A SUMMER of classic outdoor theatre is set to entertain Dorset.

An array of drama, opera, comedy and other shows will descend on three locations including Maumbury Rings in Dorchester, Athelhampton House near Dorchester, Whitcombe Manor near Dorchester as well as the Nothe Fort in Weymouth from June 19 to August 26.

A total of 10 shows arranged by Dorchester Arts will be performed in outdoor venues, allowing audiences to enjoy a picnic in an evening full of theatrics.

The season at Maumbury Rings in the centre of Dorchester will open with a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by The HandleBards on Sunday, June 19.

Other events on offer at the same venue include a dramatic version of Dickens’ Great Expectations on June 30 and a new production of Wuthering Heights on July 29, accompanied by original live music and songs commissioned by Lighthouse, Poole.

A series of family shows will be performed at Maumbury Rings with The Three Musketeers on August 7, David Walliams’ Awful Auntie on August 13 performed by Heartbreak Productions, and evergreen children’s classic The Wind in the Willows on August 26.

Taking to the stage of the award-winning Nothe Fort, performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic The Mikado on July 9 and The Shodyssey on July 16 will be available for audiences to enjoy.

Athelhampton House will be home to an original murder mystery Much Ado About Murder on July 21 which will set five suspects under the spotlight and will depend on the audience to find the answers.

Don your detective cap and join Heartbreak Productions for some super silliness this summer. This original murder mystery will depend on you – the audience – to find answers.

Multi-talented musician Rainer Hersch, who performs comedy about classical music, will be performing as part of Dorchester Arts’ annual Summer Sunday on July 31 at Whitcombe Manor near Dorchester by by kind permission of best-selling author Minette Walters and husband Alec.

Tickets start from £10 and more information about the events can be found at dorchesterarts.org.uk.