Cool Theatre for Hot Summer Days

June is always a favourite month of mine, possibly because  my birthday falls in June and the sun is usually shining – but sometimes it’s nice to escape the heat and relax in a theatre; and this month I’m looking at how you can combine trips to the theatre with the seaside over this Summer. After all, us Brits do like to be beside the seaside don’t we?

The most obvious starter would be Theatre On The Coast, starting at Southwold Arts Centre from July 10th to August 31st. There will be four shows to choose from so there’s bound to be something for everyone. Kicking off the season is The End of the Line (10-20th July), from East Anglian writer, actor and director Patrick Marlowe. His career includes work for the National Theatre and Eastern Angles. The story begins with two beach huts, and two very different couples about to meet for the first time. Their lives, and their precious huts, will never be the same again.

Following this, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman bring their show A Bunch of Amateurs (23rd July – 3rd Aug) to the region. Fading Hollywood action hero, Jefferson Steele touches down in the UK to take on the role of a lifetime – Shakespeare’s tragic King Lear. Only this isn’t Stratford upon Avon, but Stratford St John in the middle of Suffolk, and his co-stars are not the famous names he expected but local amateurs who are fighting to save their beloved theatre from closure.

Debbie Isitt is well-known for her hit comedy films ‘Nativity’ and ‘Confetti’, but in this 90s play, she paints a hilarious and gruesome picture of a deserted wife’s revenge on her ex-husband. When Hillary invites Keith to dinner, together with his new girlfriend Lauren, her guests are not prepared for what she will serve up as the main course! Prepare yourselves for ‘The woman who cooked her husband’ (6-17th August).

One of the great classics of the British stage returns, as Harold Brighouse’s immortal Lancashire comedy is given a sparkling fresh revival, translated from the late 1890s to 1958, in a new production first seen last year in the playwright’s 60th anniversary – don’t miss Hobson’s Choice (20-31st August) starring  John D Collins playing out the season.

Plus, for budding theatre stars of the future, you can get into Shakespeare by the Sea with Workshop for Young Theatre On The Coast (for ages 8-18) – giving two full days of magic, mystery, shipwrecks and fun at the Music Room in Aldeburgh Primary School (Weds 7th & Thurs 8th Aug, 10.30-15.30).

CBM Theatre Co return to the Spa Pavilion in Felixstowe with another blockbuster musical, as this Summer they present Thoroughly Modern Millie (25-27th July). Based on the 1967 film and the Tony Award-winning Broadway show of the same name, audiences are transported to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City, when “moderns”, including a flapper named Millie Dillmount, were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce, and rewriting the rules of love, and in Millie’s case in search of a new life for herself. Expect an evening of madcap musical merriment!

This season is also great for variety shows – it’s long been an English Seaside tradition, and it continues to be popular for families of all ages. It’s often a great introduction into theatre for youngsters too.  You can expect singing, dancing, comedy and a talented troupe of entertainers. A few notable mentions go to The Summer Show at the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton (runs on selected dates in August), Gorleston Theatre’s Summer Laughter Show (every Tuesday from now through to 8th October), PAPA & Clockwork Summer Show at the Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft (20th July) and the Cromer Pier Show (2nd July-21st September).

There we have it – lots of stagey Seaside events to keep you entertained! Grab those ice creams, and enjoy the seasonal offerings…