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Oxford Playhouse

oxford playhouse, oxford playhouse theatre
Oxford Playhouse often just known as the Playhouse by locals is an independent theatre designed by Sir Edward Maufe It is situated in Beaumont Street, Oxford, opposite the Ashmolean Museum


  • 1 History
  • 2 Present
    • 21 Burton Taylor Studio
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 Sources
  • 6 External links


The Playhouse was founded as The Red Barn at 12 Woodstock Road, North Oxford, in 1923 by J B Fagan1 The early history of the theatre is documented by the theatre director, Norman Marshall in his 1947 book, The Other Theatre2 Don Chapman has also provided a comprehensive study of the theatre in his 2008 book, Oxford Playhouse: High and Low Drama in a University City3

The current theatre building on the south side of Beaumont Street was designed by Sir Edward Maufe and was completed in 19384 It is faced with stone, in keeping with other early 19th century Regency buildings in the street

Well-known actors who have appeared on the stage at the Playhouse include Rowan Atkinson, Ronnie Barker, Dirk Bogarde, Judi Dench, John Gielgud, Ian McKellen, Dudley Moore, Bill Hicks and Maggie Smith Susannah York gave her final performance at The Playhouse in August 2010 in Ronald Harwood's Quartet

The Oxford Playhouse was the crucible from which Prospect Theatre Company was created by Manager Elizabeth Sweeting and Resident Stage Manager Iain Mackintosh in 1961 Prospect Theatre Company became the third major UK theatre company after the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company, and between 1963 and 1976 Prospect toured 75 productions to 125 theatres in 21 countries

The Greek theatre director Minos Volanakis was an associate director at the theatre; his productions included Jean Genet's The Maids 1963–4 and The Balcony 1967, and Jean Giraudoux's Madwoman of Chaillot5


A charitable trust owns and runs the Playhouse, through a professional management and direction team, as a theatre for the local community It was closed for a number of years due to lack of funding, but is now refurbished and thriving

Burton Taylor Studioedit

The entrance to the Burton Taylor

Oxford Playhouse has close relations with Oxford University and is the home stage of the Oxford University Dramatic Society The Playhouse also manages on behalf of the university the nearby Burton Taylor Studio, named in honour of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor "The BT" is a 50-seat studio theatre on Gloucester Street, close to the Oxford Playhouse It originated in 1966, when Richard Burton donated money towards the creation of a rehearsal space, also occasionally used for performance, named the Burton Rooms A couple of decades later, students from the Oxford University Dramatic Society OUDS established the current tradition of the venue as a home for regular student productions6 The Burton Taylor Studio programs a mix of student and professional productions throughout the year6

See alsoedit

  • New Theatre Oxford
  • Old Fire Station Theatre


  1. ^ "Oxford Playhouse" Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Scheme Retrieved April 3, 2011 
  2. ^ Marshall, Norman 1947 The Other Theatre London: J Lehmann  External link in |publisher= help
  3. ^ Chapman, Don 2008 Oxford Playhouse: High and Low Drama in a University City Society for Theatre Research, University of Hertfordshire Press ISBN 978-1-902806-86-0 
  4. ^ Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus 1974 The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire Penguin Books p 324 ISBN 0-14-071045-0 
  5. ^ Chapman 2008, pages 184, 186, 196–197 and The New York Times obituary for Volanakis
  6. ^ a b "Oxford Playhouse: Burton Taylor Studio" Oxford Playhouse Retrieved February 5, 2015 full citation needed


  • Anonymous 1999 Obituary in The New York Times, November 20, 1999
  • Chapman, Don 2008 Oxford Playhouse: High and Low Drama in a University City Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press ISBN 1-902806-87-5
  • Marshall, Norman 1947 The Other Theatre London: John Lehmann
  • Parkinson, David 2003 Oxford at the Movies PInk Books

External linksedit

  • Oxford Playhouse website

Coordinates: 51°45′17″N 1°15′39″W / 5175472°N 126083°W / 5175472; -126083

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Oxford Playhouse

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