Performances in the Parks | Pittsburgh Outdoor Theatre, Musicals & Dance

Performances in the Parks | Pittsburgh Outdoor Theatre, Musicals & Dance

Get thee to great outdoor theater in Pittsburgh

Live theatre doesn't have to mean sitting inside and being quiet as the lights dim. Pack your picnic basket, bring your parking chair (lawn chair for you non-natives) and a blanket and head to the parks where live theatre from Shakespeare to improv, musicals and ballet is being performed all summer long.

Shakespeare in the Park

Started in 2005, Shakespeare in the Park's goal is to bring the Bard to Pittsburgh area parks and other public places via free performances. These vibrant, engaging performances have spanned Shakespeare's comedies, tragedies and histories and sometimes veers into Shakespeare-esque productions like the Reduced Shakespeare Company.

In 2022, they told the fairy-filled tale of mistaken identifies A Midsummer Night's Dream at Frick, Highland and Westinghouse Parks along with Schenley Plaza.

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Pittsburgh Public Theater in the Parks

Pittsburgh Public Theater heads outdoors each summer to put on fun and family friendly performances at some of the most iconic parks in and around the city. Bring your blanket and some sun screen

I took my then six-year-old to their performance of Robin Hood in 2022 as his first theatre experience, an event he's still talking about. The actors smartly kept the kids engaged throughout the show with many interactive bits to cheer the hero, boo the villains and chant, "Long live Robin Hood!"

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Penny Arcade

Taking the interactivity for kids to the next level is Penny Arcade, part of the renowned Arcade Comedy Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh. Look for outdoor free shows periodically during the summer months at the Backyard at 8th and Penn.

Before the show, those aged 4-11 are encouraged to to draw, write and help craft the stories that will be told during the 45-minute improv show. During the production, children will have more opportunities to come up on stage and get in in on the act, too. Because this is improv and based on ever-changing ideas, no two shows are alike!

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Open Air with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Originally developed during the pandemic, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Open Air series takes over the Sharpsburg Allegheny Riverfront in June for a one-of-a-kind outdoor live theatre experience.

Expect daily performances from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre along with other ballet, dance and theatre organizations plus lots of food trucks to keep you fed. Make a day or weekend of it!

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Quantum Theatre Summer Shows

The progressive artists behind Quantum Theatre push the envelope of what's possible from live theatre in everything from subject matter to the physical location of the production.

Always pushing to show the intersection of art and real life, look for their summer shows at exciting outdoor venues you might never expect for theatre. In 2023, we can't wait for Hamlet performed at Carrie Furnace National Historic Landmark (peep the photos below for a look at the last production there.) In 2022, they put on a dazzling production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at OneValley, a coworking space with its outdoor patio converted into a 360-degree stage. You have to see one of these shows to believe it!

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Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project

All the world's a stage when you can perform the Bard anywhere outdoors. The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company brings performances back outside the way they're mean to be performed, with fast-paced dialogue and lots of entertainment.

For 2023, see performances of Richard III and Hamlet at locations from the North Park Boathouse lawn to Allegheny Rivertrail Park and Hartwood Acres Mansion lawn on select dates this June and July.

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South Park Theatre Musicals

Lawn chairs and picnic baskets recommended! South Park Theatre's beautiful outdoor stage is the site for their Children's Theatre performances all summer and into fall. 

In 2023, expect musical performances about the Pied Piper and Through the Looking Glass as well as comical plays like Little Red Robin Hood, Cinderella Caterpillar and The Epic Quest of the Damsels in Distress.

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EQT Children's Theater Festival

Theater is just more fun when it's outdoors! The incredible EQT Children's Theater Festival takes over Downtown for one weekend every May, filling theatres, college campuses, local businesses and city parks and parklets with the arts.

In 2023, look for outdoor performances of Origami Tales and Sakasaka at the corner of 7th Street and Penn Ave as the fun continues with STEM activities in open air spaces and even more theatre indoors at various Cultural District locations.