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        Louise Whitbread
        Friday 10 July 2020 18:08
        Outdoor theatres, operas, dance and music shows can now go ahead thanks to the latest easing of lockdown restrictions
        Outdoor theatres, operas, dance and music shows can now go ahead thanks to the latest easing of lockdown restrictions(iStock)

        In an announcement on 9 July, Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for culture, media and sport shared the latest easing of lockdown restriction which will begin from 11 July.

        “As of this weekend, our artists, musicians and dancers can start performing live outside to audiences,” he said in his address.”Our theatres, operas, dance and music shows can start putting on outdoor performances to socially distanced audiences.”

        Enjoying the arts outside will be different than before, of course, with venue capacities being reduced and organisations being encouraged to use electronic ticketing, to help test and trace attendees.

        The MP added: “As these places begin to reopen their doors, I’m really urging people to get out there and to play their part.

        "Buy the tickets for outdoor plays and music recitals, get to your local gallery and support your local businesses."

        It follows a ?1.57bn package of emergency support being provided to help arts, heritage and cultural institutions who have been massively impacted by the lockdown.

        Whether you’re planning a trip to the open-air Minack Theatre in Cornwall, watching Six, The Musical on a drive-in arena stage or supporting your local theatre company, here are the helpful things to bring with you to.

        From pre-mixed cocktails to camping chairs, here’s our guide to enjoying the latest easing of lockdown rules as safely as possible.

        You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.


        There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable throughout a performance, or sitting on hard – or worse, wet – ground. That's why a picnic blanket (or two, depending on the weather) is an absolute essential for any outdoor arts event.

        The VonShef picnic blanket (VonShef, ?24.99) is made from a hard-wearing fleece polyester that makes for a comfy sit-down and has a waterproof backing for non-soggy sitting.

        This picnic blanket from Von Shef looks smart and rolls up easily to be secured with dark brown leather-look carry straps (VonShef)

        It came top in our IndyBest guide of best picnic blankets too and was one of the largest blankets we tried, measuring 147cm long and 180cm wide which will fit four people. Perfect for dining alfresco too.

        If you can carry them and take them into the ecent, surround your picnic blanket with outdoor cushions to make it extra plush.

        Stay comfortable when sitting on a picnic blanket by adding fluffy outdoor cushions (We Love Cushions)

        These durable, waterproof We Love Cushions large outdoor cushions (We Love Cushions, from ?39.99) impressed us for being soft and bouncy, ideal for cosying up on a balmy summer’s night, and it doesn't event matter if it rains (as we know it's likely too).


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        If it's a daytime trip, keep the sun rays out of your eyes with these trek rounded sunglasses (Weekday, ?12) designed with a rounded lens and a tortoiseshell frame.

        Keep the sun out of your eyes with a pair of sunglasses(Weekday)

        With so many high street brands offering a myriad of sunglasses designs, you don’t need to spend a fortune to find a pair to suit you and if looked after, i.e. not accidentally sat on while reaching for picnic food, can last years.

        Should the weather be sunny (fingers crossed) don’t forget to bring sunscreen to protect skin from overexposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun.

        For your face, try the Sol de Janeiro my sol stick SPF 50 (Space NK, ?24) a high protection stick that has the same delicious scent of Brazilian dessert doce de leite – a sort of sweet honey sunshine smell – as it’s cult favourite bum bum body cream.

        This portable stick is perfect for regular touch up and applying to specific areas with ease (Space NK)

        In our guide to the best body SPF we loved the Vichy solar protective water SPF50 (Boots, ?19), which sprays on evenly and quickly rubs in.

        Apply and reapply sunscreen to stay protected during sunny?weather (Vichy)

        “This feels like you are spritzing yourself with refreshing lemon water but with the added bonus of SPF50,” said our reviewer.

        It also made skin feel beautifully smooth thanks to the presence of moisturising hyaluronic acid along with Vichy mineralising water.

        Prepare for rain, just to be on the safe side of the British summertime, and bring a waterproof jacket.

        In our guide, we were impressed with the Berghaus fellmaster (Berghaus ?115.50).

        Our reviewer found the breathable membrane kept them dry and cool. “The material is comfortable, warm and allows for natural upper body movement and its adjustable cuffs and hood mean that the rain won’t start leaking through the jacket’s openings.”

        This?jacket will keep you dry in wet weather but cool too if it's still hot (Berghaus)

        We also liked the Patagonia torrentshell (Patagonia, ?84) that has a boxy fit so it won’t feel bulky when worn as an extra layer, while the wide pockets are great for storing snacks, car keys and phone.

        This lightweight jacket is made from?eco-friendly materials too, for a feel-good purchase(Patagonia)

        It’s also made with 100 per cent recycled fabric, making it a planet-conscious choice, and it stuffs down into its own pocket.

        IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.