With the festive season fast approaching, Oxfordshire’s theatres have come up with some amazingly creative ideas to keep us entertained, while we all cross all our fingers and toes that Christmas programmes will go ahead as planned in December.
The North Wall‘s co-director John Hoggarth said: “Our Christmas programme includes performances by Nick Cope and Jericho Comedy, and an exhibition by the brilliant Korky Paul featuring his Winnie and Wilbur characters, so we are hopeful that the lockdown lifts in December and we can go ahead as planned.
“We’ve got some fantastic digital content planned for the next few weeks and more is being released all the time so keep an eye on The North Wall website.” https://www.thenorthwall.com
Creation Theatre, which usually performs its Christmas show at The North Wall, will instead be launching its festive masterpiece The Wonderful Wizard of Oz virtually 0n December 19 – Jan 3. https://www.creationtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/wizard-of-oz/
John Terry, Director of The Theatre Chipping Norton told us about the innovative Chippy Theatre Stars online advent calendar of clips available to view every day from December 1-24 via the theatre’s social media platforms.
This calendar is free to view, but the theatre is asking everyone to enjoy, share and donate to help raise £12,000. More information and to donate is here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/chippytheatre
Audiences can daily treats from comedy with Jack Dee, to a wreath making workshop, appearances from Sir Ben Kingsley, Prue Leith and RIDE’s drummer Loz, as well as story time with Graeme Garden and even a yoga workshop to guarantee a blissed-out Christmas.
A Christmas Carol starring David Bradley is also set to run from December 3-24, adapted by Simon Callow from the novel by Charles Dickens, proving that even Scrooge can’t cancel Christmas. https://www.chippingnortontheatre.com/whats-on/a-christmas-carol
At Oxford Playhouse the socially distanced live events that were due to take place on have been rescheduled for next year, including The Dragprov Revue, Under The Mask, and Michael Spicer.
However, from December 3-5, Daniel Jamieson’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk by Kneehigh will be live streamed from Bristol’s Old Vic to Playhouse audience and directed by Emma Rice.
Or join Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas as he awakes from a dream of sun, sea and sand only to find it is the busiest day of the year, for up to six year-olds, live streamed from the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith.
Or enjoy Sammy and The Beanstalk as Olivier award-winning OperaUpclose presents a fun, spooky and contemporary Christmas story, told from the perspective of 8-year-old Sammy. It’s a story of bravery and kindness, which also tackles the isolation we’ve all experienced over the past few months, aimed at children aged 7+. https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/whats-on/
The Oxford Playhouse expects to open fully next spring.
At the Old Fire Station, the planned live winter festival Off-Piste has gone online.
It stars award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett‘s An Intervention starring comedy duo Ellen Robertson and Charly Clive from December 12.
Comedians Josie Long and Jonny Donahoe tell a different side of the parenthood story. In Tender (Sat 19 Dec), Josie adjusts to motherhood and tries to help us feel optimistic about the future. In Forgiveness on Fri 18 Dec, Jonny looks at the cycles of abuse that form who we are.
Amantha Edmead then returns with her award-winning hit show SOLD (Tues 8 Dec), which tells the story of Mary Prince, a woman born into enslavement who fought her way to freedom and became a beacon for the abolitionist movement.
Nathan & Ida, Flintlock Theatre and Watson & Malone are rescheduled to next year, dates to be confirmed. https://oldfirestation.org.uk/whats-on/
The Cornerstone in Didcot was planning to present a new musical version of A Christmas Carol which has now been turned into a podcast just in time for Christmas! So join them a carol service with a difference as a haunted choir tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. The Podcast will be released on 19th December on The Goblin Podcast https://goblintheatre.co.uk/podcast
Pegasus Theatre is spreading some festive cheer this winter by presenting the award-winning Filskit Theatre’s special online Christmas treat for 4 – 8 year olds.
Margot’s Magical Winter Wonder Party is a one-woman performance inspired by the extraordinary events of 2020. Pegasus is offering the pre-recorded digital show for free to schools, charities and community groups over the festive season.
Using physical comedy, original music, magical lights and puppetry, this special performance will shake off the frustrations of 2020 so we can celebrate from the safety of our screens.”
The show is also available for families to buy and watch at home by purchasing a “pay it forward” ticket to help them spread as much festive cheer to as many children as possible.
Margot’s Magical Winter Wonder Party is available for the general public to view from 19 – 21 December. http://www.pegasustheatre.org.uk
The Story Museum has also come up with the goods with their first festive offering in their new theatre ‘The Woodshed’ – a brilliant, with a real life audience from 18 December to 3 January in socially distanced household groups.
The original family production ‘Suddenly A Star’, blends traditional stories and original songs.
Written, performed and produced by award-winning writer Renata Allen and songwriter and musician David Gibb the show revolves around an adult son who has unexpectedly had to move back in with his mother. To cope with their new situation, they begin to share traditional Christmas tales – featuring donkeys, wishes, cunning mice and clever grandparents. Weaving together a constellation of stories old and new, the show uses music and song, from rock to disco, to explore how a star can suddenly appear when it’s least expected. With gentle humour and a big dollop of family squabbles (it is Christmas, after all), the performance will captivate the young and young at heart. Book at http://www.storymuseum.org.uk or 01865 807600.
Oxfordshire based Wild Boor Ideas is moving it’s hugely popular Christmas show online!
From now until the end of February you can access Heidi and the Snow Globe, a wonderful, wintery theatrical adventure set in the Alps digitally, created in partnership with the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building.
Suitable for 3-7 year olds and their families, it helps children think about and manage anxiety in a heart, humour and puppet-filled show. Featuring the Abominable Snowman, three grumpy goats, a hungry wolf, an athletic ibex, an artctic ptarmigan and a whistling marmot. http:// www.wildboorshows.com