News Story

Celebrating seventy years of performing at Oxford Playhouse, Oxford Theatre Guild presents Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Oxford Playhouse is delighted to announce the return of Oxford Theatre Guild as they celebrate seventy years of performing on its stage. Marking the significant anniversary, the Oxford-based theatre company will present their first ever staging of Oscar Wilde’s iconic play, The Importance of Being Earnest, from Tuesday 16 April to Saturday 20 April.

The Importance of Being Earnest was an immediate success when it was first produced almost 140 years ago. It has remained one of the most well-known and best-loved of British comedies ever since. Mounting a production of it is almost a rite of passage for any self-respecting amateur or professional company. It is surprising that in all its 7-decade-long history, Oxford Theatre Guild has never put on this famous play.

Featuring some of Wilde’s best loved characters, including Lady Bracknell, Miss Prism, Jack Worthing and Gwendolen Fairfax,Oxford Theatre Guild sets the action in the 1920s, with the young determined to lead lives of greater freedom and frivolity.

Setting this play in the 1920s, OTG hopes to add a tone that is lighter and more stylish than the original late Victorian setting, while emphasising that the play’s themes are relevant to all ages.

Encapsulating the era, Set and Lighting Designers Jacqui Lewis and David Long have created a stylish art deco pastiche using potter Clarice Cliff and Charles Rennie Macintosh style furniture as inspiration.

Chair of Oxford Theatre Guild Tim Eyres directs his first show for The Playhouse stage withThe Importance of Being Earnest. Of the production, he said:

“There are good reasons for the enduring popularity of Oscar Wilde’s most well-known play. It is a tightly structured piece, peppered throughout with dozens of witticisms and many memorable characters, not least the fearsome mother Lady Bracknell and the iconic handbag, the young ingenue Cecily, the tearaway young man Algernon, and the loyal butler Lane.”

OTG is the foremost non-professional company in Oxford and has a long and proud history of productions at Oxford Playhouse. Run by volunteers from all walks of life with a love of theatre in common, this production ofOscar Wilde’s is their seventieth production at The Playhouse, making OTG the longest-standing group to perform on Oxford’s best loved stage. This production follows a successful run last year of Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale.