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The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The Playhouse Theatre Beaumont Street, and The Burton Taylor Studio, Gloucester Street, Oxford

Oxford Theatres

The Playhouse Theatre in May 2011 - Courtesy Tim Speechley

Above - The Playhouse Theatre in May 2011 - Courtesy Tim Speechley

The Oxford Playhouse Theatre is situated on Beaumont Street, Oxford, opposite the Ashmolean Museum. Originally founded as 'The Red Barn' at 12 Woodstock road. North Oxford in 1923 by J.B. Fagan.

The Playhouse Theatre was designed by the Architect Edward Maufe and built in 1938, being a seven bay stone faced building, its façade having a Georgian style which fitted in with the local Regency townscape buildings around it. The Theatre is Grade II listed.

The auditorium has a single balcony and stalls, currently seating 650 people. In 1991 renovations were carried out by Michael Reardon Associates, which included better wheelchair access and means of escape. The auditorium was remodelled in 1964 by Martin Card architect of Fred Rowntree & Sons, with dark wood linings. In 1996 a new entrance canopy, box office work and the reseating of the auditorium was carried out, together with the removal of the dark wood linings of 1964. Work has also been carried out to the façade improving the attractiveness of the theatre. Two adjoining houses were also incorporated within the theatre as offices etc.

A photograph showing the rear of the Playhouse Theatre and the Burton Taylor Studio in 2010 - Courtesy Roger Fox

Above - A photograph showing the rear of the Playhouse Theatre and the Burton Taylor Studio in 2010 - Courtesy Roger Fox

Stage dimensions are:- Depth of stage 25 feet 6 inches. Proscenium width 27 feet 6 inches. Height to the grid being 39 feet 6 inches, with an orchestra pit being able to seat a total of 30 musicians.

In 1975 ownership of the Playhouse Theatre was by Oxford University, however in 1990 ownership was transferred to the Oxford Playhouse Charitable Trust.

Behind the Playhouse Theatre, the 'Burton Taylor Theatre' was built in 1973 with donations from film stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. It has its own entrance in Gloucester Street and is a plain two storey brick building being a Studio theatre seating 50 people. Now known as the 'Burton Taylor Studio', which is also run by the Oxford Playhouse Trust.

The Oxford Playhouse currently presents a programme of British and International drama, together with family shows, contemporary dance and music, student and amateur shows, comedy, lectures and poetry readings, being a valued asset to the cultural life of this University City.

You may like to visit the Theatre's own website here.

The above article was written for this site by David Garratt and kindly sent in for inclusion in 2011. The article is © David Garratt 2011.

If you have any more images or programmes for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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