What does Oxford Playhouse mean to you?
We are collecting the stories that make Oxford Playhouse special to our audience -- the shows seen with your families and friends, your first memory of coming to our theatre, a project you may have been in, a favourite character – whatever pops into your mind when you think of the Playhouse!
Here are a few memories sent to us recently:
Richard Gladstone - Oxford Playhouse Friend & Volunteer
"For many years I have been a keen supporter of The Playhouse ( OP ). I have given a regular donation each year and done voluntary work in the Administration office.
My first ever visit in the early 1970s was when I worked for British Rail and we helped with some props for the set of a production of ‘ The Signalman’s Apprentice ‘. Since then I have enjoyed many good productions over the years. Among the most memorable of these are ‘ Journey’s End ‘, ‘ Blackbird ‘, ‘ Kindertransport ‘, ‘ Things I Know To Be True ‘, ‘ One Small Step ‘, ‘ User Not Found ‘, ‘Brief Encounter ‘ and Idle Motion’s ‘ That Is All You Need to Know ‘.
One particularly memorable day recently was when I was taken out to lunch on the occasion of my 80th birthday. I and ten other close colleagues had a convivial lunch after which we adjourned back to OP for coffee in the small meeting room. While there the Director announced, to my astonishment, that it had been decided to name the room ‘ The Richard Gladstone Room ‘ and a sign on the door was ceremonially unveiled. This was to recognize my long service as a donor and volunteer. I was humbled and felt greatly honoured.
Regarding the above mentioned honour I would like to mention here that OP is fortunate that it has many other loyal and enthusiastic volunteers working Front of House. Some of these have been there for many years and I know they are greatly valued.
Over the many years of my time at OP it has become like a second family for me. The regular staff who I have worked with have all been very kind and supportive. Several of these have become close friends.
I can honestly say that my involvement with this wonderful centre of the arts has been very rewarding".
The Revd Anderson
"In December 1967, I, then an undergraduate at Magdalen College, took the girlfriend that I had just met, herself an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, to a performance at the Playhouse. It was a memorable occasion. I forget the play, but remember my lovely companion!
We have just celebrated our Golden Wedding. We have now retired to Oxford, and resumed our regular attendances at the Playhouse.
What a special place it has meant, and continues to mean, to us!"
"The Oxford Playhouse was the first theatre I ever went to. I grew up in Oxford and my father had a shop on Little Clarendon Street. He was happy to put Playhouse posters up on his shop door to advertise the productions and in return, the theatre gave him a little white card that said: This card entitles the holder to two free tickets to every Oxford Playhouse production on a Monday or Tuesday.
My father wasn't a theatre-goer and he gave the card to me. I was 13 at the time. So I started going regularly to the Playhouse to see all kinds of theatre - Chekhov, Lorca, Arthur Miller, student Shakespeare, modern dance, Jacobean tragedy, Brecht, Alan Ayckbourn, etc, etc. I saw plays I would never have seen if I had been paying every time. I have since been to many different theatres but the Oxford Playhouse will always be a special place and I am grateful for the little white card that opened my eyes to a whole new world! My father isn't alive any more but I still remember reading those Playhouse posters on his shop door and deciding which plays I wanted to see. And I still love going to the theatre."
"I first came to the theatre to watch the pantomime Cinderella, when I was 5 years old. More recently I watched Peter Pan in Scarlet which was brilliant! In November 2019 I watched SIX. All the queens were absolutely amazing!!! Following that I was thrilled to be on the stage in the Young Company for Beauty and the Beast and had the best time ever! I met some of the loveliest people. I’m really hoping your beautiful theatre can open again soon and I’m so looking forward to the Robin Hood Panto this Christmas...oh yes I am!"
"From seeing Sir Derek Jacobi at the Playhouse in 2000 in a brilliant production of God Only Knows fast forwarding to 2017 -2019 with unforgettable Burton Taylor Christmas plays enjoyed with our granddaughters via amazing touring Kneehigh Theatre productions and so many others the Oxford Playhouse has been our local and much treasured theatre."
Over the past year, we have received so many heart-warming memories, messages of support and stories about what Oxford Playhouse means to our audience. It has reminded us that what makes the Playhouse so special is, of course, you!