‘Thriving Witney should have a rival to Oxford’s theatres’

‘Thriving Witney should have a rival to Oxford’s theatres’

Adrian Hewitt pictured at Cogges Manor Farm where his new Witney Theatre Company is staging its first production

A scene from his CBBC programme MI High

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

A SCREENWRITER for children’s TV programmes is hoping to fill a cultural void by setting up a professional theatre company in Witney.

Adrian Hewitt, 51, has launched the Witney Theatre Company because he felt the town was missing out.

The first production, an adult performance of August Strindberg’s classic play Miss Julie, will be staged at Cogges Manor Farm Museum at the end of the month.

Mr Hewitt, who moved to the town from Somerset in June last year, said: “When I came here I thought there should be a theatre.

“Everyone goes to Oxford but why not Witney? It’s a thriving and growing town.

“The aim is to sustain a permanent presence like in Oxford and to have four productions a year.

“I believe Witney has been missing out.”

Dad-of-four Mr Hewitt is a stage actor and has written scripts for CBBC programmes such as MI High and The Mysti Show, as well as former ITV show My Parents are Aliens.

He is currently writing a feature film called Horse Juice with BAFTA Children’s Award winner John Roberts.

Miss Julie, written in 1888 about a relationship between a young woman and a senior servant, will be performed at the museum’s barn from Wednesday, September 24, to Friday, September 26.

There are three actors, Lucy Green, Ewan Alman and Tracey Rimell, who have rehearsed at The Plough Inn in Witney’s High Street.

It has been made on a £100 budget as the not-for-profit company has no funding, but Mr Hewitt hopes in time to receive support from local businesses.

He wants to tour his productions in community centres and village halls in West Oxfordshire.

Mr Hewitt said he was inspired by Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry, who converted The Gate Theatre in London from a small fringe theatre into a stage for international talent in the 1990s.

He said: “The quality of his work was superb and that’s the model I’m working on.

“This is very much a theatre for the community – we will start small and grow. We can’t afford to spend thousands of pounds on sets so we’re doing it on a shoestring budget. It can be sustainable if people support it.”

Last year, former opera singer and director Robin Martin-Oliver set up Witney Arts and has held two professional productions, but said the lack of a permanent venue had caused problems.

He had hoped to take over a West Oxfordshire District Council-owned building in Station Lane but it was rented to a business instead.

He said: “We think there’s a demand but the biggest challenge has been getting the council on side to fund a building for the arts.”

The play starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £12.50 for adults and £10 for concessions. See cogges.org.uk/whats

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.


Our top stories

FOOTBALL Rising star Roberts eager for Oxford United first-team action as Morris returns to Norwich

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 24th October 2014

James Roberts is in no mood to rest on his laurels as the young Oxford United striker looks to feature in a fourth successive game when they visit Carlisle United tomorrow.

Blueprint for a £110m cancer research centre

Oxford Mail: Oxford Univesity logo white lettering blue background new logo

7:00am Friday 24th October 2014

A £110m cancer research centre is planned for Headington to study pioneering treatment with hundreds of county patients.

City roadworks hassle is worthwhile, says minister

Oxford Mail: OCC Cabinet member for transport, David Nimmo-Smith.

6:30am Friday 24th October 2014

MULTIPLE roadworks that cause city traffic gridlock are “worth it”, a minister has said.

Temporary Oxpens car park will have only half the space

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Friday 24th October 2014

A TEMPORARY replacement car park for Oxford’s Westgate multi-storey will provide less than half the number of spaces at present, it has been announced.

Oxfordshire bid for record Poppy Appeal total to mark centenary of start of First World War

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 23rd October 2014

PEOPLE in Oxfordshire are being urged to help break the £500,000 barrier for the first time as this year’s Poppy Appeal is launched today.

Judge criticises "catastrophic" CPS after trial postponement

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

2:30pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

A JUDGE has criticised a “catastrophic failure” by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which caused a trial to be put off until next year.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree