Jess Glynne, Ella Eyre and Louisa. Finally, July 15 sees Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser perform music from their latest album, Score, playing some of the most popular melodies ever written for classic and contemporary movies and television.

The duo will be joined by a very special guest for the show, winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2017, Tokio Myers, who performed at the illustrious annual Royal Variety Performance last year. The show will also end with a bang, featuring a spectacular firework finale.

Admission: Prices vary

13 July | The Moulin Rouge

Hylands House, London Road, Chelmsford CM2 8WQ

Hylands Estate welcomes back Luna Cinema and Moulin Rouge.

Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, this Oscar winning production tells the romantic and dramatic story of a young English poet/writer, who falls in love with the star of the Moulin Rouge.

Admission: £7.50 to £27.50

15 July | The Tempest

Stanley Hall, Pebmarsh, Halstead CO9 2LY

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in their 14th successful year at Stanley Hall, present Shakespeare’s spellbinding masterpiece The Tempest. Be sure to catch The Lord Chamberlain’s Men perform Shakespeare as it would have been: all male, in the open and in full Elizabethan costume with traditional music and dance.

Set in the beautiful moated Elizabethan manor house, surrounded by open parklands and woods, Stanley Hall is the perfect setting for an open-air event.

Admission: £10 to £40

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20 and 21 July | Midsummer Weekend

Creeksea Place Farm, Ferry Road, Burnham on Crouch CM0 8PJ

Join Creeksea Place Farm for two beautiful evenings of delicious local food and talented musicians. Set on a picturesque farm in the countryside with views of the river, expect a brilliant line up of fantastic singers and bands, local food vendors, bouncy castles, a real ale tent and a cocktail bar.

With an option to stay over, Creeksea Place Barns provides luxury holiday accommodation in a beautifully converted Essex barn.

Admission: Prices vary

29 July | The Importance of Being Earnest

Hedingham Castle, Castle Hedingham, Halstead CO9 3DJ

Everybody loves Ernest. In fact, Cecily and Gwendolen are both engaged to Ernest. The only trouble is, Ernest doesn’t exist. Or does he…?

This energetic and musical production from the critically-acclaimed Pantaloons infuses Oscar Wilde’s witty words with snappy new songs and frantically funny physical theatre to give this perennially popular play a hilarious, contemporary twist!

Admission: Prices vary

1 August | Sense and Sensibility

Audley End House and Gardens, Saffron Walden CB11 4JF

Join Chapterhouse Theatre Company this summer at Audley End as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood make their first forays into the exciting world of Regency society.

Adapted by award-winning writer Laura Turner, this exquisite and lively tale follows the sisters as they fall in love, make mistakes and experience heartbreak for the first time in their quest to find a balance between sense and sensibility.

Admission: Adult £16 and children £10

8 August | Treasure Island

Hedingham Castle, Castle Hedingham, Halstead CO9 3DJ

When Jim Hawkins discovers a treasure map among the possessions of the late Captain Billy Bones, it hurtles him into a cat and mouse game with dangerous pirates.

Admission: Prices vary, but book online for 10% discount

17 August | Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Audley End House and Gardens, Saffron Walden CB11 4JF

Take a trip down the rabbit hole with Chapterhouse Theatre Company this summer as they present the classic tale of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Presented in beautiful Victorian costume and alive with song, dance and original music, this is a production to delight the entire family this summer season.

Admission: Adults: £16, concessions £10, children (five to 15) £10 and family £44

29 August | A Midsummer Nights Dream

Layer Marney Tower, Layer Marney CO5 9US

A play by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company, let yourself be whisked away on a thrilling journey to the most magical of forests and meet star-crossed lovers, playful fairies and hilarious travelling players.

Bring your own rugs to enjoy this beautiful production at its finest. There will be an indoor alternative available if it rains.

Admission: Adults £16 and children £10

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