It’s a massive achievement for Oxford Playhouse to not only bring Shakespeare’s Globe to Oxford this summer, but to enable Julius Caesar to be staged outside, by creating a new auditorium in the Magdalen College School Gardens.
Part of Oxford Festival of the Arts, and running for a week from July 19 – 24, we spoke to the award-winning director, Diane Page, about this new production of Shakespeare’s brutal tale which has ‘a startling modern relevance’.
“my main aim is to make this play accessible to everyone because my job is to make the story as clear as possible”
“I think it’s really exciting to bring this play to Oxford. Anything that ensures it reaches a new and different audience is always a positive, but more than that my main aim is to make it accessible to everyone,” the 28 year old says.
Having just won this year’s prestigious JMK Award, this will be Diane’s Shakespearian directorial debut, and she can’t wait to show her adaption off to as many people as possible. “My job is to ask questions, not to state them, and to make the story as clear as possible so this is for everyone, regardless,” she says.
“it’s a great play for right now and even more poignant with everything that’s going on globally”
So why Julius Caesar? “I’ve wanted to direct this for a long time because it’s a great play for right now and even more poignant with everything that is going on globally. It’s all about power.”
“So while people might have a specific view of Julius Caesar and think they know the story we have set it in the present day to ensure that all the questions it raises are relevant.
“So when I reread Julius Caesar I automatically thought Brutus and Cassius were women, that was just my observation, but also how I have re-angled it. There is something about the language that is really direct. It has real drive and clarity.
“It might be earmarked as a history play but it’s also a tragedy and naturally translates into today’s contemporary society and political world which is really exciting,” she adds.
As for bringing it to Oxford, thanks to Oxford Playhouse, Diane says: “Shakespeare shouldn’t just be for people who live in London which is why we take The Globe on tour, but I’m also very mindful of how people’s attention spans so it’s 2.5 hours with an interval which is pretty good for a tragedy, so come and see it!”
Oxford Playhouse brings Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour Julius Caesar to Magdalen College School Gardens from Tuesday 19 – Sunday 24 July. Tickets start at £10. Box Office on 01865 305 305, or online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com. Age Guideline: 12+