When it’s beautiful summer weather, it can be tough to go indoors for anything—even good entertainment. Luckily, you don’t have to. Almost every city has its own version of Shakespeare in the Park, but you might be surprised to learn that you can also get your culture fix outside of big urban areas. In case you’re interested in checking them out, here are some of the best outdoor theatres in smaller communities across Canada.
Caravan Farm Theatre – Armstrong, British Columbia
As the company’s name implies, the theatre is a farm, and its entire 80 acres is available to be used as the stage. Depending on the production, the play may be set in a field, in the barn, in the riding ring, or any other corner of the property.
What’s on: The Tragical Comedy of Punch & Judy, by Jacob Richmond, with music by Hank Pine. There will be large-scale puppets, a live three-piece band, horse-drawn carts, and more.
Dates: July 22 to August 24
More info: www.caravanfarmtheatre.com
The Canadian Badlands Passion Play – Drumheller, Alberta
This venue is a natural bowl amphitheatre with excellent acoustics deep in Alberta’s Canadian Badlands. The dramatic setting almost makes you feel like you’ve been transported back to the Holy Land 2000 years ago.
What’s on: The annual three-hour, scripture-based production that recounts the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each year there are various tweaks made to the play so that no two productions are ever the same.
Dates: July 11 to 27
More info: www.canadianpassionplay.com
4th Line Theatre – Millbrook, Ontario
This theatre is set against the rural landscape of Winslow Farm, the family farm of Founding Artistic Director Robert Winslow.
What’s on: Doctor Barnardo’s Children and the world premiere of its sequel, Wounded Soldiers. 4th Line Theatre aims to present plays that bring local Canadian history to life.
Dates: Doctor Barnardo’s Children, July 1 to 26; Wounded Soldiers, August 5 to 30
More info: www.4thlinetheatre.on.ca
Driftwood Theatre – Across Ontario
The outdoor venue is constantly changing, as Driftwood’s “Bard’s Bus Tour” is a travelling theatre troupe that stops in 27 Ontario communities.
What’s on: To celebrate the company’s 20th year and Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary, this season’s touring production is The Tempest, as well as an a-capella concert presentation called Food of Love, which is showing as a pre-play in five select cities.
Dates: July 10 to August 17
More info: www.driftwoodtheatre.com
Théâtre de la Dame de Coeur – Upton, Quebec
A unique outdoor theatre equipped with swivelling seats so that audiences can follow the play’s action all around them. The chairs’ backrests even have heated shoulder straps for chilly nights. A 50-foot-high canopy roof also ensures the show will never be rained out.
What’s on: Performed in French, Le plieur d’avions is a visually stimulating piece that involves a combination of actors and giant puppets, as well as innovative backdrops.
Dates: June 27 to August 23
More info: www.damedecoeur.com
Two Planks and a Passion – Canning, Nova Scotia
Intimate performances are set amongst 178 acres of field and forest at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, and they are all technology and electricity free.
What’s on: The world premiere of The Miracle Man, a musical about a group of small-time con artists, and Dustbowl Joan by Fire, which tells the story of Joan of Arc as told by a company of 1930s dustbowl migrants around their encampment fire.
Dates: July 8 to August 16
More info: www.twoplanks.ca