Days OutEvents

An Open Air Summer

Have the umbrella and picnic basket on standby as this summer it’s all about the great outdoors. Whether it’s theatre, music or a film screening, we’re refusing to head inside when we could be experiencing all of the aforementioned al fresco. Yes, insideKENT is having a Kentish open air summer and you’re invited!


The Luna Cinema, various Kent locations


Watch a host of classic films under the stars this summer as The Luna Cinema tours our home county between 17th May – 22nd September, setting up shop in a number of beautiful Kent locations.

The country’s leading producer of open air cinema, Luna presents a glorious 2013 Summer season of popular titles from Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany’s to The Blues Brothers, Dirty Dancing, Top Gun and Raiders of the Lost Ark. In addition to such classics, Luna will also play host to more recent box office hits such as The Life of Pi, Les Misérables and Sherlock Holmes.

In true Luna fashion, the screenings will follow one simple formula: a classic film on a big screen in a beautiful or prestigious setting, with 2013 set to be the most incredible yet. This year the Historic Dockyard at Chatham, St Augustine’s Abbey, Leeds Castle, Rochester Castle and Bexley’s Hall Place and Gardens are to name but a few of the spectacular Kent locations involved.

In addition, there are over 60 screenings taking place in amazing locations around London, Sussex, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire and Dorset.


Open Air Classical Concert, Leeds Castle


For those of you who have been to the Open Air Classical Concert in the past, it needs no introduction. For those who haven’t, let us assure you, it is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular summer events in the Kent calendar and once again, the magnificent Leeds Castle will be playing host.

Bring a picnic and a crowd and sit back and enjoy an afternoon and evening of the most rousing classical music, brought to you by some of the finest classical musicians in the world. Yes, this open air concert on Saturday 13th July will play host to a number of special guests including the fantastic John Rigby and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Toe-tap to the songs of The Patriot Girls, and last but by no means least, The Military Wives Choir – back by huge demand for a second year – will entertain and inspire while you sip on your PIMM’S.

In addition to this diverse orchestral programme and other classical favourites, there will be iconic World War II aircraft displays, field guns and the magnificent and highly anticipated fireworks finale.


Open Air Theatre: Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Leeds Castle

London-based theatre company, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, revive the traditions of Elizabethan theatre on 25-27th July, performing with an all-male cast for Shakespeare’s As You Like It in the grounds of the beautiful Leeds Castle. Enjoy a picnic and unwind as you’re treated to an evening of outdoor theatre and entertainment.


Summer Festival: The Festival Theatre, Hever Castle


An open air summer is by no means a new occurrence at Hever Castle; for the acclaimed Festival Theatre within the grounds have been putting on shows for over 30 years. However formerly known as the Lakeside Theatre, it is only since its reinvention and move onto Two Sisters Lawn in 2009 that it has become a lot more diverse.

An investment in new facilities, combined with new staging and location has allowed the theatre to offer a programme with something to suit most tastes. There is still a season of plays but also a horde of other events including folk, opera, jazz, classical and popular music; children’s shows; cinema; and comedy.

The Summer Festival now runs from May through to September. Audience members are allowed access to the award-winning rose garden and pre-theatre suppers; family feasts and cream teas are offered by the recently refurbished Guthrie pavilion; or alternatively you can choose from an array of picturesque lakeside locations at which to enjoy your own picnic.

Thankfully, the majority of theatre seats are also now covered, minimising the chance for the changeable British summer weather to spoil your evening. “Our audience can trust the theatre to provide a night of great entertainment whatever the weather,” says festival director Anna Skinner. And it seems the public are well aware, as tickets for Joking Apart by Hever’s favourite playwright, Alan Ayckbourn, have been in high demand, along with those for Swingin’ at The Cotton Club with the Jiving Lindy Hoppers, which returns in August after rave reviews to its first visit two years ago.

Babe the Sheep-Pig, The Wind in the Willows, The Rat Pack, Steeleye Span, Josh Widdicombe and Seann Walsh are to name but a few of the shows appearing this summer. This is already in addition to a four-night film festival and well-established programme.


Sunday Summer Jazz at The Festival Theatre, Hever Castle

The Sunday Summer Jazz evenings represent everything that is good about The Festival Theatre at Hever Castle: ambient setting, superb music and good company – and this year is no different.

On Saturday 18th August, the theatre will be celebrating the most successful trumpet player this side of the Atlantic: the late Kenny Ball. Many will recall his landmark recordings of the 1960s such as Midnight in Moscow that catapulted him to worldwide fame and earned him the reputation and following that survives to this day. A donation from all tickets sold will be made to Jazz Services, a charitable support organisation for jazz music.

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