The pit lift - a piece of critical infrastructure – never seen, yet essential to the operation of the theatre.
A simple mechanism to change our auditorium set-up from four front rows of seating to a pit for a fifteen piece orchestra, or a stage extension of 2 metres, the pit lift is absolutely crucial to the diverse range of performance that we present.
However, after 55 years it must be replaced.
We urgently need to raise £220,000 to do this.
Installed at Oxford Playhouse in 1968, raised and lowered 3000 times over the last 65 years, travelling a distance of 4 kilometres, and most notably being the mechanism which raised the stage for Elizabeth Taylor in 1971 – it’s no surprise that with the forces imposed on the ageing machinery, our pit lift now urgently needs replacing.
The lift provides a simple mechanism to change our auditorium set-up from four front rows of seating to a pit for a fifteen-piece orchestra, or a stage extension of 2 metres. It creates the scope for musicals, opera and pantomime, or for a larger stage to accommodate productions with an expansive set, or for ballet. It is invaluable and absolutely essential to running our theatre with the diverse range of performance we present – the Playhouse stage and our theatre simply could not fully function without it.
There is no cheap fix, and we urgently need to find £220,000 to install a new, more efficient and safe mechanism, and to offset the cost of shutting the Playhouse for two weeks whilst the work is being carried out.
Replacing the pit lift is essential to the continued operation of the theatre, and your support will allow us to continue bringing world-class theatre to our stage and continue our work within the community.