Oxford Festival of the Arts is well underway in the city, with a “kaleidoscopic” range of in-person events on offer after two years of being online.

The festival is running from June 24 to July 25 and will ‘go Around the World in 80 Ways with Art and Artefacts’ by commemorating the first ship that circumnavigated the world.

Festival director Dr Michelle Castelletti told the Oxford Mail this year’s event is “pretty full on but pretty wonderful” with “excellence in every art form”.

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Oxford Mail: Dr Michelle Castelletti. Picture: Ed Nix Dr Michelle Castelletti. Picture: Ed Nix

She said: “It has been just great to have that vibe back. To have the festival in real life is just wonderful.”

Dr Castelletti added that while it is difficult to create something for everything, Oxford Festival of the Arts 2022 is “trying to do all sides of the spectrum”.

Oxford Mail: Maya Youssef Maya Youssef

This is what led Dr Castelletti to previously call this year’s event “our most kaleidoscopic festival to date”.

“Inviting you all to join us on our journey around the world in a multitude of ways: there is laugher poignancy, revelation, excitement, and splendour awaiting you,” she explained.

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed Nix Picture: Ed Nix

The festival includes GAIA by Luke Jerram at University Chuch of St Mary the Virgin, music with Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, the Julian Joseph Trio, a comedy night with Phil Wang, Rosie Jones and Sara Barron.

Oxford Mail: Janina RamirezJanina Ramirez

An Evening With… featuring guests such as Brian Blessed and the mouth painter Henry Fraser, speakers including Janina Ramirez, Sally Wainwright and former PM Theresa May, alongside a special section of the festival called Your City… Your Festival.

For the first time, the festival will host the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in a production of Julius Caesar.

Oxford Mail: Music students involved in the festival. Picture: Ed Nix Music students involved in the festival. Picture: Ed Nix

Much of the festival will take place in the Festival Marquee on the grounds of Magdalen College School (MCS), with events also taking place across the city at locations such as Christ Church Cathedral, Sheldonian Theatre, and SJE Arts Oxford.

Dr Castelletti added: “Everything in this programme is linked to humanity, to freedom, to nature, to the exhilarating richness of cultural diversity, to the  - subjective? - ruth, to journeys, and to the extraordinary art that still ‘makes us’”.

Oxford Mail: Audience members at the Oxford Festival of the ArtsAudience members at the Oxford Festival of the Arts

Master of Magdalen College School Helen Pike said: “The Oxford Festival of the Arts has been delighting audiences for well over a decade now, and is established as a major source of entertainment and community engagement in Oxford – plus this year there is the added joy of the real-life connections with artist and with each other in prospect.”

Tickets can be booked at artsfestivaloxford.org/, via telephone on 01865 305305 and in person from the Oxford Playhouse.


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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: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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