As real-life political theatre plays out for the highest seat of Government, it could not be more apt that a new production of William Shakespeare’s historical tragedy Julius Caesar is set to take to the stage in Oxford.

This month, the Oxford Playhouse is presenting Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour as part of the Oxford Festival of the Arts.

Julius Caesar, which was first staged in 1599, is the original political thriller and will be performed in the riverside setting of Magdalen College School gardens between July 19 and 24.

The historical tragedy follows Cassius as he plots a conspiracy to murder Caesar, enlisting the support of the well-respected Marcus Brutus.

Brutus has misgivings but is persuaded that Caesar's death is necessary for the good of the republic.

Director Diane Page astutely pointed out that these “past few years have revealed more than ever how betrayal, division, and cunning rhetoric are not just traits belonging to Ancient Rome”.

Oxford Mail: Cash Holland as Cinna. Picture: Helen MurrayCash Holland as Cinna. Picture: Helen Murray

Star Charlotte Bate, who plays the shrewd Cassius, similarly points out that the production gives audiences contemporary ways of analysing the text.

She explained: “With Julius Caesar, and doing now in our political landscape, there is absolutely no way you cannot come and watch this play and think that it is completely irrelevant to today.

“Essentially, you have got a Government which is dissatisfied with its leader, you have a people which are undecided and do not know which way to go and looking further afield you have real-life tyrants doing extraordinarily terrible things.”

Oxford Mail: The show will be performed in Magdalen College School gardens. The show will be performed in Magdalen College School gardens.

The similarities between the play and real-life were, naturally, noted by the cast and creative teams who made specific artistic choices to demonstrate how art and life intertwine.

“Sometimes, particular plays are more relevant than others at particular times and I do think this is one of them that fits the spot today,” she added.

The actor pointed out the biggest difference with this production of Julius Caesar is that it flips the gender of the lead characters, therefore playing with, and re-examining, that relationship.

Oxford Mail: Dickon Tyrell as Julius Caesar, Samuel Oatley as Mark Antony, Amie-Francis as Calpurnia. Picture: Helen MurrayDickon Tyrell as Julius Caesar, Samuel Oatley as Mark Antony, Amie-Francis as Calpurnia. Picture: Helen Murray

“It is women playing Brutus and Cassius and I think what that leads us towards is an examination of power, who holds the power and who is excluded from that power. Also how people start to navigate these changing relationships of who deserves to get it, whose it rightfully is, who can cling onto it, which is really interesting I think.”

Flipping the play so that it focuses on the relationships of women “changes the whole lens of the play”, Ms Bate adds.

Oxford Mail: Anna Crichlow as Brutus. Picture: Helen MurrayAnna Crichlow as Brutus. Picture: Helen Murray

“It is a very macho play about fights, wars and an assassination and I think to have at its core a female friendship is really interesting.”

On her favourite moments in the play, Ms Bate praises the “stunning job” of four members of the cast portraying various different parts.

She said: “For an audience, there is a real joy factor watching someone run off as one character and run back as someone else in a different custom and really pull it off.”

Julius Caesar is on from July 19 to 24 at Magdalen College School gardens.

Oxford Mail: Omar Bynon as Cobbler. Picture: Helen MurrayOmar Bynon as Cobbler. Picture: Helen Murray

The show stars Charlotte Bate as Cassius, Omar Bynon as Decius and Soothsayer, Anna Crichlow as Brutus, Amie Francis as Calpurnia, Cash Holland as Portia and Murellus, Jack Myers as Caska and Octavius, Samuel Oatley as Mark Antony and Dickon Tyrrell as Julius Caesar.

Tickets for this production of Julius Caesar start at £10 and are available from the Oxford Playhouse Box Office on 01865 305 305, or can be booked online at


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing:

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