Brownsea Open Air Theatre
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Brownsea Open Air Theatre

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

Brownsea Island from the air.

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.

BOAT auditorium with island church in the background

Since 1964 BOAT has involved over 1,500 volunteers, entertained 10’s of thousands of people and raised over £250,000 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 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

Like most theatre companies at the moment, BOAT has no income. Unlike most theatre companies, we only stage one show a year which means we have had no ticket income since 2019 and don't expect any until 2022. As a charity we rely on income from ticket sales to keep afloat and maintain the high production values you've come to expect.

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

You can also help BOAT by using Easyfundraising and AmazonSmile 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 FundraisingAmazon Smile


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. Twelfth Night 2022


Buy your tickets for BOAT's 2022 performance of Twelfth Night.

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Get Involved. Lighting being rigged in the lighting tower.

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Visit Brownsea Open Air Theatre


See information about your visit and how to find us.

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BOAT Talks


BOAT talks.

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