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Theatre in Oxford: What’s on this March

Ghost Dances. Photo Credit: Johan Persson.

Wondering how to spend an early Easter holiday, or while away the time during Lent whilst you’ve forbidden yourself from chocolate/crisps/coffee/alcohol? Look no further than our March theatre round-up…

The Oxford Playhouse

Internationally acclaimed theatre company Cheek by Jowl are bringing their English language production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedy The Winter’s Tale to the Oxford Playhouse (OP) in early March, which should be a night out that’s both moving and entertaining. Louis Chantal, the chief executive of the OP chose it as one of her favourites for the spring season – a great way to start the month off. Later on, we’re intrigued by the sound of The Unbuilt Room, which is taking place not in the theatre, but in the Crypt, as part of the ‘Playhouse Plays Out’ series. If you’re looking for some interactive theatre, this is the one for you. The audience work together with the performers to navigate round an imaginary space. Think Dungeons and Dragons, or an open-world computer game, but with actors.

A Winter's Tale at the Oxford Playhouse
A Winter's Tale. Photo Credit: Johan Persson

The Winter’s Tale is on 28th February to 4th March.
The Unbuilt Room is on 20th to the 22nd March.
BT Studio

Over in the OP’s smaller studio space, there are some more off-beat choices on offer. We’ve got two favourites. A student production of Mike Bartlett’s Contractions promises to be a dark and disturbing two-hander questioning our surveillance society with biting satire and appallingly black comedy. Looking for something a bit more light-hearted? Another female two-hander, In Tents and Purposes, will be at the Studio for one night only. This ridiculous, meta-theatrical comedy has enjoyed great success at the Soho Theatre in London, and a five-star, sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so it’s almost guaranteed to be a great – if daft – night out.   

Contractions is on 28th February to 4th March.
In Tents and Purposes is on 31st March.
New Theatre

The New Theatre are putting on their usual eclectic mix of stand-up, touring musicals and dance over March. Highlights include the touring productions of both Grease and Evita. Grease stars The Wanted’s Tom Parker as Danny Zuko with Over the Rainbow winner Daniella Hope as Sandy, whilst Evita relies on the power vocals of Emma Hatton, fresh from the West End production of Wicked. For something a little more unusual, Britain’s national dance company Rambert is bringing a triple bill to Oxford, including world famous choreographer Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances, which should be an exhilarating night of dance. From the sublime to the ridiculous: for something totally and unashamedly lightweight, head to see The Dreamboys who are bringing their male glamour show to the New Theatre for just one night. Just don’t take the kids…

The Dreamboys coming to Oxford New Theatre
The Dreamboys. [url=][/url]

Evita is on 7th to 11th March.
Rambert - Ghost Dances is on 15th to 17th March.
The Dreamboys are on 24th March.
Grease is on 28th March to 1st April.
Creation Theatre

There’s only a short time left to catch Creation Theatre’s immersive production of George Orwell’s 1984. The production, at the Mathematical Institute, closes on the 5th March. The marking campaign in Blackwell’s Bookshop, has been great, and the reviews so far have been very complimentary. With sales of the book increasing constantly since Trump’s inauguration, what better time to catch what promises to be an intense and thought-provoking night of theatre.

1984 is on currently until 5th March.
North Wall

North Wall Arts Centre has some more unusual theatre on offer. First up is The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak, described as a “monstrous chamber opera for puppets” – who could resist that? Although told using puppets, it’s recommended for ages 12 and up, since Tarrare was famous for eating live snakes, cats, and even amputated limbs… Don’t worry, we’ve found a more family friendly show too. The Magic Paintbrush, from Springs Dance Company, is for those aged 3 and above, and should be an entertaining dance show for all the family. Lastly, there’s the award-winning Theatre Ad Infinitum’s production of Bucket List. One of the most interesting and thought-provoking plays on this list, it tells the story of a Mexican woman’s fight for justice, and has received stellar reviews thus far.

The Puppets of The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak
The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak.

The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak is on 8th- 9th March.
The Magic Paintbrush is on 11th March.
Bucket List is on 14th- 16th March.
Pegasus Theatre

If you’d rather see your political messages portrayed through dance, Pegasus Theatre has plentiful offerings. Body Politic’s first full-length show, Reflections, uses hip-hop to explore the issues surrounding mental health, whilst Moving with the Times includes a dance and spoken word tribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Reflections is on 6th March.
Moving with the Times is on 10th – 11th March.
So much to see, so little time. Trying to narrow your choices down? Our top three would be Contractions, The Winter’s Tale, and Bucket List. Let us know what you think of Oxford’s offerings this month – and check back here in April for another theatre round-up!