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The theatre entrance on Beaumont Street, Oxford

The Oxford Playhouse (often just known as the Playhouse by locals) is an independent theatre in Beaumont Street, Oxford, opposite the Ashmolean Museum, which was founded as The Red Barn in 1923 by J.B.Fagan. The early history of the theatre is documented by the theatre director, Norman Marshall in his 1947 book, The Other Theatre. Don Chapman has also provided a comprehensive study of the theatre in his 2008 book, Oxford Playhouse: High and Low Drama in a University City (published by the Society for Theatre Research).

Today 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.

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 Theatre, named in honour of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, a 50-seater studio theatre used for student productions and for rehearsals.

Other 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 and Maggie Smith.

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 Chaillot.[1]



  1. ^ Chapman (2008, 184, 186, 196-197) and The New York Time's obituary for Volanakis.


  • Amonymous. 1999. Obituary in The New York Times, November 20, 1999. Available online.
  • Chapman, Don. 2008. Oxford Playhouse: High and Low Drama in a University City. Hatfield: U of Hertfordshire P. ISBN 1902806875.
  • Marshall, Norman. 1947. The Other Theatre. London: John Lehmann.
  • Parkinson, David. 2003. Oxford at the Movies. P.Ink Books.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 51°45′17″N 1°15′39″W / 51.75472°N 1.26083°W / 51.75472; -1.26083



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