Willow Cottage Theatre, Abridge, Essex

Willow Cottage Garden Theatre is an open-air theatre set in a wooded glade in the grounds of a 17th-century cottage at Curtis Mill Green in Essex. A natural amphitheatre was discovered in 1962 when brambles were being cleared away in the woodland outside the cottage. Pits which were formed centuries ago by the removal of marl to make bricks had long ago filled with water and become ponds where local people could fish. Over time, the ponds silted up and the water gradually drained away, leaving a perfect space for a theatre.

Every summer, a programme of events ranging from Shakespeare and Molière to modern drama, Music Hall and Jazz is presented in an environment harking back to the origins of theatre, with travelling players and musicians entertaining allcomers from the local community and from further afield. Visitors can spend a relaxing time taking in the entertainment and perhaps a picnic and some idle chatter on the grassy slopes overlooking the remarkable natural stage setting. The theatre and adjoining cottage transport the visitor back to a more idyllic era of open-air entertainment, combining unsophisticated but natural pleasures with as much intellectual food for thought as the visitor has appetite for…

Past productions

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