Outdoor theatres have existed for many years. The original Globe Theatre in Shoreditch in London was open roofed and the cast would brave the elements in order to complete their performances. It is of course more attractive to watch plays in open air theatres when the temperatures are warm and there is no chance of rain, but there are many productions that are organized in areas where these ideal conditions are not guaranteed.
The Globe theatre has been completely rebuilt and is one of the most popular theatres in the capital. The project of the building has aimed to create the most original and authentic building it possibly could. That included a thatched roof that does not completely cover the stage. The audience and the cast are likely to get wet if it’s raining but the shape of the building means that it blocks driving rain from entering the inside of the building. Across the River Thames is one of the largest open-air theatres in London, located in Regents Park. It can seat up to 1200 people and has the longest bar in the UK. It runs the entire length under the auditorium and there are some other covered areas available. These act as stores for costume and make-up, as well as providing a changing area for the cast.
In fact there are many venues around the UK that host outdoor productions in the summer months. They tend to be small scale in terms of audience sizes as a result of little permanent seating. However, there are many places in other parts of Europe that are capable of seating huge numbers of people who have come to view outdoor performances of theatre and opera.
The Teatro Dell Opera Di Roma, located in the Italian capital, can hold up to 20,000 spectators. It was home to the Roman baths, but since 1937 open air operas have been staged and the popularity of these events has increased every year. The two month summer season sees the venue regularly sold out as a variety of operas are performed. The Arena di Verona is a Roman Amphitheatre that was built in the 1st century. At one time it, could hold up to 30,000 spectators, but now the capacity is 15,000. The huge opera performances are sold out in the summer season that stretches from June to September.
One of Italy’s most popular summer festivals is the Puccini Festival which celebrates the life and times of the Italian composer and is held in Torre del Lago. The open air theatre has seating for 3200 people and each summer the festival runs four performances which attracts around 45,000 spectators in area close to the composer’s birth place.
One of the oldest outdoor theatres is located in Athens in Greece and is called the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Built in 161 AD, the area holds up to 5000 spectators and each year is sold out for Athens festival which runs annually.
One of the most remote theatres is found on the south-west extreme of the United Kingdom. The Minack Theatre is located just 4 miles from Land’s End the furthest tip of Cornwall. The theatre is situated on a granite outcrop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean,
Every year this small arena attracts over 100,000 paying visitors. It is visited by touring companies of theatre groups, with the scenery adding to the atmosphere of the productions. The threat of the potential wild weather that can occur in this part of the country has had no impact on the popularity of the theatre.