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The Roman craze taking Glos by storm

An amphitheatre in the middle of the Cotswolds? Yep, you heard us right. Perfect for a region that rocks Roman heritage deep in its DNA, this modern day alfresco auditorium in Gloucestershire is a fabulous place to catch some theatre, comedy or live music. What's on? Let us whisk you off.

Going to the theatre has gone retro – 2000 years retro infact. A spectacular green amphitheatre has been carved from the Cotswold Hills and it’s bringing some amazing entertainment to the county this summer. Want to see what’s on at this incredible theatre under the stars? Let us whisk you off.

Want to know more? Read on.

What exactly is The Amphitheatre at Berrybank?

Carved from the landscape, The Amphitheatre is a 500-seater venue located in Oddington, between Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Norton. Five grassed tiers hug a central ‘stage’ which overlooks the stunning Evenlode Valley. They are deep enough for you to stretch out your legs, just bring your own blanket, camping chairs or deckchairs. It’s so realistic you won’t believe it hasn’t been here for centuries.

When is it open?

This spectacular summer of music, theatre and comedy is on until 04 September.

Hit me with the set list

Launched (appropriately) with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s touring production of Julius Caesar, there’s so much great stuff to see this summer.

There is more Shakespeare to come with The HandleBards’ hilarious, bicycle-powered (yes, really) production of Twelfth Night, a glorious Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest, an intensive Drama performance project for children (3-13 July).

Come and hear leading comedians, including Marcus Brigstocke, Arthur Smith, Jo Caulfield, Hal Cruttenden, Jen Brister, Rob Deering, Stephen Grant, and Shaparak Khorsandi at including the first ever Cotswold Comedy Festival (14-16 July).

There is even a special comedy event for children, with Marcel Lucont’s mischievous game show for all the family: Les Enfants Terribles – A Gameshow for Awful Children. (Saturday, 16 July at 2.30pm).

Music includes world-class Opera, Broadway and West End musical hits, Jazz, Blues, community choirs, Classical Light Cotswolds with Cotswold Junior Voices – a choir made up from scratch with local schoolchildren – and on 22 July, a Words and Music event, celebrating the much-loved writing of Gloucestershire-born Laurie Lee, performed by Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones, Endeavour), Charlie Hamblett (Killing Eve), and the Orchestra of the Swan.

August brings a run of events for the whole family – a ‘gloriously silly’ slapstick version of The Importance of Being Earnest; The Wind in the Willows; Pirates of Penzance (complete with a chance to sing in the chorus); Elmer’s Walk; The Woman in White; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter Pan (with real flying!), a gentle-giant puppet show, Arbor the Tree, and on 29 August, The Real Garden Festival – an ecology-themed day of outdoor discovery and wonder, with storytelling, foraging walks, dance and music.

Outdoor cinema includes Moulin Rouge, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Paddington 2.

I’m in! What is there to eat and drink there?

There is plenty of room to spread out on each tier with a picnics without disturbing anyone’s view, but there is also locally sourced, street food (Cotswold Shawarma, anyone?) from the hot flame grill of chef, Nigel Keller-Godwin’s Instinct catering, and a fully stocked bar, headed by Cotswolds Distillery, and cocktail maestro, Oliver Morris.

Ollie is planning themed cocktails, such as a wickedly decadent, absinthe-based treat to sip with the Outdoor Cinema performance of Moulin Rouge.Bring a picnic or enjoy a delicious range of food and drink at the Pavilion. Picnic hampers are also available to pre-order from D’Ambrosi Fine Foods, in nearby Stow-on-the-Wold.

But what if it rains?

Nothing stops play here, if the downpour is very heavy most performances transfer to the adjacent Pavilion marquee – meaning the show will go on regardless!

Urm, well, sounds amazing! Who’s the brains behind The Amphitheatre?

The Amphitheatre was created by local entrepreneur Artistic Director Judy Reaves in memory of her mother, Janet Cockell, a local woman who loved teaching, theatre, and the performing arts.

Book us in

Enjoy a summer of music, theatre and comedy at The Cotswolds Amphitheatre at Berrybank Park, Main Road, Upper Oddington, GL56 0X until 4 September. For full programme details head to www.amphitheatreberrybankpark.co.uk.

PLUS ****** WIN! *******

We are giving away four tickets to see the Cotswold Comedy Festival on Sat 16 July, with food and beer!  Enter here now.

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