About Us

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Associate Artists
Evolve

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

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

Associate Artists

Click here for information about Evolve

Associate Company - Shared Experience

Shared Experience

Shared Experience became Oxford Playhouse's Resident Company in April 2011, cementing a long history of Oxford audiences enjoying the touring company's acclaimed productions. Through the residency, OP plays a unique role in Shared Experience's administration and management: it hosts performances and research & development activity, shares producing staff, and offers the company access to its own resources and expertise.

Shared Experience was established in 1961, since when its work has sparked national interest in contemporary stage adaptations of literature, with landmark productions of Arabian Nights and Dickens’ Bleak House earning it early acclaim. Since then the company has repeatedly produced bold, highly imaginative adaptations of classics - including Jane Eyre, War and Peace and A Passage to India - as well as celebrated pieces of new writing such as After Mrs Rochester, Speechless and Brontë. The company’s legacy of work has left its imprint on the theatre landscape: former Artistic Director Nancy Meckler was the first woman to direct at The National Theatre and has recently created a series of astonishing productions for the RSC. Current Artistic Director and Chief Executive Polly Teale has created an extraordinary body of work as both a writer and director, with productions having transferred to The West End and toured internationally. Her own play After Mrs Rochester won the Evening Standard award for Best Director & the Time Out award for Best West End Production.

Shared Experience has been instrumental in pioneering a distinctive performance style that celebrates the union of physical and text-based theatre. The company is committed to creating theatre that goes beyond our everyday existence, giving form to the invisible world of emotion and imagination, examining the hidden parts of the self; its productions seek to explore the relationship between the world we inhabit and our inner lives.

Recent Shared Experience productions to have visited Oxford include Mary Shelley (2012), Speechless (2011) and Brontë (2011).

www.sharedexperience.org.uk

 

Idle Motion

Idle Motion

Idle Motion became an Associate Artist at the Playhouse in 2010.

Idle Motion is a young physical theatre company based in Oxford. Devising their ensemble shows from scratch, the team uses workshops, play and improvisation. Their filmic style is highly visual, creating bold images on stage with an innovative use of props and movement. Strong narratives and a sense of storytelling result in rounded and dynamic pieces of theatre.

With the support of patron Juliet Stevenson, Idle Motion is a small company with big ideas and a huge passion for creating exciting and beautiful new work. Nominated by Total Theatre Awards as ‘Best Emerging company 2009’ for their production Borges and I, Idle Motion has since dreated and toured The Vanishing Horizon, and recently premiered The Seagull Effect.

 

Michael Gabriel

Michael Gabriel artsworks

Michael Gabriel has been drawing from live performances at the Oxford Playhouse for over thirty years.

He has made hundreds of quick sketches and paintings of actors, rehearsals, and performance moments.

As an Associate Artist, he continues to draw and exhibit at the Playhouse, and aims to create a body of work celebrating the experience and magic of theatre and the excellence of theatre in Oxford.

Michael's first exhibition of work, Between the Lines, was exhibited throughout the Playhouse in the autumn of 2009 and more recently Michael exhibited work with sculptor Alison Berman during Art Weeks 2010.

Theatre is a transient art-form, and often shows live on only in our memories. So how wonderful it is to have the talented Michael Gabriel on hand to record some of those treasured images from the stalls of the Playhouse. The drawings and paintings capture both the moment and the spirit of the productions, and are a fine accompaniment when we look back at our past. Michelle Dickson, Director, Oxford Playhouse
 

Fin Walker

Fin Walker established Walker Dance Park Music in conjunction with composer Ben Park. The Company was an Associate Company at the Royal Opera House for five years, as well as Associate Artists at Oxford Playhouse. The duo made works for CandoCo Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Ricochet Dance Productions, Rambert Dance Company, Gravity & Levity amongst others.

Winner of the Jerwood Award and twice nominee for Best Choreography, The Critics' Circle Awards, Fin’s theatre credits include: Equus with Daniel Radcliffe (West End/ Broadway), Hamlet, After The Dance, Emperor Jones at The National Theatre, The Misanthrope with Keira Knightley and Damian Lewis at The Comedy Theatre, As You Like It at the Globe Theatre and The Tempest at the RSC. Fin also worked with David Mcvicar on Aida at The Royal Opera House. TV credits include: The Fades, BBC3, by writer Jack Thorne.

 

Ben Park

Ben Park has an extraordinarily varied career as a composer and musician. He began producing music for Fin Walker’s choreography in 1993 and has composed all of the company’s music to date. He has extensive experience as a composer and musician including touring with bands, composing for film and television, and live performance compositions for dance and theatre. He has created music for a number of multi-award winning works including the BAFTA award-winning, EMMY and Oscar-nominated adaptation series Canterbury Tales for BBC1. In the past ten years he has increasingly devoted his energies to the exploration of new music in contemporary dance, working with companies such as Rambert, Phoenix and Ricochet, both for stage and film. In 2005-6 he was resident at Opera North and he has an ongoing relationship with Operagenesis at the Royal Opera House in London. He composed the music for Oxford Playhouse’s co-production with Paterson Joseph of Sancho: An Act of Remembrance in 2011.

 

 

The Opera Group

The Opera Group is a new type of opera company. At the company's heart is the development and presentation of brand new musical storytelling. Their aim is to merge the best of contemporary theatre and music. For over ten years they have been touring two new productions, both new commissions and fresh revivals of classics per year across the UK and Europe, and in 2010 on Broadway.

The Opera Group works with a variety of partners who share a passion for reaching the widest possible audiences through touring, site specific and participatory projects.

I’m really excited to have The Opera Group as our newest Associate Artist. They are a great match for the Playhouse; inventive, challenging, innovative and at the forefront of their artform. I hope we will be able to make the most of their visits to Oxford, deepening the relationship with audiences and exploring opportunities to work together collaboratively on supporting education and development projects. Michelle Dickson, Director, Oxford Playhouse

They have been visiting the Playhouse for many years, most recently with The Enchanted Pig(15-18 April 2010) and The Lion's Face (23 May 2010).