9 Live Shows to See in BC’s Natural Settings This Summer

We’ve rounded up nine alfresco shows you need to check out.

When the warm weather finally arrives in British Columbia each summer, theatre companies and dance troupes across the province take the opportunity to put on performances against some of Mother Nature’s finest backdrops. We’ve rounded up nine alfresco shows you need to check out.

All Over the Map (Vancouver)

Youngsters, oldsters, and all ages in between are welcome at All Over the Map, a series of free dance and music performances on Granville Island. V’ni Dansi, Eva Cho, Palak Dhiman, and Afrobeats Van take to the stage on July 21, then on August 11, Rina&Simziez, Amulya Keshoju, Roots Peruvian Folk Dance, and Mozaico Flamenco perform. The toe-tapping entertainment happens in the Picnic Pavilion.


Latin Night (Kelowna)

Live music, salsa dancing, and salsa lessons are on the schedule for Latin Night, July 5 at The Vibrant Vine Winery. The Kelowna Salsa Bachata Kizomba Society dancers show off their best dance moves on the main lawn while Major Mambo performs hits from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Mexico. Lace up your dancing shoes and join in the fresh-air fun.


Bard on the Beach (Vancouver)

a man in suite and a woman in a fuschia dress seated on the floor with a movie recorder behind them
Nadeem Umar Phillip Khitab as Hamlet and Kate Besworth as Ophelia, in Hamlet at Bard on the Beach. Photo by Tim Matheson.

Vancouver’s favourite shoreside Shakespeare festival, Bard on the Beach takes place in a tent in Vanier Park that’s open on one side, to let in fresh air—and spectacular ocean views. On the mainstage from June 11 to September 21, a music-heavy, laughter-filled Twelfth Night alternates with a high-energy Hamlet that has a modern sensibility and a heightened sense of realism. On the second stage from July 2 to September 21, a slapstick version of The Comedy of Errors plays in repertory with a Footloose-inspired Measure for Measure. Special events throughout this 35th season include fireworks nights, Pride activities, Shakespeare talks, post-show discussions, and two matinees for families with pint-sized theatre aficionados.


Cowichan Valley Shakespeare Festival (Duncan)

Picturesque pastures and orchards form the backdrop for the madcap romp The Two Gentlemen of Verona and a 1960s-themed version of Love’s Labour’s Lost—complete with live music and groovy period costumes—at the 13th season of the Cowichan Valley Shakespeare Festival. From August 7 to 18, the Shawnigan Players present these two energetic plays on alternating nights at Gem o’ the Isle Farm.


Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival (Victoria)

a group of elderly people all seated on their chairs watching a medevial performance performed by three people in a natural setting with lots of greenery
Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Lara Eichhorn.

Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair and settle in for a music-filled Much Ado About Nothing at Craigdarroch Castle (June 27 to July 6) or Lampson School Field (July 8 to 20). Set in the 1920s, this production of Shakespeare’s classic comedy sizzles with witty repartee and romantic tension. The Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival has been staging selections from the Bard’s canon since 1991.


Shakespeare Kelowna Theatre Society (Kelowna)

Raise a glass to Much Ado About Nothing, which brings a touch of romance to Spearhead Winery from July 17 to 27. Two romantic duos exchange banter and barbs in this lively comedy. For a quarter of a century, the Shakespeare Kelowna Theatre Society has been presenting accessible interpretations of the Bard’s works.


Caravan Farm Theatre (Armstrong)

a southern woman playing the violin, a southern man playing the ukulele and a man playing the accordion in the middle of huge crowd seated around them in layered seats, outdoors in a natural greenery area
Caravan Farm Theatre.

Set in the Okanagan of the 1800s, The Bear and The Proposal, An Okanagan Wedding Party employs site-specific staging and a Bridgerton-esque pop score to tell a story about Indigenous and settler characters. This saucy take on Anton Chekhov’s plays runs from July 9 to August 4 at Caravan Farm Theatre.


Bard in the Valley (Langley)

Bring your comfiest camping chair to Township 7 Winery (July 4 to 14) or Douglas Park (July 18 to 28) and prepare to be enchanted by one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” The Winter’s Tale, at Bard in the Valley. The story is structured like a one-act tragedy followed by a one-act comedy, and the play also includes the Bard’s most memorable stage direction: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”


Theatre Under the Stars (Vancouver)

4 young students in gothic & dramatic theatre wears and 4 other young students in uniforms, one holding drumsticks, two holding guitars and one holding notepad
Theatre Under the Stars. Photo by Emily Cooper.

From July 5 to August 24, Cats and School of Rock run on alternating nights in Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl. Cats features fan-favourite songs such as “Memory,” “Mr. Mistoffelees,” and “Macavity: The Mystery Cat,” based on poems by T.S. Eliot, while the feel-good School of Rock is based on the popular 2003 film about a wannabe rock star who poses as a private-school music teacher. Both of these Andrew Lloyd Webber shows were hits on Broadway and in London’s West End. Theatre Under the Stars has been bringing live musical theatre to the city’s most majestic park since 1940, and the show always goes on, even in the infamous Vancouver rain. Overhead floatplanes, flocks of geese, and fireworks displays don’t faze the actors—though performances do start one hour early on Celebration of Light fireworks nights (July 20, 24, 27).