This summer you can go off the grid, into the park, down and over and by the sea---and at every turn you can see a show.

To June 30
Dartmouth Players A Flea in Her Ear
Throughout the year, the hardworking volunteers at Dartmouth Players produce a wide variety of affordable, accessible plays. The last show of this season is a classic turn-of-the-century farce about a jealous wife who (wrongly) suspects her husband is unfaithful. Expect dazzling costumes, a myriad of mistaken identities and plenty of laughs. (Oh, and ice cream at intermission, too!) Dartmouth Players, 33 Crichton Avenue, $12-$15, 465-7529,

To June 24
Vile Passéist Theatre
A Yorkshire Tragedy

Yes, there may have been some bitching before about the length of the "early-modern, non-Shakespearean" plays that VPT has produced in the summer heat of the Bus Stop Theatre, but that's all about to change. Their latest show is a haunting one act play by Thomas Middleton about domestic violence, gambling and addiction and demonic possession. Hot topics, hot venue and a short play. The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street, $15-$20, 406-6262,

June 21-July 8
Theatre Arts Guild
The Drowsy Chaperone

Kudos to TAG for bringing to the Halifax stage a show that's Canadian gold and a piece of Broadway all wrapped into one! Billed as "a musical within a comedy," Chaperone spoofs shows from the 1920s. It's the story of a musical theatre fan who dozes off and dreams up a glitzy show which she wryly comments upon throughout. And if any company can transform a tiny stage into a glamourous theatrical set, it's TAG. The Pond Playhouse, 6 Parkhill Road, $13-$16, 477-2663,

June 27-September 9
Ship's Company Summer Theatre
With plays by Charlie Rhindress, Michael Healy and Jeremy Webb, looks like the old Kip has picked three winners for the summer schedule. Rhindress' play Maritime Way of Life is a spoof of our down-home ways. Healey's The Nutalls is the hilarious story of a dysfunctional mother-and-son relationship. And Shakespeare on Trial is Webb's truly funny war of words between the Bard and four of his own characters. There will be lots of laughs in this line-up. 18 Lower Main Street, Parrsboro, $18.50-$28, 800-565-7469,

July 1-September 2
Shakespeare by the Sea
This summer, SBTS takes on middle-class marriage (The Merry Wives of Windsor), bloody revenge (Titus Andronicus) and a kid-friendly psychedelic road trip (Alice in Wonderland). And while we're dreaming of a cloud-free summer where we see all the shows at the outdoor Cambridge Battery, just remember that the show will always go on, rain or shine, thanks to the company's newish indoor space, the Park Place Theatre. Cambridge Battery, Point Pleasant Park, $15 suggested donation, 422-0295,

July 4-August 25
Festival Antigonish
Taking its cue from the overwhelming success of last year's Caught in the Net, Festival Antigonish is bringing Funny Money, another door-slamming farce by Ray Cooney, to the stage. Also adding to the Summer of Comedy theme are Same Time, Next Year and In Till it Hurts. This is a festival that really knows its audience and draws strong local support as well as attracting visitors from far afield. Including shows on its family stage, there are over 100 performances in two months. Phew! Bauer Theatre, St. Francis Xavier Theatre, Antigonish, $17-$32, 800-563-PLAY,

July 5-August 18
Valley Summer Theatre
You gotta love a good-news theatre story. Valley Summer Theatre may be a newcomer (it's only entering its fourth season), but it's already making a mark on the NS theatre scene. Executive producer Bruce Klinger seems to have a real knack for choosing plays with broad appeal and assembling crack teams to bring them to life. Following on the heels of last season's Merritt-winning Driving Miss Daisy, this year's line-up is Rod Beattie's popular one-man show Wingfield's Progress and the heartwarming Educating Rita. Al Whittle Theatre, 450 Main Street, Wolfville, $18-$30, 877-845-1341,

July 10-August 11
Theatre Off the Grid Lysistrata, Temptress of the South
One of the real highlights of summer is the chance to see the creative concoctions served al fresco by Two Planks and a Passion at the Ross Creek Centre. This year, artistic director Ken Schwartz has adapted Aristophanes' classic comedy Lysistrata and Allen Cole has added the music and lyrics. Look forward to a steamy marriage of sex and politics and sexual politics. Tue-Sun, 555 Ross Creek Road, Canning, $15-$28.75, 582-3073,

July 14-August 25
Chester Playhouse Summer Festival
There are four great offerings at the Playhouse this summer, and because it's located in such a lovely village just a hop, skip and a jump from the city, it's possible (and desirable) to take them all in. The season starts with a musical cabaret called Broadway Without Borders starring the charming and talented Stuart Hiseler and Karen Myatt, moves to a revival of Michael Melski's popular Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad and then to the family-friendly The Bookshop. It all ends with Odd Ducks, a new Bryden MacDonald play commissioned by the Chester Playhouse. 22 Pleasant Street, Chester, $17-$26, 800-363-7529,

July 19-22
Queer Acts Theatre Festival
The focus of Queer Acts this year has been directed to stories from our own queer community. It offers six diverse plays by the likes of Tanya Davis, Bryden MacDonald and Lee-Anne Poole over the course of four days. There's a rock musical by trrrash productions and a new play from Annie Valentina of The Doppler Effect. There are also special performances by members of Acting Out!, a group of LGBT youth who've worked on telling their original stories with directors Garry Williams and Richie Wilcox. Sure to be powerful! The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street, $10-$12,

August 30-September 9
Atlantic Fringe Festival
Details are not finalized yet, but the Fringe planning is well underway with the possibility of offering 50 plays. "We're trying very hard to re-orient the Fringe toward short shows like other fringes that have a 45- or 60-minute maximum," says Thom Fitzgerald, the festival's recognized agent. "There will be full-length shows but we're offering artists incentives to be concise this year!" And in other breaking news, watch for the return of THE BEER TENT. various prices and locations, 423-4653,

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