Interim Director, Polly Cole, talks about her arrival in Oxford, the tradition of May Morning and upcoming Radical Thinking show, Soapbox City ...
I arrived in Oxford on a spring day some six years ago. My first few months were spent amongst a bewildering array of coloured carnations pinned to billowing black gowns scurrying across the city, the occasional monk whizzing down Beaumont Street on a skate board and many delightful food options tempting me on my walk home along Cowley Road. Then one morning, having heard the angelic voices of choristers emanating from the top of Magdalen tower, I found myself in a pub with a pint in front of me at 7am listening to John Otway. May Morning, Oxford style.
Oxford is an interesting city to navigate, shaped by the radical minds of the past, filled with unique experiences, and sprinkled with acts of rebellion from its inhabitants past and present. Over the coming months numerous cultural organisations from around Oxford will be celebrating the city as the home of radical thinkers and pioneers. As part of this Oxford Radical Thinking Season, Oxford Playhouse is delighted to be working with Chris Goode, one of the country’s most exciting theatre makers. His production, STAND, will feature real life stories of courage and conscience from local people who have taken a stand for someone, or something, they believed in. We are busy collecting inspiring experiences from an incredible range of Oxford residents who’ve made waves, stuck to their guns, championed a cause or tried to change the world. If you want to hear which ones make it into the show, STAND will be performed for a few nights only in West Oxford Community Centre at the end of May and early June.,
Meanwhile at 7am on this year’s May Morning, I will be found (without the pint) on Broad Street waiting for 144 voices to take to their soapbox for Soapbox City. Together with Pegasus Theatre we are searching the city for people who have something to say that they believe should be heard. Some famous faces, extraordinary story-tellers and believers in a cause will for a day inspire, amuse and possibly ignite a new interest for the passing crowds. Do you have something you would like to share for five minutes from a soapbox? If so, why not email email@example.com and let us know. Or, if speaking isn’t your thing, just come along and listen to what will be an extraordinary mix of opinions and ideas. Join us for all 12 hours or just 5 minutes and maybe this May Day you’ll experience Oxford anew.