News Story

Oxford Playhouse is delighted to announce a new Creative Partnership with Headlong, ahead of the theatre company’s relocation to Oxford this autumn. The Playhouse will continue to present Headlong’s work on its main stage whilst also becoming its ‘home ground’ and partnering on early career development for theatre directors from across the UK under the Origins programme.

The critically acclaimed theatre company, Headlong, create innovative and exhilarating productions and have been challenging audiences with bold new work since 1974. With a long history between the two organisations, from Headlong’s beginnings as Oxford Stage Company fifty years ago, Oxford Playhouse is thrilled to strengthen this relationship, welcoming them back to the city in which they began.

With The Playhouse stage becoming Headlong’s home ground, it will provide a base for the touring theatre company to experiment with new pioneering work and connect with audiences in the city. This new relationship will officially be celebrated when Headlong’s new production, A Raisin in the Sun, visits the Oxford stage in October.

Lorraine Hansberry’s work broke barriers as the first play by a Black woman on Broadway, with Tinuke Craig (Jitney, The Color Purple) directing this new staging. Opening on Wednesday 2 October, it marks a start to the new Oxford Playhouse and Headlong partnership.

Alongside presenting world-class work together, this move will also provide a chance for both organisations to develop new audiences and generate opportunities for creatives in Oxfordshire.

Mike Tweddle, Artistic Director & CEO of Oxford Playhouse said:

“There are certain buzzwords that we're guilty of overusing in theatre - innovative, exciting, bold, thought-provoking, breathtaking - but Headlong shows truly embody these. We're thrilled to be partnering with Headlong to present such work in Oxford.”

Headlong's A Raisin in the Sun opens at Oxford Playhouse this Autumn

Credit: Studio Doug

Katy Snelling, Director of Programming and Creative Partnerships at Oxford Playhouse added:

“As Headlong connects to their roots in the city, we are so pleased to forge this new relationship with them. The new partnership provides exciting opportunities to collaborate on some ambitious community engagement and talent development programmes - generating valuable new opportunities for Oxfordshire residents. A warm welcome back to Oxford, Headlong!”

Lisa Maguire, Executive Director of Headlong said:

This is truly an exciting moment in the ever evolving and future facing mission of Headlong. Our new base in Oxford presents us with the opportunity to partner with our old friends at Oxford Playhouse. We hope to develop our audiences in the city so that performances in Oxford feel like playing in front of a home crowd ahead of touring across the nation, and beyond.”

A scene from Headlong’s ENRON

Credit: Manuel Harlan

Now celebrating fifty years, Headlong has been instrumental in shaping the UK’s theatrical landscape, with productions such as Enron, Best of Enemies, People Places and Things, 1984 and Jitney.

With additional associate partnerships with Leeds Playhouse, Octagon Theatre and Oxford University’s Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, this new model for Headlong, an outcome of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio transfer programme, will deepen their relationships with partners, artists and audiences throughout England.

Holly Race Roughan, Artistic Director of Headlong commented:

“This moment sees Headlong continuing its mission to tour high quality main stage drama nationally. I'm excited to be forging such strong national partnerships in our 50th year.”