The Burton Taylor Studio, beside the Playhouse, regularly houses some of the most innovative theatre to be found in Oxford. I often think of it as our own miniature version of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Oxford Mail 2007
The Burton Taylor Studio is the coolest, smallest place to see new work in Oxford. Situated just around the corner from Oxford Playhouse, this 50-seater studio hosts a wide variety of student productions during each eight-week University term.
Out of term time the Studio presents a dedicated programme of professional work and is full to bursting with great new writing, comedy, live music and dance as well as an extensive family friendly programme. Offering theatrical experiences for children as young as 18 months old and a play area before and after the shows, it’s a great space to relax and enjoy an outing with the kids. The Burton Taylor Studio is also committed to supporting local artists’ work . It’s an intimate, adaptable and affordable space and there are regular opportunities to present shows at all stages of development, from excerpts in scratch evenings to full scale productions in any art form.
Richard Burton received his first standing ovation here in Oxford while he was studying at Exeter College. The 18 year old had arrived in Oxford from West Glamorgan in 1944 for a six-month course that allowed him to combine RAF training with English Literature and Italian studies. John Gielgud was in the audience for that memorable Oxford Dramatic Society (OUDS) performance of Measure for Measure and English Tutor Neville Coghill made Richard promise he would act in Oxford again one day.
The promise was kept in 1966 when Richard and his wife Elizabeth Taylor, at the time the highest paid star in the world, returned for an OUDS production of Doctor Faustus directed by Neville Coghill on the stage of Oxford Playhouse.
In 1966 Richard also donated money towards the Burton Rooms. Originally used as Reading rooms, for rehearsals and the occasional performance, it was in the late 1980s, while Oxford Playhouse was dark, that members of OUDS and other University students with a keen interest in drama, established the venue as somewhere that they could regularly put on their plays, and gave it the name the Burton Taylor Theatre, known today as the Burton Taylor Studio which is currently managed by Oxford Playhouse on behalf of the University of Oxford.