2016 Outdoor Summer Theatre at Hartland Abbey

2016 Hartland Abbey Outdoor Theatre programme - from Shakespear to David Walliams, something for everyone!Set against the backdrop of this wonderful historic house, so deeply steeped in the history of North Devon, the 2016 productions promis

2016 Hartland Abbey Outdoor Theatre programme - from Shakespear to David Walliams, something for everyone!Set against the backdrop of this wonderful historic house, so deeply steeped in the history of North Devon, the 2016 productions promise to keep theatregoers of all ages and tastes well rewarded with some fantastic productions from different travelling theatre companies.

It is a perfect reason to get together with family and friends, bring rugs or picnic chairs and enjoy a night under the stars! Many people make a longer day out visiting the fascinating house with its beautiful gardens and a leisurely lunch or tea in the Old Kitchens Tea Rooms before the performance begins. There’s a bar and Mr Crackling’s delicious barbecue at every performance, or bring your own picnic..


Tues 26th July 5pm DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD by Roald Dahl, performed by Illyria

In their 25th anniversary year Illyria have secured the rights to perform their 5th Roald Dahl title. Danny and his devoted father live in a caravan and operate the petrol station and garage. When Danny turns nine he is devastated to find out about his father’s secret passion for pheasant poaching in the estate of the nasty, greedy Victor Hazell, the local wealthy landowner. One night, Danny awakes to find his father has not returned from a night of poaching. Illyria promises a magnificent, funny and heart-warming story perfectly suited to the open-air. (plus 3.45 – 4.30pm – Drama Workshop for 5-11 year olds – £3)

Thurs 28th July 2-4.30pm FAMILY ARTS AFTERNOON with The Plough Artists. ( Drama, kite making, willow weaving, story-telling, character treasure hunt, wacky races and more…) £2.50 per person

Thurs 28th July 5pm GULLIVERS TRAVELS by Jonathan Swift performed by The Pantaloons

Join Lemuel Gulliver on a fantastical and hilarious voyage into the unknown… Meet the tiny people of Lilliput and the giants of Brobdingnag; visit the floating island of Laputa and a country peopled (or horsed?) entirely by talking horses… A brand-new, adventurous and delightfully innovative adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s classic satirical story loved by adults and children alike. Just please don’t step on any Lilliputians in the rush to get tickets.


Tues 9th August 7pm HAMLET by William Shakespeare performed by The Festival Players

In celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, The Festival Players Theatre Company is proud to present the Bard’s most famous play, Hamlet. Presented in full costume, an all-male company will bring you the excitement of this great thriller; intrigue, ghostly visitations, passion, a play-within-a play, a gripping duel, and humour, in a crystal-clear and fast-paced two hour production.

Wed 17th August 5pm RATBURGER by David Walliams performed by Heartbreak Productions

Following on from the successful 2015 adaptation of Mr Stink, (which David Walliams described as “Magnificent!”), Heartbreak Productions returns with the theatrical premiere of “Ratburger”, adapted for the open air.

Poor Zoe; her hamster has died and her lazy stepmother, Sheila, doesn’t care. In fact, she is so lazy that she wants Zoe to pick her nose for her — ewwww. Voted the top children’s book of the year in 2012, David Walliams’ “Ratburger” encourages us to support Zoe as she battles through a life littered with perils, pitfalls, and grizzly individuals.

Come and join the Grand Opening Party of “Armitage’s Ices”, the ice cream parlour set up by Zoe and her Dad and follow 12 year old Zoe’s journey as she takes on the revolting characters that have proved to be one of the hallmarks of David Walliams’ appeal. Our heroine has a profound love of animals and a dream of travelling the world that keep her going as she copes with her disgusting neighbours, her recently unemployed dad, and the menacing Burt (of Burt’s Burgers) who is after Zoe and her pet rat!

Join Heartbreak Productions for this modern thriller that blends dark reality and irreverent comedy for today’s children. (plus 3.45 – 4.45pm – Drama Workshop for 5 – 11 years – £3)

Wed 24th August 7pm A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare performed by Illyria

Perennially popular, universally loved, the play follows four couples – three human and one fairy – whose passions are sorely tested when a troupe of amateur theatricals rehearse a play about a doomed love affair. Add in to the mix a heady brew of confusion, magic and mischief and you have the perfect comedy for a summer evening. Since the company’s first production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1992 Illyria have won no less than 4 international theatre awards and still perform the entire play, uncut, with just 5 quick-changing, fast-running actors who share all the roles between them.

Mon 29th August 5pm THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde performed by Heartbreak Productions

The perfect Bank Holiday Monday treat!

You are invited to Heartbreak’s inimitable adaptation of Wilde’s brilliant masterpiece. Set in the midst of World War II, be introduced to Algernon and his friend, ‘Ernest’, whose real name is secretly ‘John’, obviously. When John tires of life in the country looking after his teenage ward Cecily, he escapes to enjoy the high life of London under the guise of having to go and ‘talk sense’ to his brother, “Ernest”. Whilst in London, John becomes engaged to Algernon’s cousin, Gwendoline.

Algernon, whose interest has been piqued by the mention of a pretty girl, travels to John’s country estate and pretends to be his invented tearaway brother ‘Ernest’, in order to woo the young Cecily. Things go awry when the men end up together at the house and their deception is uncovered, putting all nuptial hopes in jeopardy. A hilarious series of mistaken identities ensues, when everyone learns the vital importance of being earnest.. Bring a comfy seat, a picnic and come and discover just what, exactly, is in a name.
Grounds open free to those attending performances 1 hour before start.

Bring rugs/low backed seating/picnics. Refreshments. Bar. Barbecue by Mr Crackling, Ice creams. Cream teas at 5pm shows.


TICKETS FOR ALL PRODUCTIONS Full £13, Concession £11, Supporters/Families with children under 18 years £9 each.

Please contact the Plough booking office direct on 01805 624624 or online via: www.theploughartscentre.org.uk

Check Hartland Abbey’s Facebook and Twitter feeds for up to date information and special offers.

“Plough Community Theatre created a surreal comedic air that gave a sense of a rural community in an isolated grip of madness….we became part of this insanity and had a jolly good laugh” Tony Glynn North Devon Journal (On ‘Lark Rise’ 2013).

Hartland Abbey is off the A39 between Bideford and Bude. Take B3248 through Hartland village towards Hartland Quay.

2016 Outdoor Summer Theatre at Hartland Abbey