The Lists

17 Best Summer Festivals for Theater Lovers in the World in 2022

top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2021 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more.

Outdoor theatrical performances are back on this summer 2022, and here we come. Broadway may be on track to open in the fall, and this is the best way to slake your thirst for live theater until then. Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of the 17 summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals best to plan to see as the world opens back up in 2022 for lovers of dramas, musicals, classics and more.

summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals are back on for 2022

Nothing compares to the magic of live theater. As with live music, there is something special about being in the same space as other people and watching a story unfold – no matter how hard anyone may try, a virtual substitute is simply not the same.

top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2021 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more.

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more.

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We are delighted to report that two years later, the world’s greatest summer theater festivals are finally returning to their full stature. In addition to Broadway’s unprecedented offerings this season, there are incredible performances happening around the globe from now until the end of the year. Read and enjoy

17 places around the world this summer to enjoy live Theater

1. Stratford Theater Festival

Stratford Theater Festival, April 6th – October 30th, 2022. One of the most prominent theater festivals in the world, The Stratford Theater Festival has shone its spotlight over Stratford, Ontario, Canada since 1953. Though they are best known for their Shakespeare productions, they also perform musicals, Greek theater, and contemporary works. And they are back this year, performing eleven productions, united by the theme of “New Beginnings.” This season’s Shakespeare will include Hamlet, Richard III and All’s Well That Ends Well. Also on the list?  Chicago, Molière’s The Miser, and Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. All shows run through October, so you have some time to get yourself to Canada. And don’t forget to also check out the festival’s lively lobby talks, workshops, and special concerts.   Stay at:  The Bruce

best Summer theater festivals 2022

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

2. The Shaw Festival

The Shaw Festival, April 23rd – December 23rd, 2022. This festival has made their home in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario since 1962, and they are back this year for their 60th season. They are bringing thirteen shows to wine country, as well as supplemental concerts, discussions, and interactive performances. It’s hard to say which shows we are looking forward to the most, but we are excited to see Damn Yankees, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Cyrano de Bergerac among the offerings. Stay at: Prince of Wales

best Summer theater festivals 2022

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

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3. Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare & Company, May 6th – October 30th, 2022. Not to be confused with the beloved bookstore, Shakespeare & Company has thrived in the heart of Berkshires since 1978. Their shows often garner international attention, and we can’t wait to absorb everything they’ve created for us this season. Some highlights include Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure; a reimagining of The Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare; and Mark O’Rowe’s The Approach. Stay at: Blantyre

best Summer theater festivals 2022

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

4. Singapore International Festival of the Arts

Singapore International Festival of the Arts, May 20th  – June 5th, 2022. First hosted in 1977, the annual arts festival showcases a massive selection of theater, dance, music, and visual arts. This year’s festival is the first in a three-year arc, all united under the guiding principal: “The Anatomy of Performance.” The 2022, 2023 and 2024 festivals will be interrogating the boundaries of what “performance” can encompass in a space that is international, and that includes both virtual and in-person events. In this first leg of that journey, the festival will take a close look at rituals. Among the many performances this summer are Bangsawan Gemala Malam, a remake of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Teater Ekamatra; and Project Salome, an evocation of the Oscar Wilde character from Ong Keng Sen. Stay at: Raffles Singapore

live theater this summer 2022

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

5. Festival TransAmériques

Festival TransAmériques. Montreal, Canada, May 25th – June 9th, 2022. Founded in 1985, FTA is both a theater and dance festival dedicated to contemporary works. This year’s festival will include 23 shows, presented in venues and public spaces across the city. The full program is available online, and includes nine theater performances. Among them, The History of Korean Western Theater by Jaha Koo; M’Appelle Mohamed Ali by Dieudonné Niangouna; and Laboratoire poison by Adeline Rosenstein. Stay at: Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth.

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

6. Spoleto

Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, South Carolina, May 27th – June 12th, 2022. One of the largest performing arts festivals in the United States, Spoleto was originally founded in 1977.  Composer Gian Carlo Menotti launched it as a counterpart to the Italian arts festival of the same name. It features dance, opera, musical theater, jazz, visual art, and more. Included in the tremendous program are three theater performances: The Approach by Mark O’Rowe; Until the Flood by Dael Orlandersmith; and an evening with Storm Large. Stay at: Wentworth Mansion or Belmond Charleston Place. 

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

7. International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama

International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama, June TBD – July TBD, 2022. The Cyprus festival is a revelation. Theater companies travel from all over the world to perform ancient Greek dramas in their native languages. There is nothing in the world like it, and we are so excited to see the festival return for its 25th year. More information to come in the next few weeks. Stay at: Amavi Hotel

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

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8. American Players Theater

American Players Theater, June 11th – November 20th, 2022. This theater played their first show in Spring Green, Wisconsin in 1980, and they have been wowing audiences ever since.  This year they have nine shows scheduled: The Rivals; The River Bride; Sense and Sensibility; The Brothers Size; Hamlet (which will also be available virtually); A Raisin in the Sun; The Moors; Love’s Labour’s Lost; and Stones in his Pockets. With several plays running concurrently, as well as tours, play talks, Sunday salons, and more, you know there will be plenty to keep you entertained all season long.  Stay at: Mineral Point Hotel

live theater this summer 2022

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

 

9. The Muny

The Muny, June 13th  – August 18th, 2022. The St. Louis theater is famous for their summer musicals, and they are back for their 104th season. Prepare yourself for seven crowd favorites, which the company are calling “the fulfillment of 2020 promises”: Chicago, Camelot, Mary Poppins, Sweeney Todd, Legally Blonde, The Color Purple, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The program should be fun for the whole family.  Stay at: Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

10. Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park, June 17th – July 17th, 2022 and August 10th – September 11th, 2022.. Every summer, sleepy New Yorkers trundle to Central Park’s Delacorte Theater in the wee hours of the morning, and line up on the grass to receive their free tickets for Shakespeare in the Park. This year, the tradition continues with two new productions from The Public Theater: Richard III (directed by Robert O’Hara, and starring Danai Gurrira as Richard III), and a musical rendition of As You Like It (adapted by Shaina Taub and directed by Laurie Woolery). We can’t wait. Stay at: 1 Hotel Central Park

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

11. Bard Summerscape

Bard Summerscape, June 23 – August 14, 2022.  Held every summer at Bard College, about 90 miles north of New York City, Bard SummerScape features eight weeks of world-class opera, theater, and dance. This year, Ashley Tata directs a brilliant new production of Molière’s Dom Juan. Stay at: The Ritz Carlton Westchester.

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

12. Chester Theatre Company

Chester Theatre Company, June 23rd – August 21st, 2022. Snuggled between the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley, you’ll find the Chester Theatre Company.  With a reputation for some of the summer’s most exciting new work, Chester Theatre Company is a reliable source for summer theater. This year, they’ll present four shows in succession: Daniel Elihu Kramer’s Pride@Prejudice; Anna Ouyang Moench’s Birds of North America; Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over; and a world premiere, Darcy Parker Bruce’s To The Moon and Back. You may recognize Pass Over – it was the first show to reopen on Broadway after the pandemic shutdown; we’re excited to have another chance to watch. Stay at: Blantyre or Wheatleigh

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

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13. Dorset Theater Festival

Dorset Theater Festival, June 23rd – September 3rd, 2022. Just north of the Berkshires, Vermont’s Dorset Theater Festival is a known destination for both actors and playwrights. They frequently debut premiere works from well-known writers, and they should always be on your summer theater radar. This season will include three shows, including two world premieres: Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark, Heidi Armbruster’s Scarecrow, and Ronán Noone’s Thirst, directed by Theresa Rebeck. And for those staying home this summer, check out the Festival’s StageFree Audio Plays. Stay at: The Dorset Inn

The best summer theater, Shakespeare and performing arts festivals 2021

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

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14. Festival Grec

Festival Grec, June 29th – July 27th, 2022. This Barcelona festival is a destination for dance, music, film, circus, and theater performances. We’ve already heard a lot about this year’s Immersive Next to Normal, which takes the Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’ Broadway hit and reinvents it with its original star, Alice Ripley, in a new, immersive format. There will also be a tribute to Sondheim, and many other exciting productions. Stay at: El Palace Barcelona

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

15. Festival D’avignon

Festival D’avignon, Avignon, France, July 7th  – July 26th, 2022One of the most prominent arts festivals in the world, the Avignon Festival was founded in 1947 by French actor Jean Vilar. In addition to theater, attendees can enjoy dance, storytelling, readings, music, visual art, and readings. This year’s theater productions include Iphigenia by Tiago Rodrigues, Jogging by Hanane Hajj Ali, and The Seventh Day by Yu Hua and Meng Jinghui. There will also be multiple renditions of Shakespeare, and many performances for a young audience. Stay at:  The Hotel Crillon le Brave or Hotel La Mirande. 

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

16. Williamstown Theatre Festival

Williamstown Theatre Festival, July 13th – August 14th, 2022. Ever since 1955, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has been Broadway’s home away from home – the place to go each summer to see the world’s best actors, writers, and directors doing some of their finest work. Yet more proof that the Berkshires are the place to be for summer theater, as the festival returns with three shows: Frank Loesser’s (Guys and Dolls) Most Happy in Concert, directed by Daniel Fish (Oklahoma!); Anna Ouyang Moench’s Man of God, directed by Maggie Burrows; and Harrison David Rivers’ We Are Continuous, directed by Tyler Thomas. Stay at: Rose and Goat Retreat

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

17. Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 5th  – August 29th, 2022. It is the world’s largest performing arts festival, with thousands of performances hitting its stages every summer. Because of its gargantuan scale, it has something for everyone, and is perhaps the greatest destination for theater lovers. And since this is the festival’s 75th season, we are expecting an extra-special August. For the full list of comedies, dramas, spoken word, dance, cabaret, musicals, and children’s performances, look through the detailed schedule on the Festival’s website.  Stay at: The Witchery by the Castle

Top summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals in 2022 best for vacation, including dramas, musicals and more

17 places around the world this summer to enjoy live Theater

That’s our take on the 12 summer theater, performing arts and Shakespeare festivals best to plan to see as the world opens back up in 2021 for lovers of dramas, musicals, classics and more. What’s at the top of your list, dear reader?

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.

 

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