Summer is traditionally when theatres go "dark", undertaking necessary repairs and renovations and in general preparing for the pre-christmas season culminating in the annual pantomime. Bury St Edmunds' Georgian Theatre Royal once again invites the public to explore its fascinating past between late June and August 17. Backstage Past – Access All Areas – lets visitors explore the history of the building (to 27 July); Live Encounters confronts them with characters from that history (7 to 17 August).
The theatre season proper begins from 4 to 6 September with Shakespeare's Globe on Tour presenting The Taming of the Shrew with an all-female cast. A heroine of a very different hue is Fanny Price, the main character in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. This adaptation by Tim Luscombe directed by Colin Blumenau had a successful tour last year and, after a short run between 17 and 21 September, is once more off on its travels.
London Classic Theatre is a regular visitor to the Theatre Royal. On 24 and 25 September you can see Harold Pinter's dark exploration of marital infidelity Betrayal. That's followed on 27 and 28 September by the world première of Well, an aerial dance theatre work by Poppy Burton-Morgan and Metta Theatre.
Temple Theatre offer you all the Greek myths for just one night – 7 October – in the aptly titled Unmythable. That's followed on 8 October by Probe's dance drama Running on Empty. Suffolk Opera bring Mozart's The Magic Flute in a new translation from 10 to 12 October.
New Perspectives and Leicester's Curve Theatre then change the mood with The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock by David Rudkin on 16 and 17 October. Common Ground Theatre present a new take on an old story with The prisoner of Zenda from 31 October to 2 November and there's more opera on 12 November with Mid-Wales Opera Company's new staging of Britten's Albert Herring.
Two Bit Classics and the Theatre Royal join forces for Austen's Pride and Prejudice with jut two actors playing all the 21 roles. Playing between 13 and 16 November as part of a national tour, it's directed by Abigail Anderson and designed by Doris Schweitzer. Ballet Theatre UK lead into Christmas from 18-20 November with The Nutcracker.
And then it's panto time! Aladdin is the theme but, as it's written by Blumenau under his pen-name of Daniel O'Brien, you can expect some interesting twists to the traditional story. 29 November through to 12 January are the dates for this Tim Welton production designed by Nigel Hook. What will 2014 bring? We'll just have to wait and see.