(Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images for Peaceman Productions)

(Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images for Peaceman Productions)

As the weather heats up in North Texas, the outdoor theater productions are getting going, too. Grab a blanket, bring your picnic basket, relax under the stars and watch an outdoor theater performance with the family. The number and variety of outdoor theater productions is impressive.  Here are three of the best-known theater companies in North Texas and a list of their productions for the summer.

Shakespeare Dallas
3630 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 559-2778
June 12 to July 20: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
June 20 to July 19: “Pericles”
September 18 to September: “The Winter’s Tale” at 28 Samuell-Grand Park
October 2 to October 13: “The Winter’s Tale” at Addison Circle ParkSince 1971, Shakespeare Dallas has entertained North Texas theater patrons. Shakespeare Dallas performs at  Samuell-Grand Park in the summer and at Addison Circle Park in the fall. Both locations have open areas for blankets and lawn chairs. The company tends to pepper performances of the classic Shakespeare favorites with lesser-known plays, meaning that even the most devout Shakespeare fanatics will be entertained year after year. Artistic Director Raphael Parry presents Shakespeare’s use of iambic pentameter, rhymed verse and prose in a way that audiences will understand it. Parry, the former co-founder and co-artistic director of Undermain Theater, has been with Shakespeare Dallas since 2002.

Junior Players
4054 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 526-4076

Dates: July 23 to July 28: “Much Ado About Nothing”

Junior Players is Dallas’ oldest children’s theater organization.  Started in 1955, its 58 years of providing theater arts educational programs and events for children aged 5 to 18 has helped to cultivate an appreciation for the arts in North Texas. Through its commitment to the North Texas community, Junior Players has been able to grow and now offers workshops and programs for free. The goal of the organization is to increase literacy and communication skills as well as help children to develop a strong self-esteem through positive role models. Through afterschool programs and summer camps, Junior Players helps the underserved communities of Dallas by teaching children about the fine art of acting. High school-aged Junior Players members get to practice their craft and perform for audiences with this season’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Hip Pocket Theater
1950 Silver Creek Road
Fort Worth, TX 76108
(817) 246-9775

June 7 to June 30: “Archy & Mehitabel”
July 12 to July 28: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”
August 9 to September 1: “A Tempest”
September 13 to October 6: “Sassafras, Poppy Cock, and Prittleprattle with Lum and Abner”

Hip Pocket Theater was started in 1976 by husband and wife team Johnny and Diane Simons and friend Douglas Balentine. What began as a grassroots theater group has grown into a large-scale community outreach theater company that has educated and entertained the public with fine theatrical performances for 37 seasons.  Hip Pocket’s outreach program (Story Soup) teaches young
children from kindergarten to third grade about storytelling, creative writing and literature using locations in the Fort Worth Library System. Throughout the summer and fall, the theater hosts hip productions that the whole family will enjoy. Bonus: show up early for Backyard Music performances from local bands.

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her
appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-
respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and
enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com