News Story

University of Oxford students stage a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Oxford Playhouse

Oxford Playhouse is delighted to bring audiences a co-production of The Cherry Orchard with University of Oxford Student Company:An Exciting New. This new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s play, directed by Harry Brook and translated by Esmé Buzzard, will play on the Main Stage from Wednesday 24 to Saturday 27 January.

First performed in 1904, Chekhov’s last play The Cherry Orchard is a masterpiece of theatrical tragicomedy, examining a society on the brink of collapse, as the past and future collide.

The family’s estate is to be sold, and while various plans are suggested to save the house and the beloved cherry orchard, Lyubov Ranevskaya and her brother Gaev struggle to move on from the past and into action. This production, birthed from an original translation and adaptation, is set between 1904 and 2024, as the past and the present exist in simultaneous conflict.

The Cherry Orchard has a rich history with Oxford Playhouse. The first successful performance of the play in English was presented in 1925 at Oxford Playhouse, directed by James Bernard Fagan, a production that later transferred to London. The 1925 version was presented in collaboration with OUDS, connecting it closely to this production from University of Oxford students.

Director Harry Brook said:

“Bringing The Cherry Orchard back to Oxford Playhouse in the 99th year since it formed part of the theatre’s opening season is an honour. Just as Chekhov’s play was originally performed one year before the revolution, this new incarnation of The Cherry Orchard is firmly for the 21st century. Examining the relationship between past and present, and society’s relationship with its own past, Chekhov’s drama is just as relevant to audiences today as in 1904 and 1925. With foul mouths and period costumes, characters are torn between the past and the present. Some welcome change, whilst others refuse to move on, stagnant in their past.”