It’s become a tradition that every summer, my friend Becky and I watch a play by Heartbreak Productions at Temple Newsam.

Two years ago we saw Pride and Prejudice; last year we saw Emma (we love Jane Austen) and this year we saw Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

There’s something about watching a live show outside. I don’t know what it is, but I love it. I think it makes the event even more of an experience, rather than just turning up at a theatre.

Becky and I take a little picnic with us (which always includes wine in classy plastic cups) and wrap ourselves up in blankets. (Even if it’s sunny to start with, it will get cold when you’re sat still outside on an evening.) You can pay slightly extra for seats inside the marquee – which we always do – or you can bring your own chairs and sit nearer the stage, risking the rain.

We were very glad for our covered seats last night when the heavens opened at 9pm and those sat at the front, out of the tent, got drenched. The actors did a brilliant job of carrying on, despite the downpour. Even if the weather forecast is bad, it’s still definitely worth going, although it can be a little harder to hear if there’s heavy rain and wind.

When you buy your tickets, it’s worth searching online to see if there are any discount codes. We couldn’t get one this year (there was a minimum spend) but we managed to find a decent deal last year.

The car park (which is free for the event) is really near the seating area, so you don’t have far to walk, and the toilets are close by. There’s normally a van selling hot drinks before the show and at the interval although there wasn’t last night, so take your own flasks if you think you’ll need something to warm you up.

Every Heartbreak Production show we’ve seen has been excellent. There are only a few actors and they all play numerous roles, with quick costume changes and a small amount of props. One of the things I love about it is that the actors wander around before the show starts and are all in character – it’s fun to watch and interact with them.

Actors setting up the stage, in character, before the downpour

Actors setting up the stage, in character, before the downpour

The company tours a number of shows at the same time. As well as The Importance of Being Earnest their other summer shows this year include: Murder on the Terrace (an original murder mystery), Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and for children – David Walliam’s Ratburger.

They tour across the UK at various different outdoor venues, but if you want to see them at Leeds you can get tickets for The Importance of Being Earnest this weekend, or Murder on the Terrace next week.

It’s a lovely way to spend a few hours on a summer evening. I thoroughly recommend it.