Playhouse Plays On


Applications are now open for our Evolve Artists in Residence scheme 2020/21

Find out more here.
Download the application form here.
Applications close at 12noon on Monday 27 January 2020.
Interviews will be on week starting 10 February 2020.
Evolve 2020/21 will run from April 2020 to March 2021.

The Evolve Artists in Residence scheme, each year, supports three emerging or mid-career artists/companies by providing seed funding for projects, research and development, rehearsal space as well as mentoring and advice from the Playhouse team. 

Now it its sixth year of applications, Evolve has become an important and rewarding part of the Oxford Playhouse’s work to support artists. Previous residencies include UK Theatre Award-winners Chris Bush and Matt Winkworth, Olivier nominated writer-performer Caroline Horton, founder of the award-winning company Opera Up-Close, Robin Norton-Hale, critically acclaimed performer Lanre Malaolu, and local companies Flintlock Theatre, Justice In Motion and Kuumba Nia Arts. Most go on to become regulars within our annual programming.

Evolve sits as one of 3 artists development schemes at Oxford Playhouse, alongside Playhouse Playmaker, our writers development scheme and Offbeat, our annual festival of new work in partnership with Arts at The Old Fire Station.

Laura Elliot, Programme Director at Oxford Playhouse says:

‘The Evolve Artists in Residence scheme is an important and rewarding part of our work with artists, who we hope will go on to become longer-term associates of the Playhouse. We pick artists who show passion and vigour to both evolve their practise or organisation, and connect with the region. We hope the scheme will contribute to the sense of community amongst the many talented artists making work within the region, emphasising Oxfordshire as a place for artists to live and work and where audiences can access vital new work.’

Kuumba Nia EVOLVE artists 2019

‘Our year as Evolve artists unexpectedly took us to Edinburgh fringe, with the Playhouse taking our show SOLD under its umbrella!

We ended up with a full run, winning an award and now planning a tour for next year! Their help, support and guidance has been invaluable and continues.

It has been a year of us trying to bridge the gap between artist and industry, helping the art we make and our business 'evolve'. It's been both challenging and rewarding and ultimately worthwhile.’

Flintlock Theatre, EVOLVE artists 2013

‘Becoming Artists in Residence at OP on the EVOLVE scheme has catapulted us forward in our development as an emerging theatre company. The mentoring and support has been simply wonderful and having the OP seal of approval on our work makes all the difference when we're making new connections across the theatre industry.’

Applications will open on Friday 20 December 2019 all applications need to be returned by 12.00 noon on Monday 27 January 2020 to Matilda Rose at Interviews will take place w/c 10 February 2020.

Evolve 2020-2021 will run from April 2020 – March 2021.



Jessica is a freelance director, and part of award-winning fringe theatre company Atticist which she co-founded in 2016. She makes collaborative theatre and enjoys working on both new writing and relevant revivals. Her first full-length professional production, Life According to Saki by Katherine Rundell, won the 2016 Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award and transferred Off Broadway in 2017. Other recent work includes a revival of Steven Berkoff’s EAST in its original London venue, currently nominated for 5 Off West End Awards including Best Director and Best Ensemble, and (as assistant director) Bullet Tongue for The Big House Theatre Company (which supports recent care-leavers at high risk of social exclusion). Jessica is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to return to Oxford - and to Oxford Playhouse, where she directed two student productions while completing a doctorate under Tiffany Stern (then Oxford University’s Professor of Drama): Julian Mitchell’s Another Country and Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle.




Kuumba Nia Arts brings African Caribbean people’s histories and contemporary stories to life through theatre and film. A not for profit theatre company based in Oxford since 2009, it was started by Amantha Edmead a local actress and drama practitioner who trained at Guildford School of Acting, and the University of Surrey, Roehampton.

Amantha co-directs the company with John Sailsman, a director, writer, actor and founder of Unity Arts and Darron Edmead a script writer. Together they shape the company’s direction. Their combined theatre and television credits including: Talawa, Little Angel , London Bubble, Doctors, Casualty, EastEnders and BBC's Song Catcher

Kuumba Nia's storytelling theatre is a fusion of drama, song, dance and ritual linked to Caribbean and African roots. They celebrate and explore the black experience in all its shades, sharing universal stories through an Afro-Caribbean lens.




Hidden Track is an award-winning interactive theatre company, pioneering adventures in theatre form that tell accessible political stories to unite and empower unheard audiences.

The company experiments with new forms of storytelling, live gaming and audience interaction to bypass the barriers that can exclude audiences from the arts: developing original theatre while delivering real audience care; strong, emotional narratives; and voices that aren’t often heard on a traditional stage. They endeavour to create work that is accessible to anyone, regardless of background or prior knowledge of theatre. Whoever you are, we want you to feel welcome, comfortable, and entertained.

Their most recent production, Standard: Elite, exploring class and privilege, has toured the UK to critical acclaim and won Best New Writing at Greater Manchester Fringe and Best Newcomer at Brighton Fringe. 

The company is led by writer Elliot Hughes with director Anoushka Bonwick and supported by Producer Beccy Smith. 




Fifth Word is run by joint Artistic Directors Laura Ford and Angharad Jones. They produce and tour ambitious new plays from the most exciting voices around the UK. Their work shines a light on unheard stories bringing fresh, engaging work to theatres and younger audiences. They present plays that entertain, emotionally engage and spark debate relevant to our time and work to nurture regional voices and the next generation of talent.

Fifth Word’s productions include: LAVA by James Fritz (Nottingham Playhouse 2018) WRECK by Toby Campion (Nottingham Playhouse 2017); ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton (Nottingham Playhouse/ UK tour/Arcola Theatre 2017 – nominated for Best New Play by the Writers’ Guild Awards and for Off West End Award for Best New Play; Joint Winner of the George Devine Award); AMATEUR GIRL by Amanda Whittington (UK tour 2014); BONES by Jane Upton (Edinburgh Festival 2011/ UK tour 2012); EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME by Paul Buie (Guildhall Theatre, Derby); PAINKILLERS by Paul Buie (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/East Midlands regional tour).

Fifth Word is a previous winner of the Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Award.



April 2020
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Ex-Batts and Broilers Ex-Batts and Broilers & Doctor Faustus
Ex-Batts and Broilers
Luna: A Play About the Moon Luna: A Play About the Moon & Room on the Broom
Luna: A Play About the Moon Luna: A Play About the Moon & Room on the Broom
The Flower The Flower & Chess
The Flower The Flower & Chess
The Flower The Flower & Chess
The Flower The Flower & Chess
The Flower
Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales
The Flower The Flower & Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales The Flower & Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales & Plus1 more...
The Flower The Flower & Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales
The Flower
The Flower
The Flower
The Flower
The Accident Did Not Take Place
12|16 Young Company April - July... 12|16 Young Company April - July... & These Hills Are Ours 12|16 Young Company April - July... & These Hills Are Ours & Plus1 more...
The Birthday Party The Birthday Party & 17|25 Young Company April - July... The Birthday Party & 17|25 Young Company April - July... & Plus1 more...
The Birthday Party The Birthday Party & Umbrella Man
The Birthday Party The Birthday Party & Umbrella Man
The Birthday Party The Birthday Party & Beastly Belle
The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard
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