They’ve been the talk of Edinburgh Festival and now they’re coming to Oxford. Intrigued, Katherine MacAlister tries to discover – without much luck – exactly what is going on
Can you keep a secret? Oxford Playhouse can because it’s about to embark on it’s most ambitious project to date and they need your support.
Putting on five different shows, performed by 20 artists, within a two-week period is no mean feat, but keeping the off-site location secret as well as the titles of the plays and the authors, sounds downright impossible.
And yet it’s all happening right here in Oxford.
“We invite you to trust us and ask you to risk the ticket price and a few hours of your time, because we know that Oxford audiences don't shy away from a challenge,” Katy Snelling, Oxford Playhouse programmer, explains.
Audiences could see a classic play, an adaptation or a brand new show, it’s a lucky dip in that sense, but while we don’t want to give the game away, to give you a clue about what’s on, the first show will really get people talking, if you like bold, clever and thought-provoking productions.
The second is a pitch-black comedy that the critics loved, then a Jacobean tragedy like ‘a thick slice of thick pulp fiction’. The penultimate show is experimental theatre at its best – if you’re brave enough, and finally the last play is written by a well-known and often controversial playwright, and is sure to entertain.
All will be revealed… but only when the curtain goes up.
Still in the dark? Well if The Secret Theatre’s debut in London and then Edinburgh is anything to go by, we are in for a massive treat because it went down a storm there, creating a genuine buzz.
Still a risk for the Oxford Playhouse though? Bethan James, Playhouse press officer, said: “We have found that people are really hungry for something new and something affordable. You can come and watch all five of these plays for £50, which is less than the price of a West End show and it means you get to see something new that no one has seen before. The concept was a massive hit in London and we are thrilled that Oxford will be next to try it out.”
Katy Snelling is also enormously excited about booking The Secret Theatre: “It’s a wonderfully simple idea.
The shows have been the talk of this year's Edinburgh Festival and we don't think Oxford will want to miss being part of it.
The Secret Theatre’s passion to challenge preconceptions of UK theatre is enormously infectious, and while throughout our programme there are always more challenging pieces that may take you out of your comfort zone, as well as the more traditional options, we find it’s the more off-the-wall shows which often have a more lasting impact,” she explains.
“So we hope that anyone willing to experience something new will enjoy it, and we’ve kept ticket prices as low as possible too.”
So where should we start? “I’d recommend picking one and giving it a go,” Katy explains.
“It’s easy to be swayed by other people’s opinions, so it’s really refreshing to be going in blind, but more than that – I’m staying tight lipped!”
Secret Theatre is coming to Oxford from September 2-13 September. book online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com or call the box office on 01865 305305
- 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.
11:25am Thursday 22nd January 2015
Deaf actor Matty Gurney tells Katherine MacAlister about his successful sci-fi theatre show, Light, which arrives in his home town of Oxford next week
10:33am Thursday 22nd January 2015
Top rap artist Testament tells Katherine MacAlister about his show, inspired by the work of 19th century artist and poet William Blake, which he is bringing to Oxford tomorrow night
12:58pm Thursday 22nd January 2015
Tim Hughes heads underground to find out more about the family-run Cellar club
11:19am Thursday 22nd January 2015
FoodOfTheOx give a verdict on the food at Oxford Castle's Slug and Lettuce
11:08am Thursday 22nd January 2015
Delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere put Taylors cafe at the top of Katherine MacAlister's list
11:02am Thursday 22nd January 2015
Starting Up with Martin Bunce @ Atomic Burger
10:57am Thursday 22nd January 2015
Nick Welford at The Cherwell Boathouse provides this week's delicious recipe