Theatre en “plein air”

Feature image courtesy of, Creative Commons license.

Last week we went to the outdoor performance of a lesser-known Shakespeare play- “Pericles”.  It reminded me how wonderful both live theatre and a summer evening spent outside can be.  Combining the two is magical.  Towards the end of the performance, a lone deer bounded through the rear of the outdoor stage area (a rocky meadow).  I felt a deeper connection than I’d felt in a long time to the place where I live- to both its physical beauty and the creativity of its residents.

The event also reminded me that travellers everywhere have a chance to access the enchantment of outdoor theatre.  To illustrate, here are listings for just five of the many cities where you can still see it this July and August:

1. Bath, UK

Bath is a gem of a small city, and was once where writer Jane Austen and her family spent their winters.  How fitting, then, that this August (August 25th to be exact) there is an outdoor performance of a play based on her novel Sense and Sensibility, sponsored by the American Museum in Britain.  More detail is available here. And if Austen is not to your taste, or you simply want more,  click here for other outdoor theatre offerings in Bath.

2. London, UK

Of all the world’s cities, none has a stronger association with theatre than London (New York is a close second, mind you).  If you are visiting this summer, you still have plenty of opportunities to check out a range of outdoor theatre performances, described lovingly by another fan out outdoor theatre on the Culture Whisper website.

3. Toronto, Ontario

For Canadians living east of Winnipeg, Toronto sometimes gets a bad rap, as the economic heartland which is often oblivious to the rest of the country.  Still, Toronto is an exciting and livable place to spend time in and has a lot to offer.  Live outdoor theatre is one of its many assets, and there are several venues and genres to choose from.  Here is  more information on what you might be able to see.

4. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a popular summer destination, and gets even better when you add live theatre to the mix.  If Boston figures in your holiday plans this summer, why not see Shakespeare on the Commons while you are there?  Details are available here.

5. Rome, Italy

You might be surprised to learn that you can also enjoy high quality outdoor entertainment here.  This includes spectacular live opera outdoors, from June through September at the outdoor theatre at Terme di Caracalla.  And, it’s cheating a bit, but the city has many outdoor cinema events that appeal to travellers and locals alike, described here. 

Watching outdoor theatre and participating in outdoor entertainment events is a great way to get out of the tourist rut, and to rub shoulders with locals.  Why not make a point of taking in an outdoor play, either on your travels or at home?


LA LA Land – visiting its neighbourhoods

I just got back a week ago from a short, spur of the moment trip to Los Angeles (LA).  Poor LA can sometimes get a bad rap, especially from city planners (my profession) who complain about the excessive highways and regional sprawl.  But it’s really growing on me.   In fact, it’s on the cusp of blossoming into another, more interesting phase in its existence.   This is my fourth time in Los Angeles, now.  I find that the key to enjoying LA, and to connecting with real people who live there, is to stay in a residential neighbourhood (and yes, this typically means relying on a service like AirBnB). It can also involve my favourite hobby of riding a light rail/ subway line and getting off at different stops to explore on foot.  While In LA this time, I stayed in Silver Lake, and spent some time cruising the Gold Line.  A friend also introduced me to a well-kept secret, the  Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some photos.


Silver Lake neighbourhood, Los Angeles Author photo, March 2017.


Silver Lake- lots of dining and coffee places filled with hipsters. March 2017, Author photo.


Whimsical art in Silver Lake. Author photo, March 2017


Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. March 2017, Author photo.


Mural in Silver Lake. Author photo, March 2017.


Historic Pasadena. Author photo, March 2017


Norton Simon Museum Sculpture Garden. Pasadena, March 2017, Author photo.


Pasadena, March 2017. Author photo.


Highland Park, Los Angeles. Updated bungalows. March, 2017, Author photo


Highland Park neighbourhood , March 2017. Author photo.


Heritage industrial building in the Lincoln Heights neighbourhood. Author photo, March 2017

via Daily Prompt: Cusp