Oxford Playhouse Student Slots – Notes for Applicants
An introduction to student shows on the main stage. Click here for Information about student slots at the BT studio.
If you are thinking of applying for a slot in the Playhouse, please read carefully through the information below, as it should help you to prepare the best bid possible.
The Playhouse programmes 5 week-long student slots a year: 2 in Michaelmas, 2 in Hilary and 1 in Trinity. There is also a one-night slot available to students in Trinity.
The Playhouse is a 613 seat proscenium theatre that is programmed throughout the year with high quality week long runs of drama, work for families, music and dance. Before applying have a look at the brochure to get an idea of the kind of work being programmed around the student slots. This can be very important when you come to choosing a title - if the play you want to produce has been on at the Playhouse in the last five years, you will need to contact the University Drama Officer or Laura Elliot, the Playhouse Programme Director.
We welcome bids from experienced students who have a desire to put a particular piece of work on the Playhouse stage, It is important that the bid demonstrates why the application is being made to the Playhouse rather than an other venue in Oxford. Successful bids come from committed teams who want to put on larger scale performances that make the best use of Oxford's young talent.
All teams who apply will be invited to interview.
University Drama Officer:
(01865) 791 577
Before bidding for the Playhouse, contact the Drama Officer to talk about your idea: they can advise you on how to put together a bid, check that your choice of title doesn't clash with the Playhouse's forthcoming season, and will do their best to answer any questions you may have. Their office is just round the corner from the Playhouse in the Burton Taylor Studio.
Playhouse Drop-in Sessions
Once a term the Playhouse organise drop-in sessions hosted by the UDO and Oxford Playhouse Producer, Hannah Groombridge, where people hoping to apply can ask questions, see the space and meet other interested students. Contact the Drama Officer to find out when you can attend one of these.
A more detailed guide about putting a bid together can be found here. Please read this carefully - it has been put together by Playhouse staff who have been a part of many bidding rounds, and so will help you avoid common mistakes, as well as providing some helpful advice.
Please note that all personnel should be current members of Oxford University. If you cannot recruit or cast a role from within the student body, you must discuss this with the Playhouse and the Drama Officer as early as possible.
At bid stage, it is only necessary for companies to have a Producer, Director, Marketing Manager and Designer confirmed, although if you are planning to stage a musical it is also advised that you appoint a Musical Director before submitting an application. Ideally, you should also have a Production Manager at bid stage as well. If your application is successful the Playhouse will then outline a timetable for you to appoint other team members, with some personnel needing to be appointed in the week afterwards.
Before applying you should check the availability and cost of rights for the play you want to stage. If you would like some help with doing this, contact the Drama Officer.
Bid deadlines will be advertised on the Drama Officer's Newsletter, and interviews will follow soon afterwards. You should submit a copy of your bid to the Drama Officer on or before the bid deadline via email (in a change from previous practice, please do not submit hard copies).
In your application, we require:
We are looking for a clear directorial vision and passion for the project. Tell us what you plan to do, rather than analyse the text.
If you would like more information, the Drama Officer can send you a copy of the induction pack. She can also put you in touch with students who have been involved in recent successful shows, who may be useful to talk to.
Hire Fees to Michaelmas 2018:
Ticket prices for student shows are £8, £11, £15, £18. Wherever advertised all prices must include the £2 booking fee which is retained by Oxford Playhouse (i.e. £10 - £20). Student tickets are £11.50, including the £2 booking fee, and so should be listed as £9.50 in your ticket income calculations.
The budget is a key part of your application, and needs to be accurate and carefully researched. The expenditure should include theatre hire, staff costs, technical costs, marketing spend, rights costs (if any) and contingency. It is necessary to indicate only totals for marketing and technical spending; however, the accompanying statements in the application should show an awareness of the production's special requirements i.e. where the bulk of the expenditure will be going. Make sure you include an allowance for technical hires, materials ordered from suppliers and use of Playhouse stock items (e.g. gaffer tape).
Your team will be invited to interview at the Playhouse with the theatre's Producer, Programme Director, Technical Director and Marketing Manager, along with the University Drama Officer and the OUDS Senior Members, Ros Ballaster and John Watts.
The interview is designed to find out more about your ideas and explore the feasibility of getting the production on. We will ask the director about their vision, we will ask the designer to talk through their design, we will ask you about your proposed marketing and learning campaigns. We will ask you - why the Playhouse?
If you did not supply designs with the bid, please bring these to interview. Along with any other aides that may help us understand your project.
If you are successful
We will need you to have a name for the company presenting your show which will appear on the cheque/invoice you receive after the run (you will therefore need a bank account in this name - talk to the Drama Officer about setting one up).
The Playhouse will confirm the dates of the slots as soon as possible. The Playhouse is unable to guarantee particular weeks, and therefore any student applying must be able to fulfil their commitment to the play regardless of the slot awarded in term. As a general rule of thumb it is often best to prepare for the earliest possible slot (1st week) in order to avoid being taken by surprise.
After the performances, a settlement will be agreed between the Playhouse and the student company. The company's final accounts must be submitted before the final box office payment is made.
Burton Taylor Studio - notes for students
About the BT
The Burton Taylor Studio is run by Oxford Playhouse, and is available for use by University of Oxford students during the whole of each academic term. The University Drama Officer, based at the BT, assists in the programming of the student season and is available to give support and advice to all student shows including those taking place here. The Studio Manager, with the support of other OP staff, undertakes the actual running of the venue.
There are 14 slots available to student productions each term: an 'early' (7:30pm) and a 'late' (9:30pm) slot in weeks 2 – 8 of Full Term.
There is no distinction between the importance of either show - both perform once a night from Tuesday to Saturday and each has equal recourse to the venue's facilities. The two shows effectively run in rep, with a changeover in between. This fact is clearly of enormous importance to the staging of either production. One of the main consequences is that anearly show must last no more than 90 minutes. A late show is similarly restricted to no more than 60 minutes.
Occasionally we are able to allot a full evening to one project - a double slot - full length play plus interval. However applicants should consider: ticket price and capacity is kept the same, although the hire fee is more; a project has to have good justification in order to be offered a double slot – as it will usually mean turning down two single slots.
A full Technical Specification is available from the Studio Manager. Space, licensing and Health & Safety regulations restrict the number of people we can have in the building, meaning that we cannot accept applications for shows with casts of more than eight performers.
Ticket prices for student shows are fixed at £6 full-price and £5 discounts. Advance ticket sales are handled by The Oxford Playhouse Ticket Office. Door sales are from the Burton Taylor Box Office, which the Production Company must staff. The early slot company staff the box office from 7pm, the late slot company from 9pm.
Gross Box Office returns (less the venue cost) are forwarded direct to the student company or drama society bank account. The venue costs consist of a fixed venue hire, £225 for a single slot, £300 for a double slot and any other charges incurred by the production, such as inclusion in...
Inclusion in the Burton Taylor Brochure costs £24 for a single slot entry or £36 for a double slot entry (Inc VAT).
Most student shows now take between £600 and £900, i.e.: an average audience of 30-45 per show, with the bulk of the audience coming at the weekend. It is important to consider carefully your expected attendance and budget accordingly, remembering to include the venue hire as a production cost as it has to be covered even in the event of no sales whatsoever. Remember also that only productions backed solely by University or College drama societies are allowed.
You must collect enough funding to cover your budget; look for support from college or university drama societies. Remember that commercial sponsorship (money in return for logos on posters) is not permitted. ‘Sponsorship in kind’ however is permitted. Please inform the Studio Manager if you will be receiving sponsorship.
Application forms and full accompanying notes are available from fourth week of each term for applications to put on a production in the following term. These can be obtained from the studio or through the contacts given below.
Applications must be submitted by the Monday of sixth week, and at that point companies will be able to sign up for an interview later in the same week.
If you want to discuss your ideas or need help or advice, please contact either:
The University Drama Officer, Alexander Newton, at the BT on 01865 791577 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Or the Studio Manager, Robert Bristow, at the BT on 01865 305350 or email@example.com