5 Fun Facts About The Oxford Shakespeare Festival & Its Plays

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5 Facts You Did Not Know About The Oxford Shakespeare Festival

5 Fun Facts About The Oxford Shakespeare Festival & Its Plays

The Oxford Shakespeare Festival is a yearly event that takes place in the city of Oxford. This time, it will happen in the yard of Oxford Castle & Prison. There are usually three plays from Shakespeare’s finest classics performed by local theatre companies, making this outdoor theatre experience rather unique. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the Oxford Shakespeare Festival, what performances you can see this year, how to get tickets, and some fun facts you might not know about this event.

Oxford Shakespeare Festival 2022: When, Where, How to Attend

The festival will run, as it is usual, from June to August. This year, the plays being performed at the Oxford Shakespeare Festival and their dates are as follows (keep in mind these performances don’t run on Sundays!):

  • HAMLET (performed by BMH Productions): 20th June – 2nd July. Love, death, and amdness.
  • A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Performed by Wild Goose Theatre): 4th July – 30th July. A great comedy and farce with music and dance.
  • KING LEAR (Performed by Siege Theatre): 1st August – 13th August. The downfall of a king and the destruction of a dynasty.

Tickets are £17 (with concessions for children, over 60s, and students with a valid ID) and you can buy them from the Oxford Castle & Prison website

What is the Oxford Shakespeare Festival?

The Oxford Shakespeare Festival has been going on for 12 years. In each of them, different companies and producers have put together performances of Shakespeare’s finest classics. This year, the event will be held in Oxford Castle’s yard, a beautiful outside area. There will be three popular local theatre companies performing during eight weeks of a fantastic theatre experience. Plays usually start at 7:30 pm, so make sure you are in the Castle years around 7 pm so you can find a good seat (if you need to use the loo, there is a 30-minute interval in the middle of all performances).

Who Organises and Runs the Festival?

The Artistic Director and Founder of the Oxford Shakespeare Festival has been, for the last 7 years, Michael Speight. For the year 2022, the companies putting on some amazing performances of Shakespeare’s classics will be BMH Productions, Wild Goose Theatre (formerly known as Tomahawk Theatre), and Siege Theatre. 

Where Does the Oxford Shakespeare Festival Take Place?

The Oxford Shakespeare Festival can take place in different locations, but lately, it’s been held in the yard of Oxford Castle & Prison (right inside this magnificent historical place). 

The Oxford Shakespeare Festival in the yard of Oxford Castle.
The Oxford Shakespeare Festival takes place each year in the castle yard of Oxford Castle & Prison.

5 Facts About the Oxford Shakespeare Festival

The Oxford Shakespeare Festival is one of Oxford’s most attractive activities of the summer. The plays performed change each year, so no matter when you’re visiting you might always find a different classic. If you love Shakespeare and theatre, this is a perfect opportunity to combine one of the most beautiful cities in the world (Oxford) with enjoyable, fantastic plays performed by local companies.

Even if you frequent the Oxford Shakespeare Festival regularly, there are some things you might not know. Here are some fun facts about this event. 

5. Plays should finish at 10pm but usually overrun

Plays performed at the Oxford Shakespeare Festival are supposed to finish at 10pm each day (there are no plays on Sunday). However, it’s common for many of them to end later – with people staying around enjoying the atmosphere of the castle. 

4. You can bring your own food and (most) drinks

Many people don’t know that you can bring your own food and drinks to the Oxford Shakespeare Festival! However, there are some restrictions. For example, you’re not allowed to bring alcohol or anything stored in glass. If you’re found to have them, they will be confiscated (you can get them at the end of the performance, but why risk it?). If you want to consume alcohol during the festival, you can buy it from the Castle’s gift shop. They even have mead!

3. You can buy tickets for the festival at the door

You can buy tickets at the door, directly on the day of the festival. However, the number of tickets sold in this manner is limited and will be provided (for a fee) on a first-come-first-served basis. So it’s better to buy your tickets in advance if you can, so you can be guaranteed a seat. 

2. You can't bring your own chair - but should be able to find one easily!

The Oxford Shakespeare Festival has a limited capacity of 180 seats. These are not reserved but are there to be used (if you buy a ticket, you get a seat), so you won’t need to worry about standing up. Because you can sit on these provided chairs, you won’t be allowed to bring your own to the festival. 

1. Only a downpour will stop the Oxford Shakespeare Festival

The Oxford Shakespeare Festival does not get cancelled if it rains – unless it downpours. If this happens, you will be issued a refund. Make sure to check the weather beforehand so you can prepare appropriately – and, just in case, consider bringing a coat, umbrella or blanket if you want to stay cosy!

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