Brownsea Open Air Theatre
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Brownsea Open Air Theatre

Brownsea Open Air Theatre is an open-air Shakespearean theatre company based in Poole, Dorset that has performed large theatrical productions since 1964.

Romeo & Juliet 2023

Brownsea Island, owned by the National Trust, is the largest of the 5 main islands in Poole Harbour. It is famous as the location of Robert Baden-Powell's first scouting camp, and today attracts visitors for its natural beauty and wildlife including red squirrels, peacocks and sika deer.

One of the biggest theatrical projects in the south, the annual production is set on The National Trust's Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset. These beautiful surroundings make for a wonderful show, and a fantastic evening of traditional Shakespeare.

BOAT receive excellent national and regional coverage, and have been featured in The Guardian as one of the UK's Top 10 Open Air Theatre Venues, Debrett's 2009 list of the top five things to do in England and in 2019 Woman's Weekly featured BOAT as one of the Top 5 Open Air Theatres in the UK.

Over £300K raised for the National Trust

Since 1964 BOAT has involved over 1,500 volunteers, entertained 10’s of thousands of people and raised over £300,000 for the National Trust.

However, there is more to the BOAT experience than just the performance. The short ferry journey from Poole Harbour really sets up the evening, and sailing back to shore at night under the stars is memorable. Patrons often go to the island using their ticket from 5:00pm and explore the island or picnic. The ticket is fully inclusive, so you don't need to pay anything else to enjoy this unique experience.

BOAT auditorium with island church in the background

BOAT is a registered charity (no. 278003) which raises funds primarily for the National Trust and the Dorset Wildlife Trust. The company is professionally run, but all those involved with BOAT, whether onstage, backstage or front-of-house are unpaid volunteers.

About our Sponsors

Dorset Software Logo

We are delighted for the continued sponsorship of Dorset Software, providers for more than thirty years of IT systems to meet business needs in the public and private sectors.

Support BOAT

As a charity we give the majority of our profits to the National Trust and other good causes, leaving a small reserve for the following year's production. As such, we rely on income from donations to keep afloat between shows and to maintain the high production values you've come to expect.

We would be very grateful if you would consider making a donation to BOAT. Any amount, however small, would be most gratefully accepted.

You can also help BOAT by using Easyfundraising and nominating Brownsea Open Air Theatre as your chosen charity. Then every time you shop online we get a donation - at no cost to you!

Easy Fundraising


Stir Up Shakespeare!

'Stir Up Shakespeare!' is the place for exciting and fun theatre-based activities to do at home.

Discover a treasure-trove of practical games, activities and resources, based on easy-to-find materials, to make and do at home.

Stir Up Shakespeare!

A Taste of BOAT

Absolutely magic

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Great place to go to for a summer picnic & watch a Shakespeare play!!

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Summer nights on Brownsea Island are perfect for #outdoortheatre

Buy Tickets. Macbeth 2024


Buy your tickets for BOAT's 2024 performance of Macbeth

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Visit Brownsea Open Air Theatre


See information about your visit and how to find us.

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History of BOAT, actors from an early production.


Our past productions.

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BOAT Talks


BOAT talks.

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