Stay at Kilworth House Luxury Hotel and enjoy the open air theatre.
Kilworth House in Leicestershire has all the attributes of a luxury English Hotel, beautiful rooms, attentive service and fantastic food. As an extra, it has a genuine open air theatre in its vast grounds, and regularly hosts amazing productions throughout the Summer.
Between Wednesday the 2nd of July and Sunday the 4th of July, the multi award winning musical, ‘Guys and Dolls’, will be shown at this superb setting. Listen out for unforgettable songs, such as, ‘Luck Be A Lady’ and ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat’.
The Enduring Tradition of Theatre in the Open Air
The rudiments of modern day theatre began in the open air, in the form of tribal rituals, rites of harvest, marriage, war, and gods, performed under an open sky. Thousands of years later, the tradition of performing in the open air continues worldwide.
Open-air theatre was part of the performance culture of Ancient Greece, which included festivals and rituals, as well as music, poetry, athletics, politics, and law. The Greeks invented theatre architecture, constructing large, open-air buildings called a theatron, or “seeing place,” upon the slopes of existing hills.
Central to the Ancient Greek theatre was the orchestra, or “dancing place,” a circular or rectangular area where rites were staged. Theatres also featured a raised acting area, called the proskenion, precursor to the modern proscenium stage. Behind the proskenion was a skene, or “tent,” a rectangular building that served both as a backdrop for the performance and as backstage area for actors. Some of these ancient theatres could seat as many as 15,000 spectators.
As Christianity spread during the Middle Ages, “pageant wagons” travelled throughout Europe, performing scenes from the Bible. The Elizabethans are credited with returning theatre to a permanent physical setting during the mid-1500s, constructing structures of wood framing, with wattle and daub walling, and roofed with thatch. These theatres consisted of covered galleries surrounding an open-air courtyard, with a raised stage at one end. Most of the audience stood in the courtyard.
Built in 1599, the Globe Theatre is the most famous of these early establishments. The original theatre was destroyed by fire in 1613. A second Globe Theatre was constructed on the same site shortly thereafter, but closed in 1642. Due in large part to the efforts of film director Sam Wanamaker, a modern reconstruction of the Globe, situated near the original site, opened in 1997, and continues to thrive to this day.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, founded in 1932 by Sydney Carrol and Robert Atkins, is the oldest permanent open-air theatre in Britain. Located in on the inner-circle of Regent’s Park in Queen Mary’s Gardens, it boasts an annual sixteen-week summer season – as well as one of the longest bars of any theatre.
The Kilworth House Theatre, the first privately-owned theatre to be built within the grounds of a resort hotel, is located in the Leicestershire hills, situated in a scenic wooded glade close to a lake. This open-air playhouse features cushioned seating in tiered rows, with a sail-like canopy providing protection against inclement weather. Dominic Cavendish of The Daily Telegraph called the Kilworth House Theatre “perhaps the best-kept secret in British theatre.”
The success of modern open-air theatres ensures that this ancient tradition will continue into the future, granting theatre-goers a theatrical experience that has been appreciated and enjoyed for millennia.