As befits a city that’s given the world Hugh Laurie, Melvyn Bragg and Richard Curtis, Oxford is big on theatres, with no fewer than five high-quality playhouses vying for your attention.
For light-hearted musicals and plays in Oxford, there’s only one place to be. In the city centre on George Street, the New Theatre is the main commercial theatre with a capacity of 1,800 seats. There’s family-friendly entertainment on show all year round. The concerts and comedy gigs are reason enough to visit, but it’s the musicals on offer that make the New Theatre top billing in Oxford. Upcoming shows include Hairspray, Les Musicals, Abba Mania and Dirty Dancing. And with the likes of Jamie’s Italian restaurant and the Wig and Pen pub next door, you’re perfectly placed to enjoy a meal or a pint before the show.
Billed as a young person’s theatre aimed at inspiring young actors, screenwriters and producers, The Pegasus Theatre has been putting on shows in the heart of Oxford for over 50 years. They moved into their new purpose-built 133-capacity theatre in 2010 and haven’t looked back, continuing to grow and expand with a well-honed programme aimed at young people, including toddlers and teenagers.
Housed in an old fire station – you probably worked that bit out on your own – this theatre is a charity-run space that puts on a wide range of art and culture spanning music, art and plenty of drama. With a busy calendar spanning talks, cabaret events, workshops, comedy and regular theatre shows and plays, the 130-capacity Old Fire Station is a great place to discover something a little different.
Dating back to 1664, the Sheldonian Theatre is a stunning Christopher Wren-designed space that can seat between 800-1,000 guests. Funded by the University of Oxford, it’s been used for music concerts, lectures and ceremonies during its long history, but found a new lease of life as a playhouse in 2015 when it staged a production of The Crucible. Their events are a little sporadic, so check in advance what’s on.
Proudly billing itself as the smallest theatre in town, the 50-capacity Burton Taylor Studio is an imaginative space that’s home to student-run productions, local artists and family-focused events aimed at toddlers – there’s even a kids’ play area for before and after the shows. Located a short walk from the Old Fire Station and the New Theatre Oxford, it’s just a couple of miles from our Oxford hotel.
There are plenty of reasons for visiting Oxford. Whether it's the world-famous university, Westgate shopping sprees, world-class museums, or the waistband-busting food scene, you can take your pick from four wonderful Oxford hotels with parking. Each one is an excellent base for exploring this most-fascinating of cities.
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