Oxford MailTake to soapbox for a May Morning rant (From Oxford Mail)

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Take to soapbox for a May Morning rant

Oxford Mail: Michelle Walker, of Oxford Playhouse, gives the Broad Street soapbox a test run Michelle Walker, of Oxford Playhouse, gives the Broad Street soapbox a test run

MAY Morning will see a new tradition this year, with hundreds of people talking to the public on a giant soapbox.

Soapbox City will see more than 200 people taking their spot on Broad Street to talk about a topic of their choice for five minutes.

The day-long event, taking place on May 1, has been coordinated by Oxford Playhouse and Pegasus Theatre.

Oxford Playhouse producer Michelle Walker said: “Oxford is a home of radical thought, and has had an enormous history of radical thinkers through the years.

“We wanted to celebrate that and for people to have their say about what they think.”

Ms Walker admits that the idea is taken from artist Antony Gormley’s One and Other project, which saw thousands of people standing on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in London over 100 days in 2009.

She said: “We wanted to create an event for anybody to have their say. This will be a free space, and we will be encouraging people to be brave enough to share their thoughts.”

The event will be one of many celebrations in the city to greet the beginning of spring.

More traditional activities, which have been taking place for over 500 years, include Morris dancing and the choristers of Magdalen College choir singing the Hymnus Eucharisticus from the college’s Great Tower at 6am.

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Church bells then ring out across the city for approximately 20 minutes.

This year Magdalen Bridge will be open to pedestrians again and closed to traffic from 3am until 9am. The bridge will reopen to traffic as soon as officials decide it is safe to do so.

If the event is a success, Ms Walker hopes that it will become a new May Morning tradition for the city.

She said: “I love the idea of this being an annual tradition.

“On May Morning the whole city is up and awake. You get people from all walks of life.

“Because everyone is up so early they have a couple of hours to kill before they go back to their normal routine.”

The soapbox will be available from 7am until 7pm, with 144 slots.

Most have already been filled, but there are about 20 still available.

As well as individuals, over 20 organisations have signed up to share their thoughts including Refugee Resource, Ruskin College, Oxford Preservation Society and Oxford Spires Academy.

Just a few of the topics up for discussion are; why older people are radical, the history of the Brownies, animal testing, dung beetles and Buddhism.

Pubs that will be celebrating May Morning include The Oxford Retreat, The Cape of Good Hope, The Bear Inn, The White Horse, The Grapes, The Anchor, The Crown, The Kings Arms, and The Chequers. Cafes that will be open for breakfast include the Tick Tock Café, Rick’s Café, G&D’s and Atomic Burger on the Cowley Road.

s To sign up, email soapboxcity@ oxfordplayhouse.com with your name and what you’d like to talk about

Comments (1)

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12:12pm Fri 25 Apr 14

King Joke says...

Is 'a new tradition' an oxymoron?
Is 'a new tradition' an oxymoron? King Joke
  • Score: 1

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