2020 was a year like no other for theatre and live performance. Nevertheless, Oxford Playhouse continued to produce and commission, supporting artists create work in new ways.

We commissioned a series of new plays across our Digital Stage and live for socially distanced audiences in partnership with organisations across Oxfordshire and nationally.

In collaboration with TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities), we carried out an open call for the commission of new work for audiences to experience at home. The three selected commissions were Do You Love Me Yet? by Huge If True; Gym Jam’s Anthropocene: The Human Era, and Unlock The ChainCollective’s Still Breathing.

Do You Love Me Yet? Created by Jocelyn Cox and Samuel E Taylor, is a experiment in human intimacy, whereby two actors meet online for the first time, unrehearsed, asking each other a series of questions that explores how quickly two people can fall in love. Anthropocene is a choose your own adventure digital play, questioning the impact of climate change. Still Breathing, an new online play, voices the fears, frustrations, fatigue and anger as yet another Black life is taken by the system that is there to protect.

We partnered with IF Oxford to commission and produce small hours by Ava Wong Davies, which explore the mysteries of the human circadian rhythm. Directed by Yasmin Sidhwa and performed by Mandala Theatre, with scientic research advice from the Circadian Neuroscience Institute.

We co-produced a new play Under The Mask, by Shaan Sahota with Tamasha Theatre, an on stage binaural audio experience about a first hand account of a junior doctor working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. After being delayed 3 times due to further lockdowns, this will finally happen on the Oxford Playhouse stage in July, and is touring to Rose Theatre Kingston, Theatre Clwyd and Theatre Peckham.

For families, we co-produced The Great Big Story Mix Up with Roustabout Theatre’s, an improvised fairy tale mash up delivered over zoom!

We also joined forces with the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Theatre Clywd, Barn Theatre and New Wolsey Theatre to co-produce a new digital production of The Picture of Dorian Gray, written by Henry Filloux- Bennett, directed by Tamara Harvey. This critically acclaimed production was viewed by over 30’000 people in 70 countries. We partnered with an additional 20 theatres around the UK to present the piece.