AN AMPHITHEATRE being carved into the Oxfordshire landscape will be ready to start hosting live music and theatre this summer.

The impressive structure is being created in the village of Chilton near Didcot.

Designed by renowned sculptor Tim Norris, it was made possible by a £72,000 donation from a housing developer building a new estate in the parish.

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Parish councillors who have long dreamed of creating the local performance space now can't wait to see if finally finished in the coming weeks.

Mark Urso-Cale from Chilton Parish Council said: “Having been involved from the start, I’m so pleased to get the project started.

Oxford Mail:

"The designs were great, but it looks amazing in person.

"Tim and the contractors have really given the project care and attention to detail and we’re all looking forward to seeing it open."

The parish council applied for funding to Vale of White Horse District Council.

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Specifically, it asked if it could get some cash from a pot of housing developer contributions for public art as part of an agreement to build new homes in the village.

The parish council worked to raise all the funding needed over a number of years, and previously won £10,312 just to pay for research, consultation and commissioning of the project.

Then, finally, it won the £72,486 housing developer cash to make the dreams a reality.

Created by sculpture artist Tim Norris, work started on the structure earlier this year, with some inspiration coming from the Diamond Light Source laboratory in nearby Harwell.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Norris said he partly designed the shape of the structure to resemble the ring-shaped particle accelerator.

Residents of the village were also involved in helping to decide the final design and have been getting involved in the construction by placing their own stones in the structure.

Once complete, the open-air arena will have enough seats for an audience of around 70 people, with seats made from oak on top of steel cages that house Ardley stone walls.

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Vale district councillor for 'development and regeneration' Bethia Thomas said: “This is a hugely exciting project and I’m delighted that developer funds have gone towards this new art installation, which will become a new focal point for all the community to enjoy.”

Sarah Medley, ward councillor for Chilton, said: “Even with the current climate of social distancing, it’s been great to see residents getting involved and being able to place their own stones in the amphitheatre.

"Being an outside structure, means that it can be used straight away albeit with a smaller audience at first."

The amphitheatre is set to be completed this summer, with official opening planned when social distancing rules are relaxed further.