Michael Speight, co-founder and director of Oxford Shakespeare Festival, on the plays coming to the Castle Quarter this summer

Over the last ten years of being involved with theatre in Oxford, Shakespeare has been an ever present force. The city itself is steeped in Shakespearean history, as well as its fair share of Shakespearean myth and legend (see the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare as a first port of call).

What we do know to be true is that he spent a great deal of time here. We even have access, thanks to the Oxford Preservation Trust, to the remains of the Crown Tavern where he laid his head on the long trips from Stratford to London and back. This very personal link with the city has fed the development of an amazing array of projects every year, which directly or indirectly pay homage to the famous Bard. The culmination of these has always been the eight weeks of summer, when the city truly comes alive with the sights and sounds of Shakespeare.

Being involved in this two month extravaganza of plays (whether venue host, producer or director) one thing has always struck me as strange… why doesn’t the city have, as many others do, a festival devoted to the man and his works?

It was in the winter of 2014 that plans began to take shape between a number of theatre companies local to Oxford who were all interested in remedying the situation, and this set the framework for what has become the Oxford Shakespeare Festival.

The festival will bring the city a new play every two weeks this summer until mid-August. We opened with As You Like It from BMH Productions .

Tomahawk Theatre then returned to Oxford Castle to perform Romeo and Juliet in a sumptuous, elegant and dynamic production.

For the third play of the festival, Siege Theatre brings one of the darkest of the famous bard’s works, Titus Andronicus. This play runs from Monday, July 20 to Saturday, August 1 (except Sunday, July 26).

The Festival will end on a lighter note when Don’t Hate the Players theatre company presents a fast paced Comedy of Errors.

All performances commence at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £15 for adults, £13 for concessions and can be booked online at oxfordcastleunlocked.co.uk