Richard Marsh - This Tatty Old Heart

Oxford’s answer to Edinburgh Fringe is back, with six days, 50 acts and an incredible line up of new talent, shows, comedy, dance, installation, film, burlesque and family shows from 22 to 27 June.

Cancelled last year for obvious reasons, the festival hosted by Oxford Playhouse and Arts at the Old Fire Station is back in the room…. and outside… and on Zoom…. with a stunning collective of entertainment that you won’t want to miss.

To give you a taste of what’s in store for us all, Ox In A Box took part in an epic Zoom speed interviewing session to tip you off about the best acts to see:

  1. Powersuit Collective’s Numbers (For Girls) – an installation at OFS set up as a woman’s bedroom. Jessie Coller and Hattie Thomas reflect what it’s really like to be a woman using stats, facts and figures that ‘reflect’ the female experience. 14+ Book slots from June 23-26, 1pm-5pm. SELLING OUT FAST
Powersuit Collective – Numbers (For Girls)

2) Urja Thakore’s Pagrav Dance – Kattam Katti – a dance film about the world-famous Uttarayan festival in North India where millions of people fly kites together to mark the transition from winter into spring. Interpreted through dance, the narrative concentrates on the social hierarchy and cut throat ambition used to win. Free throughout the whole festival but book online.

Kattam Katti

3) Somebody Jones – Black Women Dating White Men is an on demand event, which was a stage show, but thanks to Covid is now a series of interviews conducted over Zoom with (yes you’ve guessed it) black women who date white men. The result is a fascinating insight into relationships seen through a domestic, political and often humorous lens. Runs throughout the festival. Book here:

4) The Gramophones – Aidy The Awesome – an on demand aerial theatre and circus show aimed at children and their families, beamed live from Nottingham and featuring Aidy who discovers that she and her grandmother both have superpowers. Digitally streamed. Twice a day throughout the festival for 3-10 year-old’s

5) Jason Mabana – Ina Ama – this new piece of choreography from the Rambert trained Filipino/Belgian dancer living in London reflects his heritage and offers us a chance to see Filipino dance brought into the modern world. Filmed and produced during the pandemic it is based on reports that 20% of the NHS Staff that died during Covid 19 were Filipino. Watch on demand throughout the festival at

Jason Mabana Dance – Ina Ama

6) WhatNot Theatre’s Flotsam and Jetsam‘s Voyage To The Great Pacific Trash Vortex. An interactive live family show is set in the beautiful surroundings of Oxford’s Wellington Square, off Little Clarendon Street. Emma and Lucy’s pirate romp involves giant squids, fish, turtles, seafaring tales and their ship The Polymer Poseidon with an underlying narrative about plastic and what it’s doing to the planet. Age 4+. Three 30-minute shows: 11am, 12.30pm, and 2pm on Sunday June 27.

WhatNot Theatre

7) Anuradha Chaturvedi and Drishti Dance – Color Me Rainbow is a collage of Kathak (Northern Indian dance) works exploring the connection between colour, human consciousness and nature at the OFS Studio where it will also be live-streamed. The four dance pieces were created on Zoom over the pandemic and will now be performed to a live audience on Saturday June 26 through a combination of movement music and poetry. Age 6+

Drishti Dance – Anuradha Chaturvedi

8) Richard Marsh – This Tatty Old Heart is a one man show directed by award winning Jon Brittain about a dad trying to keep himself and his son afloat in a sea of parental chaos, owing to an absent mother. It’s a romantic comedy with lots of swearing so 12+ but bearing in mind Richard has won numerous slam poetry competitions and is a Fringe First winner and you can imagine how truthful, funny, emotional and engaging his new show is. It will be screened live on Tuesday, June 22 from 8pm-9.15pm. Book here

Richard Marsh – This Tatty Old Heart

9) TARTMASTER: THE CABARET GAMESHOW – Ginger Tart is well known on the national burlesque circuit as well as running OxPHWOARd, but the pandemic put a kibosh on any live performing until now! Luckily, in the meantime, Ginger has been busy compiling a new gameshow for Offbeat which is about to be unleashed on us all. Complete with Frisky Whispers, Iron Mandy and Bolly Bitdolly, the live OFS audience and viewers at home will be pitted against each other. It is a game show after all! Think Taskmaster in drag, a large dollop of nonsense and some camp smut and you’re getting close. 16+ Book here for live and virtual tickets. SELLING OUT FAST

Tartmaster – Photo by Fyrefly Studios – Anna Sturrock

10) AN OPEN COMMUNITY READING BY THE MARSTON PLAYERS OF 1978’S THE BUTTERWORTHS ARE COMING TO SUPPER ORIGINALLY STARRING TV’S PATRICIA ROUTLEDGE – Yes it is a mouthful, but again this facial new show from Nova Theatre is a high energy caper, thriller and comedy all rolled into one. Panning out live on Zoom, the Oxford theatre company tells us to expect a high energy, playful, funny play with lots of twists and turns compiled during lockdown as a last hurrah to the pandemic. Friday June 25 with slots running from 5pm-9pm.

11) Rafaella Marcus and Jessica Lazar’s The Gift was originally an audio play that has since been adapted to be performed live at the BT Studio now that lockdown has eased. Set in Oxford, while this is certainly pandemic related, it’s also a story about magic, loss, fairies and personal growth from the local duo who met on Twitter. Saturday June 26. Book here:

Other acts include Tempus Fugit a fast-paced comedy from award winning Nathan & IdaBlood Oil a story about the insanities of war from Mandala Theatre; and Wherein a tale of life’s magical micro events from Tangled Webb, A spin-the-wheel-of-fate gameshow, This is not Therapy, where no two shows that are the same and prizes are guaranteed, power dance group The Queens performing live and simultaneously live-streamed from Leiden Square in the Westgate Centre and Game Over, a cutting-edge VR musical is at once heartwarming and heart-racing

Tickets for Oxford Playhouse and Burton Taylor Studio shows are available from the Oxford Playhouse Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or online at

Tickets for all Old Fire Station shows are available from the Old Fire Station Ticket Office on 01865 263990 or online at

Offbeat 2021 is made possible with support from Arts Council England and Oxford City Council.