The doors may be closed but music, theatre, cinema and film have continued to entertain and uplift us in new al fresco locations.

We’ve been inspired by community outdoor cinema screenings in Glasgow parks, musical theatre in Dunblane and an arts-community growing fusion with ‘An empty gunny bag cannot stand’.

Download:  Arts, Culture & Heritage Resource Sheet  |  Taking Cinema Outside Resource Sheet

Featured Projects

Outdoor Cinema at Hayburn Park

With cinemas closed, the Hayburn Play Park Association brought the magic of film to their park with a hugely enjoyable outdoor screening of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox. Watch this short video describing how the outdoor cinema screening at Hayburn happened.

Watch the Hayburn Outdoor Cinema video below

Glasgow Artists' Moving Image Studios

Glasgow Artists’ Moving Image Studios (GAMIS) talk about how they delivered their outdoor cinema event as part of Govanhill International Festival 2020 and things you need to think about to run a successful screening outside.

Inspiring Ideas

Taking community theatre outside

The Rubber Chicken Theatre company performed the beautiful Sondheim musical 'Into the Woods' outdoors amongst the trees of Holmehill Wood in Dunblane. With a socially distanced cast and audience, this was a perfect opportunity to experience this musical theatre in its ideal setting. There really is something quite magical about theatre outdoors.

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Under the bridge

Beneath the Kingston Bridge in Glasgow is an underused car park that remained an inactive space throughout lockdown. A team of creatives decided to change that, taking ownership of the space and temporarily transforming it into a ‘theatre without walls’. 

The project involved artists Sarah Wagner and Oh Pandah and is part of After the Pandemic curated by Lateral North, Fergus Bruce and Laura McHard. The project posed questions around land ownership, how performing artists of different kinds can respond creatively to the pandemic, and how we can transform spaces within our cities to be vibrant, community led and design focused. Photo credit Simon Forsythe.

Find out more and watch the film

Seasonal community events

With Covid-19 restrictions halting Halloween guising and trick or treat activities, the Rubber Chicken Theatre company created a community pumpkin patch and a socially-distanced self-guided trail to explore magical art and light installations in the woods at Holmehill, including the umbrella tree, a Gruffalo and a huge elephant.

Visit the Rubber Chicken Theatre Company

When community art meets food growing

‘An Empty Gunny Bag Cannot Stand’ was originally intended to take place on unused land surrounding SWG3 arts complex in Glasgow. Then Covid-19 hit and a new plan evolved by inviting a whole street in Kelvindale, Glasgow, to plant and grow potatoes on their own doorsteps. A team living in the neighbourhood, made 120 beautiful growing bags - olive green, brilliant red, and mustard yellow and 25 bags were also distributed to growers in Kelvinhaugh, living near to SWG3. At harvest time a chip shop was opened that fed 500 people for free during lockdown using the tatties that were donated back to the project. The celebration included music and was one of the only live contemporary music events in Scotland during lockdown. Image copyright Aproxima Arts.

Find out more | Watch the Gunny Bag videos

Outdoor Opera

Scottish Opera responded to the challenge of staging an event outdoors with a new production of La Boehme, performed to an audience of 100 by a scaled-back cast and orchestra under a canopy and on temporary stages at Scottish Opera's Production Studio in Glasgow

Their follow up ‘Pop-up Opera roadshow’ toured locations in Greenock, Edinburgh, Inverness, Hawick, East Lothian and Glasgow with free performances of excerpts from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. Photo credit Julie Howden.

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Creative Dundee – Art on the Street

This colourful temporary zebra crossing style mural in Dundee, the UK’s first and only UNESCO City of Design, was painted by a local scenic painter, artists and students. Union Street links the V&A Dundee and the train station and the mural encourages people to explore the street by walking on the road and discourages traffic in the already restricted zone.

Co-designed by businesses and residents, the changes were funded by Spaces for People through Sustrans Scotland, in partnership with Dundee City Council. Painted in about 10 hours, the eco-friendly paint is designed to last 4-6 weeks.

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Remember to always check the most recent Scottish Government guidance and advice when planning activities and events outside.

Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting work on Better Outside - using our spaces more