Outdoor Theater and Plays in Sonoma County

Transcendence Theatre

All’s the world’s a stage — especially when Sonoma County theater groups perform outside, surrounded by the Sonoma Wine Country’s natural beauty. Whether it’s Broadway show tunes or Shakespeare’s immortal words, there’s something magical about performers creating a dramatic or comedic spell in the great outdoors.

Venues vary — you might spread a blanket on the grass, set up lawn chairs, or sit in rows of folding chairs. It all depends on the show you choose. Here’s a quick round-up of theater companies performing in outdoor venues in Sonoma County.

Transcendence Theatre Company

Transcendence Theatre Company on stage performing Fosse style.
Transcendence Theatre Company. Photo by Rebecca Call.

Broadway Under the Stars

Selected dates, June 4 to Sept. 19, 2021
Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen
The stone winery ruins at this state historic park come alive with energizing, inspiring, and clever tunes as the award-winning Transcendence Theatre Company presents Broadway Under the Stars. The 2021 season marks the Company’s 10th anniversary of presenting musical theatre to the Bay Area and beyond. The new season will have much to celebrate including heroes in our communities, ten inspiring years of Broadway Under The Stars, and the return of live theatre at Jack London State Historic Park.

Pre-show picnicking with musical entertainment starts at 5 p.m. in the park’s sprawling vineyard and meadow. Bring your own picnics or purchase delicious goodies from local gourmet food trucks and vendors that will be at the venue for each performance, along with  fine wine representing several Sonoma County wineries. Performances inside the ruins start at 7:30 p.m. (seating is on folding chairs, with cushions for VIP and premium seats).

Sonoma Shakespeare, Avalon Players

A historic stone building
Buena Vista Winery

August 4 through 8 and August 11 through 15, 2021
Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma
The courtyard fountain at Buena Vista, California’s first commercial winery, provides the perfect setting for a typically lively rendition of one of the Bard’s works, as presented by artistic director Kate Kennedy. Enjoy the performance in patio table seating around the courtyard fountain. Seating starts at 6 p.m., with performances at 7 p.m.

Petaluma Shakespeare Company

People sit in lawn chairs watching the performance
Petaluma Shakespeare Company

2021 Season TBD
Foundry Wharf Green
Bring a blanket and a lawn chair to enjoy Shakespeare under the open skies of Petaluma. Dedicated to making Shakespeare accessible to everyone regardless of age or income, the Petaluma Shakespeare Company hosts its annual free Shakespeare by the River shows outdoors at the Foundry Wharf Green. A concession stand offers a variety of refreshments at all performances.

Plan Ahead

For any evening performances outdoors, it’s a good idea to dress in warm layers, as Sonoma County temperatures can drop dramatically after the sun goes down. Be sure to check in advance whether picnics, alcoholic beverages, or lawn chairs are allowed at a specific venue.

Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.

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