Ralph Fiennes, Juliet Stevenson, Anton Lesser, David Jason, Rambert, Russell Howard, Adam Buxton and Michael Spicer are just some of the huge names coming to Oxford to help celebrate the re-opening of Oxford Playhouse as part of Together Again – a stunning programme of live theatre to keep us all entertained.

Here are our top tips on which shows to book now:

  1. Blindness, (Friday 28 May – Saturday 5 June) starring famous actress Juliet Stevenson. Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens has adapted Nobel Prize-winner José Saramago’s dystopian novel as a sound installation, with immersive binaural sound design, and audiences seated on stage. Juliet Stevenson voices the Storyteller/Doctor’s wife in this gripping story of the rise and, ultimately profoundly hopeful end, to an unimaginable global pandemic, as part of the Donmar Warehouse UK tour.

2) The hugely exciting Rhum & Clay’s The War of the Worlds, inspired by H.G. Wells’ sci-fi novel and Orson Welles’ classic radio play features from Tue 8 – Wed 9 Jun. This legendary science fiction thriller is playfully reimagined for our era of Fake News and ‘alternative facts’, in a world where the guy who used to be on The Apprentice is now President. Sound familiar? June 8-9.


3) Hollywood star Ralph Fiennes will also be performing on the OP stage for the first time, with the world premiere production of T.S.Eliot’s Four Quartets, also directed by Fiennes.  Four Quartets offers an interwoven look at the nature of time, faith, and the quest for spiritual enlightenment. Mostly written during WWII when the closure of playhouses in the Blitz interrupted Eliot’s work in theatre, the Four Quartets is therefore terribly apt. June 14-26.

Ralph Fiennes in Four Quartets ©MattHumphrey

4) David Jason, Stephanie Cole and Anton Lesser star in a rehearsed play reading of A Cold Supper Behind Harrods by David Morley, which will be live streamed from the OP main stage to audiences at home on 11 June. Brought to you by the Original Theatre Company three Special Operations Executive agents meet to record interviews for a television documentary 50 years after the end of WW2 as a web of self-deception, lies and guilt begins to emerge. The production also includes a Q&A with the cast and creative team. Friday June 11.

Seated on individual chairs, lit by their own lighting, listening through headphones, the audience are placed at the heart of this 360-degree binaural experience 

5) Written by junior doctor Shaan SahotaUnder the Mask is the story of just one of the final year medical students who worked on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic. Co-produced by Oxford Playhouse and Tamasha, the audience will be seated on individual chairs, lit by their own lighting and listening through headphones to this fully immersive performance, at the heart of this 360-degree binaural experience. July 12-15.

What’s on at Oxford Playhouse this summer

6) Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story comes dramatically alive in Stephen Mallatratt’s ingenious stage adaptation of The Woman in Black. This gripping thriller is a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror and has a special place in the history of Oxford Playhouse. July 19-24.

7) Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void is a stunning production. Expect edge of the seat drama, a life-affirming story and a darkly funny adaption from David Greig. Part of a global live broadcast from Bristol Old Vic, in partnership with Fiery Angel, the audience is taken on an epic adventure that asks how far you’d be willing to go to survive. May 26-29.

8) There’s a top line up of comedy during the season with live performances from Russell Howard (July 16-18), Adam Buxton (sold out) and Michael Spicer (July 3).  All three have been rescheduled from previous dates which were unable to go head last year, with Michael Spicer: The Room Next Door also live streamed to audiences at home.

Russell Howard

9) Book The Secret Garden Experience for summer half-term for a magical theatrical family experience. Award-winning storyteller Danyah Miller leads a superb creative team to bring Frances Hodgson Burnett’s timeless classic to life in a unique interactive blend of audio, physical and digital experiences, all from home! Book until Monday May 31.

10) Outrageous live science show Brainiac brings exploding dustbins, combusting microwaves, live daredevils stunts and all the experiments you’re not allowed to do at home. The fearless Brainiacs take audiences aged 6+ on a breathless ride through the wild world of the weird and wonderful and the spectacular mysteries of science! July 26-27 and online July 27.

Oxford Playhouse Foyer CREDIT Geraint Lewis

11) The popular Musical Youth Company of Oxford (MYCO) returns with a fantastic celebration of musical theatre songs in You Can’t stop the Beat including highlights of Chess (MYCO’s programmed show for 2020) and other musical theatre gems, including numbers from Hairspray, Sunday in The Park with George, Six the Musical and Carousel. July 8-10 or online 11-13 July.

12) Dance lovers can enjoy Rambert’s Summer Livestream with hot up-and-coming new choreographers siblings Marne van Opstal and Imre van Opstal unleashing their fresh creative force on its dancers, in the second instalment from Rambert’s Home Studio

In the second piece, Rouge, pop’s coolest choreographer Marion Motin brings her quirky hip hop vibe to Rambert’s daring dancers. Known for her choreography for Dua Lipa and Christine and the Queens, Marion Motin is back in the studio remaking Rouge with a new cinematographic twist. July 15-17.

Comedian Michael Spicer is back having rescheduled his show

13) Climate change is massive, so absorb and enjoy Me and My Bee‘s charming, imaginative, and eccentric family show about bees and how humans can make a difference in saving the world. A combination of storytelling, clowning, original live music, movement, and simple audience interaction, the show asks audiences to play their part in supporting our planet’s ecosystem – one bee at a time! Performed in the Oxford Playhouse ‘Pop-up Tent’ from 28 Jun – 31 July.

14) Oxfordshire’s innovative and inspiring new work festival OffBeat is back, in partnership with Arts at The Old Fire Station with a full line up outdoors in Gloucester Green, online and on demand plus a few special indoor/socially distanced shows across at the Burton Taylor Studio and Arts at the Old Fire Station. June 22-27

Akasha Daley as Antigone in Mandala Young Company’s production at Offbeat Festival. Photo by Stu Allsopp.

15) Whatever your age get involved in the full programme of events. As well as regular Youth Theatre opportunities there will be auditions to join the Young Company for this year’s pantomime Robin HoodTea Talks, a telephone befriending project for older residents; workshops and drama sessions as well as a showcase of monologues created and recorded by young people earlier this year, Monologue Jam.

PLUSDON’T MISS – newcomers – the Aakash Odedra Company‘s contemporary dance Rising featuring kathak and bharatanatyam solos choreographed by Russell Maliphant, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan and Aakash.

Or the eight gripping audio episodes, with original music by Arun Ghosh, posted to audiences at home in a beautifully crafted Secret Box, the handcrafted packages created by theatre designer Kate Bunce.

Six The Musical is back. Don’t miss it. August 26-Sept 5

For full details go to