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About Us

Artistic Vision

Oxford Playhouse is a theatre for everyone.

Oxford Playhouse and its Burton Taylor Studio present and produce a wide range of live performance. The programme includes the best of British and international drama, family shows, contemporary dance and music, student and amateur shows, comedy, lectures and poetry.

We also create live performance here in Oxford. The Playhouse produces and tours its own shows, hosts Artists in Residence and presents Playhouse Plays Out, an ongoing series of off-site events which happen at locations across the county.

The theatre's Learning team works with over 15,000 people each year through post show discussions, workshops, work experience, holiday schemes, a youth theatre and a young people’s theatre company.

Oxford Playhouse Productions

2016

2016 sees a summer of 'firsts' and new collaborations for OP Productions. We join forces with Oxford Contemporary Music on Furious Folly, a remarkable and evocative large-scale outdoor performance which is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK-wide arts programme to mark the First World War centenary.  We are also working with Arts at the Old Fire Station on Off Beat, a brand new festival of work not seen before in Oxfordshire, curated across the OFS and the Burton Taylor Studio.  In August, we will present Peter Pan in Scarlet, the world premiere stage adaptation of the official sequel to  JM Barrie's Peter Pan, a co-production with the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and in association with the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. Peter Pan in Scarlet will be the first production in our newly refurbished main auditorium, running for three weeks.

We have also increased our work with and for young people and the community.  OP Productions kicked off the year by bringing Hello Oxford, our cabaret inspired collaboration with the Museum of Oxford, to care homes and sheltered accommodation around the county.  We launched our inaugural Young Players festival in March, which saw children and young people from across the city presenting their own writing on the main stage, alongside our 17|25 Young Company production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  Easter saw the third of Toby Hulse's much-loved trilogy for little children, Bed Time, open at the Burton Taylor Studio before embarking on a national tour and London run.  The fourth year of our Evolve Artist in Residence scheme also began in April, and we are delighted to have Chris Bush & Matt WinkworthJustice in Motion and Smoking Apples joining us.

To round off the year, we will return to our traditional Christmas offerings, with Cinderella taking to the stage in our annual pantomime.

2015

2015 began with a UK tour to theatres and local Oxford primary schools of our charmingly silly family show Bath Time. March saw us touring to shopping centres around the UK with Ready Steady Colour, a co-production with A Line who make interactive art installations. Resident company Shared Experience toured across the UK with Mermaid, a production inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Our resident young people’s theatre company, 17|25, performed Hattie Naylor’s adaptation of The Odyssey. In keeping with our 2014 Radical Oxford theme, Suffragettes and Rabble Rousers launched in March with, Margaret Drabble, Paterson Joseph, Glyn Maxwell, Molly Naylor and Polly Teale penning monologues about famous radical Oxfordians. Our third year of the Evolve scheme got underway in April and we welcomed Jake Bennett, Mike Tweedle and Dot&Ethel to the scheme. The Boy Who Bit Picasso was the year’s Easter treat in the Burton Taylor Studio before it went on a UK tour through April and May. As if that wasn’t enough, What To Do When You Find A Dinosaur returned to the BT Studio in autumn as part of a UK tour. In September, we welcomed back Paterson Joseph to the Playhouse with his one man show Sancho: An Act Of Remembrance, which started its journey in the BT Studio back in 2011. In October, we co-produced a sparkling new production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest with Northern Stage and Improbable Theatre.  To finish the year off in style, we presented our traditional array of Christmas treats with Dear Father Christmas in the BT Studio, and the tale of Aladdin written and directed by Steve Marmion taking centre stage as our annual pantomime.

2014

2014 saw Oxford Playhouse take on the theme of Radical Thinking with many of this year’s home-grown productions taking inspiration from ground-breaking ideas associated with the city. We’ve been commemorating the pioneers of old, the pirates of today, and the mavericks who have dared to think differently in the fields of art, science, politics, religion, literature, and philosophy.

The year began with a UK tour to five theatres of our charmingly silly family show Tea Time, and in March we supported our resident company Shared Experience with the initial development phase of their new show Mermaid at the Old Museum at Oxford Town Hall. Our resident young people’s theatre company 16|22 kicked off the Radical Thinking season with performances of Attempts on her Life at Frevd’s café. Also, in the early Spring we launched The Scarborough Poetry Walk at the Stephen Joseph Theatre; inspired by the success of The Oxford Poetry Walk in recent years, this audio experience will be available in Scarborough over the summer months. Our second year of the Evolve scheme is under way and we’re delighted to welcome Hannah Ringham, Anna Bruder and Tucked In to the scheme. May Day saw a day-long co-production with Pegasus Theatre in the form of Soapbox City, a chance for Oxford residents to address the world. In June we were very excited to be working with Chris Goode and Company to present the world premiere of STAND, real-life stories of courage and conscience from Oxford residents who stood up for something or someone they believed in. As if that wasn’t enough, sold-out family audiences enjoyed What To Do When You Find A Dinosaur in the BT Studio, which took inspiration from William Buckland’s ‘discovery’ of dinosaurs in Stonesfield, Oxfordshire, and to finish the year off in style we’ve got our traditional Christmas treats lined up with Hurry Up, Father Christmas! in the BT, and the enchanting tale of Beauty and the Beast taking centre stage as our annual pantomime.

2013

2013 began with a co-production of Charles Dickens' Curiosity Shop with Theatre Alibi in March. In the spring, our resident young people’s theatre company, 16|22, produced Under Milk Wood on our main stage and in April we saw the return of the hugely popular The Oxford Poetry Walk. We supported our resident company Shared Experience on their new production, Bracken Moor, at the Tricycle Theatre in London, and we worked with the resident Director and Producer at Magdalen College School on their first independent production, England Street, which was performed in our BT Studio in April. We were very excited in April to welcome our first trio of artists on our new Evolve scheme (read more about it here). In May we had a new pedal-tastic Playhouse Plays Out show, Bicycle Boy which was performed at the Osney Mill Marina Garage. We gave our Playhouse Plays Out Pop-up Theatre Tent another outing over the summer: it travelled the length and breadth of Oxfordshire, visiting carnivals, fêtes and schools throughout July and August. And finally we ended the year with our pantomime Robin Hood and the delightfully festive Father Christmas and the Icicle Bicycle for families in the BT Studio.

 

2012

In 2012 the Playhouse co-produced a new Helen Edmundson play with resident company Shared Experience about Mary Shelley and a production of Dick King-Smith’s The Crowstarver with Theatre Alibi. Oxford Playhouse’s own productions included: Animal Farm by resident young people’s theatre company, 16|22; The Story of the Four Minute Mile, a promenade Playhouse Plays Out production on the Iffley Road running track with Jake Oldershaw from The Untied Artists; and Tea Time, a new show for 3 to 6-year-olds from Bath Time’s Toby Hulse in the BT Studio. Also new for the summer of 2012, the Playhouse Plays Out Pop-Up Theatre Tent travelled around Oxfordshire festivals, carnivals, fêtes and schools throughout July and August (see a video here). We rounded off 2012 with three Christmas shows – pantomime Dick Whittington which was a Peter Duncan classic, a new interactive show Where’s Father Christmas? for our youngest theatre-goers in the BT studio, and the much-loved Dear Father Christmas (first seen in our BT studio in 2011) took up a new home for the winter in Greenwich Theatre, London.

2011

In 2011 Oxford Playhouse increased its producing activity, creating seven shows, including: a co-production of Brontë with Shared Experience which toured nationally; a new small-scale production of The Wright Brothers by David Hastings, which premiered at the Singapore Arts Festival before playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August; Paterson Joseph’s new play Sancho – An Act of Remembrance, which premiered in the Burton Taylor Studio in September, and three Christmas shows: a revival of Bath Time, written and directed by Toby Hulse, which played at Bristol Tobacco Factory throughout December; Dear Father Christmas, a new show for children under six, written and directed by Helen Eastman, that premiered with a sell-out run in the Burton Taylor Studio; and its annual pantomime, which for 2011 was Mother Goose, written and directed by Peter Duncan.

2010

  •  Von Ribbentrop's Watch by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, which toured to Watford Palace Theatre, Richmond Theatre and Salisbury Playhouse.
  • One Small Step played 20 countries. Find out more about the show on its worldwide travels: One Small Step on tour 2010
  • The Ministry of Fear by Graeme Greene with Theatre Alibi and The Northcott Theatre, Exeter.
  • The Ethics of Progress with Unlimited Theatre; written and performed by Jon Spooner. It toured the UK and internationally.
  • To and Fro, created by our 16|22 young company, was inspired by T S Eliot's Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock.
  • Cinderella, written and directed by Peter Duncan
  • Bath Time, written and directed by Toby Hulse

2009

2008

  • Molora, adapted and directed by Yael Farber (co production with The Farber Foundry)
  • Spies, by Michael Frayn, directed by Nikki Sved (co production with Theatre Alibi)
  • One Small Step written by David Hastings, directed by Toby Hulse.
  • Sleeping Beauty, written and directed by Peter Duncan

2007

  • Molora, adapted and directed by Yael Farber (co production with The Farber Foundry)
  • Aladdin, directed by Peter Duncan

2006

  • Three Tall Women, directed by Irina Brown
  • Dick Whittington, directed by Peter Duncan

2005

  • Cinderella, directed by Ian Talbot
  • The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Erica Whyman

2004

  • The Dumb Waiter and Other Pieces, directed by Douglas Hodge
  • Amajuba, directed by Yael Farber (co-production with The Farber Foundry)
  • Peter Pan, directed by John Doyle

2003

  • Amajuba, directed by Yael Farber (co-production with The Farber Foundry)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk, directed by Christopher Scott

2002

  • Spot’s Birthday Party, directed by David Wood
  • SeZaR, directed by Yael Farber (co-production with Arc Productions)
  • Mother Goose, directed by Michele Hardy

2000

  • Spot’s Birthday Party, directed by David Wood
  • Aladdin, directed by Michele Hardy