Hot off the press


“Bookshop by day, theatre by night….”

Blackwell’s signs six year deal to bring live theatre to Oxford bookshop

Leading independent bookseller Blackwell’s has signed a six-year deal with the Oxford-based Creation Theatre Company to bring live performance theatre to its flagship Broad Street shop in the city.

The new arrangement will begin with a five-week run of King Lear to be staged in the shop’s iconic Norrington Room in February. The Norrington Room is one of the largest and most famous bookselling rooms in the world. Named after Sir Arthur Norrington, then President of Trinity College, it extends beneath the college’s quad and boasts three miles of shelving and, at 10,000 square feet, is one of the largest single room bookshops in the world. It will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, which also marks the 20th anniversary of Creation Theatre and the 450th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare.

“This new and exciting agreement is part of a developing relationship between Blackwell’s in Oxford and Creation Theatre,” explains Zool Verjee, Deputy Manager at Blackwell’s Broad Street bookshop.

“We have previously staged performances in the Norrington Room and we both share a commitment to not only promoting great literature but also working together to bring it to life for people. The run of King Lear, in this very special setting, is going to be a very exciting development for all of us.”

Creation Theatre has established an enviable reputation for staging live performances throughout the Oxford area in unconventional spaces.

“ These great stories aren’t set in theatres so we don’t put them there,” explains Lucy Askew, Chief Executive of Creation Theatre.

“Over half a million people have so far seen our performances in venues as diverse as castles, factories and, of course, great bookshops like Blackwell’s at Broad Street. Together we will create an experience that enables people to connect both with the stories they love and the characters with which they identify in unique surroundings.”

“Wonderland comes to The Mill this Christmas”

Oxford’s Creation Theatre comes to Banbury for the first time

This Christmas Creation Theatre will present a new adaptation based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass at The Mill Arts Centre.

The show was performed in the gardens of St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford this summer, and will take on a festive touch as it transfers to Banbury from 8 December to 4 January. Audiences will join Alice and the white rabbit as they tumble down the rabbit hole into wonderland to meet The Queen of Hearts, The Jabberwocky, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee and a whole host of other magical characters.

Creation shows are eccentric re-tellings of classic stories, using puppetry, magic, music and acrobatics to bring well known stories to life.

This marks Creation’s first performance outside Oxford since the company was founded in 1995. Since then Creation has built a reputation as “kids theatre specialists” (The Guardian), and over half a million people have seen Creation performances.

Director Helen Tennison returns to Creation and will head up a creative team featuring Writer Kate Kerrow and Creation Associate Artists; Designer Ryan Dawson Laight, Sound Designer Matt Eaton, Lighting Designer Ashley Bale.

Creation Theatre Chief Executive Lucy Askew comments “Working with The Mill is really exciting for Creation, I’ve lived in and around Banbury for eleven years so it’s great to be bringing Creation outside Oxford here for the first time.”

Creation will also be performing Treasure Island at The North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford from 4 December – 9 January.

“A pastoral romance brimming with wit and whimsy”

Creation Theatre presents a new adaptation of As You Like It directed by Tom Littler, which will see the action transplanted to Nazi-occupied France, leading audiences on a promenade adventure around stunning college grounds of Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall.

There’ll be banishment, wrestling, delicate love notes and topsy-turvy cross-dressing to mark Creation Theatre’s 19th year of open air Shakespeare performances in Oxford. Discover hidden encampments as you make your way between sandbags, military paraphernalia and the sound of marching footsteps, while Rosalind and Orlando weave this classic tale of love, lust and disguise.

The cast of eight will be directed by Lady Margaret Hall Alumnus Tom Littler, Artistic Director of Primavera, and Associate Director of the new writing venue Theatre503. He was Associate Director of the Peter Hall Company for three years, and worked several times as Sir Trevor Nunn’s associate director. He worked widely as an assistant and associate director in the West End and regionally. Tom’s productions have gained numerous OffWestEnd and Time Out Critic’s Choice Awards.

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle”

Prestigious Oxford College partners with Creation Theatre to transform their lawns into an adventure wonderland

Iconic St Hugh’s College announces a partnership with Creation Theatre, Oxfordshire’s largest producing theatre company, to transform their beautiful lawns and gardens into the Queen of Hearts’ courts for their latest adaptation of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. The adaptation will mark the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s publication of one of Oxford’s most famous stories and will follow Alice on a journey of self-discovery as she comes to terms with what it truly means to grow-up.
Creation Theatre Company is well-known for performances in beautiful and unusual spaces such as Lady Margaret Hall, Headington Hill Park and Oxford Castle. Over the last few years, Creation have treated audiences to treasured classics such as The Wind and in the Willows, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Aladdin as well as Shakespeare plays such as Macbeth, Henry V and Merchant of Venice.

This summer, Creation will set loose the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts in a new adaptation for Alice fans young and old. The whole family can fall down the rabbit hole with plenty of helpings of magic, music, puppetry and acrobatics as we join Alice on her journey towards adulthood. Directed by Helen Tennison and designed by Ryan Dawson-Laight, you can expect an eccentric and fun-filled daydream adventure in true Creation style.

“The weasels are in Toad Hall!”

This Christmas Creation Theatre’s magical and imaginative style will bring to life a heart-warming classic from one of Oxford’s most famous sons, Kenneth Grahame.

Toad hasn’t been seen since the most recent of his escapades backfired, Badger doesn’t react well to visitors in the winter and Ratty and Mole have tucked themselves away eating sardines and telling tales of sunnier days. How will we drive the wild wooders back where they belong?

A new script and original score is set to fill Summertown’s North Wall Arts Centre with lashings of nostalgia as his long-suffering friends try to thwart the latest schemes of Mr Toad. Director Gari Jones returns to Creation having written and directed Arabian Nights (2006) and Tales from the Brothers Grimm (2007).

Performances will take place from 5 December to 10 January (Press Night Sunday 7 December) with a full schedule and tickets available from Creation’s Box Office on 01865 766266 or www.creationtheatre.co.uk

Oxford favourites ‘What A Load of Crepes’ will be serving up delicious sweet and savoury pancakes in a pop up restaurant in the courtyard of the theatre and audiences can tuck in to G&Ds ice cream in the interval too.

Creation Theatre Creative Producer Lucy Askew comments “After last Christmas’ fantastic run of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe we were busily scanning the bookshelves for other likely children’s classics. I’m so glad we hit on The Wind in the Willows, particularly with Kenneth Grahame being an old boy of our hosts St Edwards School. There’ll be picnics, daring escapes and messing about in boats – we can’t wait!”

For the past 18 years Creation Theatre has been performing classic stories in unusual spaces in Oxford. Over 500,000 people have seen a Creation show.

“Something wicked this way comes…”

A new venue and a classic title for Oxford’s open-air Shakespeare company
Oxford’s largest producing theatre company Creation Theatre announces its first show at Lady Margaret Hall with Macbeth from 1 August to 13 September 2014.

The cast of 6 will present a genteel English take on one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. In Creation’s usual style the buildings and gardens of Lady Margaret Hall will become the set, as Lady Macbeth schemes and Banquo’s ghost torments the paranoid king.

Following the success of last year’s sold out run of Henry V at Oxford Castle, performances will take place in August and September; drier months over the last few summers. Lady Margaret Hall’s Simkins Lee Theatre will provide a wet weather backup in case of rainy nights.

The creative team will be headed up by a new Director for Creation Jonathan Holloway, founder of Red Shift Theatre and recipient of three consecutive Fringe First Awards and the First Prize at the 2013 Prix Italia. Returning will be Henry V designer Ryan Dawson Laight as well as Creation Theatre’s Associate Artists Matt Eaton (Sound Design) and Ashley Bale (Lighting Design).

Creation Theatre Chief Executive Lucy Askew comments: “The prospect of setting witches, murder and war against the elegant backdrop of Lady Margaret Hall’s Gardens makes this show an exciting one for Creation. Macbeth is the perfect title as the sun goes down on a warm evening and we won’t be shying away from the darker aspects of the play.”

Bill Kemp, Head of Hospitality Services at Lady Margaret Hall adds: “We are absolutely thrilled and delighted to be able to welcome Creation Theatre to the gardens at Lady Margaret Hall – we hope the audiences, cast and crew of Macbeth enjoy our facilities as much as we enjoy sharing them with you all”

Tickets will be available from mid-May.

Creation’s first Relaxed Performance

Cosy up this Christmas at the North Wall Arts Centre for Creation’s production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!

For the first time ever, Creation will be producing a Relaxed Performance aimed at children with autistic, sensory and communication conditions. Moreover, this opportunity will also create a supportive environment for those who are a little anxious about their first live theatrical experience.

We believe that a relaxed performance is a brilliant opportunity for children and families who usually shy away from attending public performances. Noise levels will be reduced and lighting effects such as flashing, strobe lighting or blackouts may be removed at the comfort of audience members. These changes will soften impacts considerably and create more of an inviting atmosphere.

Visual guides will be provided prior to your visit so every one of you know exactly what to expect! We will tailor a special guide containing images and important information about the show to help individuals to prepare for planning. The document will include everything you need, a map of the theatre with the facilities it provide, character descriptions and warnings of any possible loud noises.

There is a special ‘chill-out’ zone for those feeling uncomfortable during any point of the performance. The will be a safe and supervised space for audience members to come out if they should find that the auditorium starts becoming overwhelming. Furthermore, our front of house staff would have received specific autism-training if any help should be needed.

Performances will take place on Thursday 2nd January and tickets are available from Creation’s Box Office on 01865 766266 or www.creationtheatre.co.uk. Please feel free to ring up and speak to a member of Creation if you should require any additional information and we will be more than happy to answer them for you as our prime objective is to make you feel welcomed for this brand new experience of theatre!

“Always winter and never Christmas, can you imagine?”

Creation presents The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Christmas 2013

This Christmas Creation Theatre’s magical and imaginative style will bring to life a heart-warming classic from one of Oxford’s most famous sons, CS Lewis.
A new script and original score is set to fill Summertown’s North Wall Arts Centre with lashings of nostalgia and, of course, mountains of Turkish delight. Creation’s Associate Director, Charlotte Conquest, returns at the head of a team which has created two sell-out Christmas shows at The North Wall (A Christmas Carol 2011 and Aladdin 2012).

The Pevensie children will embark on the journey of their lives encountering fauns, beavers and a magical lion as audiences are whisked away into the unforgettable world of Narnia as created by CS Lewis and first published in 1950.

Falling in the year of the 50th anniversary of CS Lewis’ death the four week run will top off a full programme of events, from community productions to the city’s annual Light Night parade.

New to the Creation team this year is Writer and Musical Director Steven Luke Walker. Steven is Head of Singing and Music at The Guildford School of Acting, as well as being an MD and Vocal Coach for West End shows and stars.

Performances will take place from 6 December to 4 January (Press Night Sunday 8 December) with a full schedule and tickets available from Creation’s Box Office on 01865 766266 Creation’s website.

For the past 18 years Creation Theatre has been performing classic stories in unusual spaces in Oxford. Over 500,000 people have seen a Creation show. Last Christmas the company faced the threat of closure after their annual open air Shakespeare season was badly affected by a wash-out summer. Following a public appeal Oxford came to the rescue and over £40,000 was raised to secure the company’s future. Since then hit performances of Jekyll & Hyde at Blackwell’s Bookshop and Henry V at Oxford Castle Unlocked have played to full houses and standing ovations.

“Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more…”

Creation to return to summer Shakespeare with Henry V at Oxford Castle

Oxford’s largest producing theatre company Creation Theatre announces a return to Oxford Castle Unlocked from 17 August to 14 September 2013 with Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Creation’s first ‘History Play’ in 17 years will see three actors perform a strong military take on one of Shakespeare’s most popular portrayals of British history. Famous speeches about St Crispin’s Day and the nature of warfare will play out in Oxford Castle Unlocked’s atmospheric courtyard against the backdrop of the renovated Oxford prison.

Opening later than past Creation summer seasons the first performance will take place on Saturday 17 August with four weeks of shows Tuesday to Saturday evenings and selected matinees. This decision to run later in the summer has meant that Creation has looked for a venue other than The Said Business School, where it has performed for the last three summers and hopes to return one day in the future. Relative to previous shows the audience will also be small, with up to 150 seats per night.

Creation Theatre Chief Executive Lucy Askew comments “There’s a nice mixture of old and new for us on this show. It’s lovely to be heading back to Oxford Castle where Creation hasn’t performed since 2008, but we’re taking on a new challenge of a play we’ve never performed before.

“Creation has had a tough 12 months, particularly with the wet weather last summer. This is a new kind of Shakespeare show for us, starting later in the summer and performing to a smaller audience, which will allow us to minimize our financial risk whilst putting on the high quality open air theatre Oxford expects of us.”

Tickets will be available from 2 May.

Creation Theatre returns to Blackwell’s for Jekyll & Hyde

A story of good versus evil which plays itself out in the body of one man

After a successful fundraising campaign Creation Theatre announces its first show of 2013. Returning to Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford the company will produce a new adaptation of Victorian Gothic classic Jekyll & Hyde.

The show will be a fast paced, sixty minute one man show of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of terror, seeing the return of the lighting and sound team behind Creation’s 2011 Doctor Faustus. Immersing the audience in the 3 miles of bookshelves under Trinity College quad, Blackwell’s iconic Norrington Room will be used in new and surprising ways to create Creation’s most intimate show to date. Creation hopes to open Jekyll & Hyde in June but still needs to raise additional funds to bring the show to fruition.

In December the project was awarded £1,000 by Oxford City Council as part of their Culture Fund, and today Creation launches ‘Sponsor a Seat’ to raise the remaining funds needed. Creation Theatre Chief Executive Lucy Askew comments “Jekyll & Hyde will see one very talented actor climbing over bookshelves and lurking in the shadows that surround the audience, right in the heart of the Norrington Room. We’ve been plotting this show for quite some time and it’s exciting to be able to shout about it.”

Zool Verjee, Deputy Manager at Blackwell’s Bookshop adds “Many people, both staff and customers, revere the majesty of the Norrington Room – it really is one of the most magnificent rooms of books in the world and the opportunity to invite people in to enjoy this very special space is something which always appeals. Creation is becoming a bit of a fixture in our calendar and a great many of us are looking forward with anticipation to the emergence of Mr Hyde from behind the bookshelves.”

Anyone interested in being part of ensuring that this show happens can have their name, or the name of their business, on one of the 100 seats placed in Blackwell’s for the duration of the run for £50. This includes a ticket to see the show they’ve supported.

Creation Theatre announces survival

Oxford’s largest producing Theatre Company will continue to put on shows in 2013

St Clements based Creation announces that after a successful fundraising campaign it will be keeping permanent staff and producing live theatre in Oxford. Following the wettest summer in 100 years and a 50% drop in tourism during the company’s summer Shakespeare last year, Creation launched a public appeal warning that it would close unless it could raise £30,000 before the end of the Christmas show.

After generous support from audiences, supporters and local businesses Creation is still standing. Just over £40,000 in donations and strong Christmas ticket sales mean that Creation is in a position to be planning up to three performances in 2013. As part of its survival planning Creation has significantly reduced costs in order to protect production and show budgets and is working on plans to reduce the risk of wet weather damaging its takings.

In January, having ridden out the storm, Creation’s trustees appointed the charity’s Commercial Director Lucy Askew to the position of Chief Executive. Creation’s Chair of Trustees Geoffrey Bryant comments “Creation has had some crises over its 16 years, but this Christmas we really were facing the possibility of Aladdin being our last show.

It’s a joy and a relief to be putting our energies in to planning for the future, which will be recognisably ‘Creation’ but with a few changes which should make our future more secure.” Newly appointed Chief Executive Lucy Askew adds “I’m incredibly proud to be leading Creation into a brighter future. The support and warmth that came so willingly from our audience over Christmas really showed how much this company means to Oxford, and we can’t wait to share our plans with everyone!”

Plans are already well underway for a production in June and Creation hopes to be able to announce firm plans for its 2013 season in the coming weeks.

Creation Theatre launches emergency appeal

Charity on the brink of closure after wettest summer in 100 years.

Creation Theatre, Oxfordshire’s largest producing theatre company, has announced it is unable to produce any shows next year unless it raises £50,000.

The charity, which receives no regular funding and relies on ticket sales for its survival, has been badly affected by the summer’s wet weather and a 50% drop in tourism.

Its summer open air show in the rooftop amphitheatre at Said Business School is its biggest production of the year, but in spite of having an indoor wet weather back up, takings were down by over £30,000 on what the charity would expect in an average summer. Combined with rising costs, this has left the company without the necessary funds to produce any theatre after its Christmas show, Aladdin and the Magical Lamp, ends in January, although its education work can continue until the end of March.

Geoffrey Bryant, chair of Creation’s Board of trustees explains “As a charity we cannot trade without sufficient funds. Our Christmas show will go ahead and we have robust plans to deliver an exciting artistic programme for 2013, whilst undertaking significant cost savings, but in order to put these plans into action we must raise £50,000 this year.

“We are seeking funding from various streams and are appealing to the people of Oxfordshire, business leaders and anyone who values culture in Oxford, to get in touch. Our immediate priority is securing donations, and we are also eager to talk to individuals and companies about underwriting future projects, offering services, and support in kind.”

Creation’s commercial director Lucy Askew adds “We have significantly cut this year’s spending in order to give ourselves a fighting chance of survival. Core staffing has been reduced by 58% and the remaining team of five is covering the work of 12 people by working additional hours without pay and sacrificing time off. This has enabled us to proceed with plans for a fantastic Christmas show without cutting our production costs, as maintaining the quality of our Christmas show is vitally important to us and our audience.”

It is not the first time Creation has had to fight for survival. In 2007 and 2008 wet weather threatened the company with closure, leading its audience members to rally with financial support. The company was saved and was able to take several measures to reduce the risks associated with poor weather. It went on to present shows in new venues including Blackwells Bookshop, Said Business School and St Barnabas Church, Jericho.

Anyone wishing to help should contact Creation on 01865 761393 or email help@creationtheatre.co.uk.

Creation Theatre’s Aladdin and the Magical Lamp

In an enchanted garden deep underground, fantastical creatures live in the dark, guarding a powerful secret. Up on the streets, Aladdin worries he’ll never be the man his father dreamt he would be. High in a tower, a beautiful princess looks down on them all and dreams of freedom.

This Christmas Oxford’s Creation Theatre will conjure up exotic Eastern shores with a vibrant new adaptation of the classic Arabian Nights tale.

Following the success of last year’s A Christmas Carol at The North Wall Creation will return to transform the converted Victorian swimming pool into a Sultan’s Palace.

Set in China with the key characters hailing from Morocco the show will be a colourful international spectacle. Featuring not one but two genies and based on the traditional folk tale, audiences will see Aladdin and Princess Badr-al-Budr take on the evil sorcerer, with the help of the ring genie, the lamp genie and not forgetting Aladdin’s mother.

Performed from Thursday 6 December 2012 to Saturday 5 January 2013 (press night Tuesday 11 December), tickets are available from Creation’s Box Office on 01865 766266 or www.creationtheatre.co.uk

This show sees the return of Director Charlotte Conquest. Charlotte’s previous shows for Creation have included A Christmas Carol (The North Wall), Doctor Faustus (Blackwell’s Bookshop) Rapunzel or The Magic Pig (Mirror Tent), Romeo and Juliet (Saïd Business School) and Othello (Baptist Church in Bonn Square).

Charlie Morley, Creation Theatre’s Marketing Manager comments “The cast, crew and our audiences had such an amazing time last Christmas at The North Wall that we’re back for more. This show promises acrobatics, comedy and a healthy dose of Christmas spirit.”

For press review tickets and images contact charliemorley@creationtheatre.co.uk

Creative learning is shown to improve children’s literacy, language and communication skills

Creation’s drama training and workshops for young people aim to shape the next theatre generation. Yet, while drama activities are so often side-lined in school curriculums, research has shown that in fact, not only is passion ignited from a young age but crucial literacy, language and communication development takes place.

Every year over 4,000 children take part in Creation Theatre Company’s education programme in Holiday Workshops, Drama Clubs and at live performances. Like Creation’s shows, the education programme encourages children aged five to sixteen to tackle classic texts in unusual venues.

Every week children create and perform their own version of a classic text as part of Creation Theatre Company’s programme of summer workshops and drama clubs. The group spend time with Creation’s professional actors and workshop leaders learning the story, devising the scenes and rehearsing for a performance to friends and family.

Research has shown that dramatic activities are vital to literacy development because children can be involved in reading and writing as a “holistic and meaningful communication process” . In addition to this, research suggests that the cognitive processes that are used when understanding drama, are similar to those for reading.

Imaginative, improvised and spontaneous drama enables semantic and contextual understanding while also developing a relationship between both teacher and peers built entirely on trust and self-esteem. In terms of writing development, children who are exposed to drama and theatre are more capable of making appropriate linguistic choices, widening their vocabulary and expressing opinions or suggesting solutions.

Even when a child simply watches a performance, their sense of narrative structure improves. Yet when actively performing a story, their level of competence in terms of connecting and integrating events into a structure , is improved vastly in comparison to a story-telling reading group in which no active drama is involved.

Emma Ramano, Education Administrator, comments, “I am really proud of our Drama Club final shows. The groups work hard over the 12 weeks, produce high quality shows and grow in confidence each term. Recently with our 14-16 years groups they performed West Side Story in Blackwell’s Bookshop on our professional stage and it was such a privilege to see them perform so well.”

Dramatic activities are crucial to early literacy development because children can be involved in reading and writing as a holistic and meaningful communication process (McNamee, McLane, Cooper, & Kerwin, 1985). In addition, researchers have discovered that the mental requirements for understanding drama are similar to those for reading. For instance, the meaning of a reading is generally grasped in a transaction between the reader and the text. “Process drama” refers to a teaching method that involves children in imaginary, unscripted, and spontaneous scenes, in which the meaning is made from the engagement and transactions between the teacher and students (Schneider & Jackson, 2000).

In addition, reading can also stand for a “process of interpreting the world,” which endorses drama as a powerful learning medium because it provides a context for children to relate to their lived experience. In writing development, children who experience drama also appear to be more capable of making appropriate linguistic choices as well as expressing opinions or suggesting solutions (McNaughton, 1997)

1 McNamee, McLane, Cooper, & Kerwin (1985)
2 Alber and Foil (2003)
3 McNaughton, (1997)
4 Martinez (1993)
5 Saltz & Johnson, (1974)

More summer theatre than you can ‘shake’ a stick at

Creation Theatre Company will perform Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at Oxford’s Saϊd Business School, while Oxford Shakespeare Company will return to the gardens of Wadham College with A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Oxford Shakespeare Company’s Dream will take place in the imagined world of a group of University undergraduates as they are forced to find themselves and fight for love, as well as survive a night in the ‘wilderness’. Creation’s The Merchant of Venice will take audiences on a voyage to 1930s Venice with live jazz, vintage costume and of course the infamous ‘pound of flesh’.

For the first time the two companies will be pooling resources, with Creation’s marketing, promotion, and box office infrastructure supporting the two performances which will run throughout July and August. This move, in a national arts climate of greater efficiency and cooperation, is aimed at streamlining the process of getting the word out to the companies’ fans old and new.

Oxford Theatre Company’s Charlotte Windmill comments “It’s no secret that times are tight for arts organisations of all sizes and by working together we hope to be able to reach more potential audience members than ever before.”

The shows will be advertised under the umbrella ‘Oxford Open Air Theatre 2012’ , with a map-style leaflet featuring performances from Oxford’s thriving amateur summer Shakespeare scene including Oxford Theatre Guild, Troika and Tomahawk theatre companies, presenting a united and clear offering to tourists and residents alike.

Creation Theatre Creative Producer James Erskine adds “Oxford has a lot to offer this summer, we want to make it as easy as possible for tourists and locals to find out what’s going on where – there’s no need for a turf war here; I believe Oxford has plenty of Shakespeare lovers to go around.”

Press review tickets available, contact cherylpearce@creationtheatre.co.uk

Creation celebrates 16 years in Oxford with a unique knees up

*May 2012

Having reached the ripe old age of 16 Creation Theatre will be hosting a party for friends and followers at Oxford’s Cherwell Boathouse on 31st May 2012.

From humble beginnings in a shared house Creation has become Oxfordshire’s largest theatre producer. Surviving scorching sun, flooding, and snow, Creation has performed 46 shows to over 350,000 people.

Featuring Creation characters from shows gone by, a charity auction and tombola, stilt walkers and plenty of surprises, the event will be a chance to toast 16 successful years, and look forward to the next.

Creation Founder David Parrish and new Executive Director James Erskine will host a two course meal accompanied by wine and bubbly in Oxford’s classic riverside setting; The Cherwell Boathouse, just a few miles upstream from where it all started.

Local businesses and supporters have kindly donated auction and tombola prizes ranging from tickets to Garsington Opera to a champagne reception for two at The House of Commons, all of which will be up for grabs on the night.

Creation has never received regular funding, relying on ticket sales and donations to fund the year-round programme of shows, drama clubs and school workshops.

Creation Theatre Company Development Manager Rebecca de la Bedoyere comments: “Creation has such a strong heritage in Oxford that we wanted to celebrate with the local people who have supported us over the years. What promises to be a wonderful night full of music, drama and magic will also raise vital funds to ensure we can continue to make the great theatre that Oxford has come to love.”

Tickets, which include a two course meal, wine and bubbly are £65, tables of 10 are £550.

Creation Theatre and Oxfam present theatre from the occupied Palestinian territory

March 2012

Oxford’s own Creation Theatre Company and global development charity Oxfam have teamed up to present Ashtar Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard II in Oxford, for the Shakespeare’s Globe festival “Globe to Globe”, as part of the Olympic celebrations.

Following the global success of The Gaza Monologues; The Globe Theatre in London invited Ashtar Theatre to participate at the Olympiad of Shakespeare, “Globe to Globe”, this year. Ashtar in return has invited the internationally renowned director Conall Morrison (Dublin’s Abbey Theatre) to direct the play.

The performance opens in Jericho in occupied Palestinian territory on 4 April and will run for a month in the West Bank, followed by two performances at Shakespeare’s Globe and one night only in Oxford at Oxfam House.

Ashtar’s Richard II is performed in Arabic (handouts available for non-speakers) and takes this classic play of power, politics and insurrection and infuses it with the tumultuous energy of the Arab Spring.

Creation Theatre Company Executive Director, James Erskine, said today: “Creation thrives on seeking out new collaborations and presenting theatre in unusual spaces. The opportunity to bring such a rare event to Oxford was irresistible. Oxfam are natural partners for this project as they are a truly global organisation.”

Anna Thorne, Development Manager for Oxfam says; “We are delighted to be hosting this performance. As an Oxford-based charity working globally to overcome poverty, this is a fantastic opportunity to welcome the local community to our building, showcasing an exciting an unusual performance from Ramallah.

Oxfam has been working in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel since the 1980s. In the occupied West Bank, we are working with olive oil and date farmers, helping them to improve the quality of their products and find new markets. Some of these products, such as olive oil, are now available in the UK. In Gaza, we run a food voucher scheme to help poor families meet their food needs and have repaired damaged water systems.”

Notes to editors
Director: Conall Morrison (Associate Artist of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin until Dec 2008, productions at the Lyric Theatre Belfast, Lyttleton Theatre, Royal National Theatre, English National Opera and Royal Shakespeare Company).

Creation Theatre Company: 16 years, 45 shows, 350,000 audience members aged 5-95…we are Creation Theatre Company. We want to share stories with you. Amazing, inspiring, memorable stories which change the way we look at the world. We love folk tales, fairytales, classics and, of course, Shakespeare. You don’t need a theatre building to make great theatre. The magic happens all over Oxford. We seek out places that have never been used for theatre before, and bring them to life. Our shows are beautiful, ugly, fast, furious, twisted, surprising, spooky, magical, daring, haunting, challenging, inspiring, hilarious, sexy, sassy, cheeky…but never predictable. Our drama training and workshops for the young are shaping the next theatre generation.

Oxfam: Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty and suffering. Since its Oxford-based beginnings in 1942, it has grown into a worldwide force. Oxfam is now working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.

Oxfam has one million supporters in the UK. For every £1 donated to its general funds, 83p is spent on emergency, development and campaigning work, 10p is spent on support and governance and 7p is invested to generate future income. Oxfam has more than 700 high street shops across the UK selling donated fashion, books, music, homewares and new ethical products. It is supported by a workforce of 22,000 volunteers. Oxfam also launched the UK’s first online charity shop in 2007.

Oxfam GB is affiliated to Oxfam International, a global confederation of 15 independent Oxfams which share the same purpose.

Ashtar Theatre: Ashtar is a dynamic Palestinian theatre company with a global perspective, founded in East Jerusalem in 1991. In 2010 the group performed The Gaza Monologues, a series of stories told by the young people of Gaza – an unprecedented theatrical project involving thousands of people and 44 theatre groups from around the world. This vital theatre company brings its direct storytelling style to Shakespeare’s great masterpiece of dislocation.

Shakespeare’s Globe: Since the Globe theatre reconstruction opened for performances in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe has welcomed visitors from all over the world to take part in workshops, lectures and staged readings; to visit the exhibition and tour the Globe theatre, and to watch productions, ranging from original practices to world premières of new writing and the first play by a woman ever to be performed here.

Globe to Globe – For the first time, 37 international companies present all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 37 different languages in a kaleidoscopic, six week festival at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, starting on Shakespeare’s birthday. An opening weekend of celebrations also includes an adaptation of Venus and Adonis by the Isango Ensemble from South Africa, a public open day at the Globe to celebrate Shakespeare and the worlds’ languages, and Ngākau Toa’s Troilus and Cressida beginning the festival with a haka. Globe to Globe is part of the World Shakespeare Festival and the Cultural Olympiad 2012.
Visit www.shakespearesglobe.com

Creation Theatre Company brings a Dickens of a good show to Oxford’s The North Wall this winter – a brand new version of A Christmas Carol.

November 2011

And you can get involved in the show too.

This winter Creation is bringing a gloriously inventive new version of that classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol to a most appropriate setting – Oxford’s The North Wall Arts Centre, a converted Victorian swimming pool.

It will feature specially commissioned carols sung by the cast plus a community choir of local singers – anyone interested in getting involved should contact Creation as soon as possible on 01865 761393.

For the first time ever the company will be casting a number of their Drama Club members in the roles of Tiny Tim and Martha Cratchit. Three boys and three girls will share the roles over the four week run, offering the talented Club members a chance to share the stage with the professionals, and giving audiences a chance to spot the Creation stars of the future.

A Christmas Carol has been adapted by Richard Kidd and Conor McReynolds with music by Alex Silverman and lyrics & dramaturgy by Timothy Knapman. It has been further developed through workshops led by Associate Director, Charlotte Conquest. Cast includes John Addidson, James Bolt, James Burton, Caroline Devlin, Anna Glynn & Noel White as Scrooge. Co-Designers are Neil Irish & Sarah Bacon, Lighting Designer is Ashley Bale, Sound Designer Matt Eaton, Movement Director Vanessa Cook.

James Erskine, Creation’s new Creative Producer & Chief Executive said today:
“I’m really looking forward to my first Creation Christmas. The script is looking fantastic and the rewritten carols are beautiful. I’ve been in the Christmas spirit since I read the first draft!”

Take your seat for the perfect evening of seasonal fun & excitement as Scrooge learns a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas!

Kids to get to grips with Shakespeare’s Funny Bits

October 2011

Half term workshops show 6 – 16 year olds that The Bard knew how to have a laugh.

As all school children know, Shakespeare doesn’t have a funny bone in his body – Creation Theatre’s half term workshops beg to differ.

This October half term Oxfordshire’s young people will be able to experience ‘Shakespeare’s Funny Bits’ or ‘Put on a Play in a Week’ with Creation’s professional actors, as part of a packed programme of holiday fun.

Creation has been producing Shakespeare’s greatest texts in Oxford for 16 years, delighting audiences in venues from Mini Plant Oxford to Headington Hill Park. Creation’s education programme reaches 2,000 children every year through live performances, weekly Drama Clubs, Holiday Workshops and courses in schools.

The half term workshops aim to show kids, aged 6 -16, that Shakespeare can be fun, taking the classic characters and stories and bringing them to life through physical theatre, comedy, music and even stage combat. Creation breathes new life into dusty textbooks.

Daniel Gilbert, Creation Theatre Company’s Education Manager comments, “I’m not sure anyone would have found Fawlty Towers funny on paper, the magic of comedy is in voice, nuance, physicality and of course… timing. Children naturally identify with humour and often pick up jokes in Shakespeare that a group of adults would miss. You can never be sure what kids will produce at the end of a workshop!”

Creation half term workshops run for one day or a full week from 24 – 28 October, at venues across the city. For more information visit www.creationtheatre.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01865 766266.

Actors set up camp in dressing room sheds

August 2011

Many people may be aware of Creation Theatre Company’s summer show Antony & Cleopatra, which is currently being performed in the rooftop Amphitheatre at Saïd Business School until 3 September, but they might not know that the cast are hidden away in their own makeshift creative village.

Most of the cast have travelled to be in Oxford for the play and they have taken the nomadic spirit one step further by decorating their own temporary village of sheds which act as their dressing rooms behind the amphitheatre.

The huts are shared in pairs, which has inspired great competition for the “best” one. Whilst the actors playing Cleopatra and her attendant Charmain have opted for fairy lights, swathes of fabric and roses inside their hut, the men have opted for large collages of popular culture cuttings, poems and retro posters.

Marketing Manager Cheryl Pearce said today “The actors have really imbued the sheds with their personalities. They are having a wonderful time performing at Said Business School and it shows!”

If theatre-lovers would like to send the actors anything to display in their sheds, to make them feel at home or to raise a smile, Creation is offering two tickets to the person who sends the best item.

Post should be addressed to Creation Theatre Company, 3rd Floor Cherwell House, 1-5 London Place, Oxford OX4 1BD and the winner will be named by Thursday 25 August.

Creation Theatre to perform fundraiser for Sobell House

June 2011

On Thursday 18 August Creation Theatre Company will hold a benefit performance of Antony & Cleopatra at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford to support the Sobell House Hospice Charity. All net profits from the show will be donated to Sobell House, which provides care and support to thousands of residents and their families across Oxfordshire who are affected by terminal illness.

Creation Theatre Company, also a registered charity, presents lively and accessible open air Shakespeare productions and workshops in extraordinary Oxford locations. This summer its new production, Antony and Cleopatra, is being performed in the stunning rooftop Amphitheatre at the Saïd Business School until 3 September.

David Parrish, Creation’s Artistic and Executive Director, said today “We are delighted to be supporting this worthy Oxford charity. We are aiming for a sell-out on this day so that the donation can be the biggest possible. Anyone who wants to support Sobell House by watching our show should book for 18 August.”

The famous lovers will be played by two of Creation’s favourite actors – Tom Peters (who has played Macbeth, Robin Hood and Jesus in past Creation productions) and Lizzie Hopley who has both acted with the company (she was a spirited Beatrice in Creation’s 2004 and 2008 productions of Much Ado About Nothing) and has also written several Creation shows including The Snow Queen, The Oxford Passion & Hans Christian Andersen’s Magical Tales. Helen Tennison directs with designs by Neil Irish and Sarah Bacon.

First day of rehearsals for Antony & Cleopatra

June 2011

Today a company of eight actors started rehearsing Creation Theatre’s new production of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra which will open at the Rooftop Amphitheatre at the Saïd Business School in Oxford 8 July – 3 Sept (press night 19 July). Tom Peters & Lizzie Hopley will be playing the title roles.

They are two of Creation’s favourite actors – Tom has played Macbeth, Robin Hood and Jesus in past Creation productions and Lizzie has both acted with the company (she was a spirited Beatrice in their 2004 & 2008 productions of Much Ado About Nothing) and has also written several Creation shows including The Snow Queen, The Oxford Passion & Hans Christian Andersen’s Magical Tales. Helen Tennison directs with designs by Neil Irish.

Other members of the cast are: Dominic Brewer playing Caesar, James Brewer as Pompey & Agrippa, James Hayward as Lepidus, Lucy-Anne Holmes as Charmian, Richard Kidd as Enobarbus & Raewyn Lippert as Octavia & Iras.

The Amphitheatre at the Saïd Business School is a beautiful and atmospheric performance space well suited to showing both the colourful hedonistic passions of Egypt and the organised, clinical ambition of Rome in Antony & Cleopatra. The building was designed by the same team responsible for the new Royal Opera House in London and this will be the third time Creation have used this unique performance space where they have previously performed acclaimed productions of Twelfth Night and Romeo & Juliet.

A new pair of hands for Creation Theatre

April 2011

We have appointed a new pair of hands to take the reins from David Parrish when he leaves Creation!

We’re properly thrilled to announce that the very talented and generally marvellous James Erskine will be joining us in the role of Creative Producer and Chief Executive. James, who is 32, is currently a Producer at The Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, as well as running his own production company, Hush Productions. In fact you may already be familiar with his work, as he was the driving force behind Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour, which has toured open-air Shakespeare to venues across Europe (including Oxford) since 2007. Best of all, he is as passionate as we are about site-specific theatre – leading him to present productions in spaces as diverse as a Roman amphitheatre and the back seat of a moving car.

James said “I have long been an admirer of David’s work with Creation; delivering great work in such unexpected places. Creation is a theatrical force of nature and the environs of Oxford provide the ultimate stage. The possibilities are mouth-watering!”

Jeanne Wesson, Chair of Creation’s Board of Trustees, said “Although we are sad to be saying farewell to David Parrish after all these years, we are thrilled to be welcoming James Erskine. We believe he has the experience, passion and youthful energy to direct Creation Theatre Company at this time. We look forward to him producing theatre that will delight residents and tourist alike in the time honoured fashion of our lively site-specific tradition.”

James will be relocating to Oxford with his partner Jasmine Burnley, a Policy Advisor for Oxfam, and 6 week-old baby Albert.

In the meantime it’s business as usual – booking is now open for Tales from King James at the beautiful St Barnabas Church in Jericho, and Friends Booking for Antony & Cleopatra opens on Monday 9 May.

Creation’s Young Critic Competition Winner

April 2011

Creation are happy to announce that Arthur McBain, 18 years, has won our Young Critic Competition for Doctor Faustus. We had loads of great entries and would also like to mention two other young reviewers to watch out for in the future: Ruolin Wang and Conor Mosedale.

Have a read of the review that we thought was just brilliant (watch out Lyn Gardner):

Faustus can go one of two ways, And this production most certainly anchored itself in the better of the two!

Lines were delivered in a precise and detailed way, with Gus Gallagher
(Faustus) and Gwynfor Jones (Mephistopheles) giving the charm and cunning the play deserves. I was very impressed by the imaginative use of physical work from the rest of the ensemble which definitely cast a mystical mood through the bookshop basementthis was especially present in the ‘seven deadly sins’ scene where the strong cast of five moulded the various characters with creativity and evil!

I was quite disappointed, however with the decision to modernise some of the language and translate Marlowe’s original Latin lines into English. Having said that, this decision did make the play more accessible and easy to follow.

The crooked stage and backdrop of book cases did give the play a tremendous sense of mood, along with very snappy lighting and sound effects, which, were not taken too far. For example, the final scene where Lucifer drags Faustus down to Hell could have been very easy to over dress, but instead Faustus was given a quick and simple demise, something which I believe just makes it even more poignant how wasted Faustus’ life had become.

“Ugly hell gape not! Come not, Lucifer”, I beg to differ, Lucifer come againI’m booking more tickets!

Written by Arthur McBain

Young Critic Competition tag line

New venue for Creation’s Tales from King James

April 2011

This May Oxford’s Creation Theatre Company will be marking the 400th anniversary of the first publication of the King James Bible with a brand new piece, Tales from King James. Due to problems with the state of the roof in their original venue, New Road Baptist Church, this production will now be performed at St Barnabus Church in Jericho, Oxford 14 May – 11 June (Press night 17 May). Box Office 01865 766266 or online at www.creationtheatre.co.uk.

In true Creation style this colourful and quirky condensed version of the famous book will provide a theatrical race through the ‘best bits of the Bible’ that is accessible for both a sophisticated Bible-literate audience and for children and those who know little of the Bible and its timeless stories. Tales from King James will be highly visual and energetic, thought provoking and often very funny – it will tell these well known stories in a completely new way using both modern and Jacobean language. The play has been devised by Director, Helen Tennison with the two actors – Tom Peters and Raewyn Lippert, the Creative Producer is David Parrish.

The impact of the King James Bible, which was first published on 2 May 1611, is still being felt in the way we speak and write today. Director Helen Tennison says:
“The language of the King James Bible has had a profound impact on British culture. When approaching this project we wanted to explore how the vocabulary, phrases and stories of this Bible live with us today in all strands of society and a long way beyond the church. We decided to take two characters: a man and a woman who have been thrown into exile, on a journey through some of our favourite stories. Whilst the pressures of exile may lead the man and woman to despair, the messages they discover in the stories and phrases of the King James Bible lead them to courage, forgiveness, reconciliation, love and hope.”

Tom Peters is a Creation stalwart appearing in many of the company’s productions since 2003 including: Orsino in Twelfth Night, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, title roles in Macbeth and Robin Hood, Jesus in The Oxford Passion, and in 2008 in a one man show, Shakespeare’s Saint & Sinners. He has also performed for leading companies all over the UK – at The National Theatre, Old Vic, Salisbury Playhouse & Harrogate Theatre.

His wife, actress Raewyn Lippert, trained at the Oxford School of Drama and has performed extensively in both the UK and New Zealand. Her most recent theatre appearances have been in a season of shows at Hever Castle where amongst other roles she played Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, & Luciana in Comedy of Errors. In 2003 she was Miranda in Creation’s The Tempest.

Creation are delighted to be performing Tales from King James in a venue new to the company. St Barnabus, built in 1868/9, has a tower which is a landmark in that part of Oxford and this church has been written about by Hardy, Betjeman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Trollope & Waugh plus it has featured in Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse!

For further info, interviews, images or review tickets please contact Cheryl Pearce 01865 761393 or Judith Cheston 01608 661198

Tales From King James press release

Doctor Faustus run extended by one week

April 2011

The run of Creation Theatre Company’s Doctor Faustus has proved so popular that the season has been extended at the atmospheric Norrington Room at Blackwell’s Bookshop on Broad Street, Oxford. Over 6800 people have booked to see the production so far.

To cope with demand, extra seats have already been fitted into the basement room which houses hundreds of shelves of books. Now, in an unprecedented move in Creation’s 16 year history, the run has been extended by a further week with a total of 1200 extra tickets released – but cannot be further extended, so the show must end on 2 April.

Kate Stilborn, Regional Manager for Blackwell’s in Oxford says, “we continue to be delighted with the popularity and success of Creation’s Doctor Faustus in our world famous Norrington Room. It has been a pleasure welcoming many new faces into our bookshop and sharing with our customers this unique theatrical experience.”

Doctor Faustus’ overwhelming desire for knowledge is a passion many Oxford residents may know themselves, but the power he expects it to bring him, leads him to conjure up the demon Mephistopheles and ultimately to sell his soul to the devil. Played amongst the bookshelves, this is one of Creation’s most intimate and unusual performance venues, providing a totally unique theatrical experience.

For further info, interviews, images or review tickets please contact Cheryl Pearce 01865 761393 or Judith Cheston 01608 661198

Demand forces extra sears for theatre at Blackwell’s Bookshop

April 2011

Creation Theatre Company’s Doctor Faustus in the Norrington Room at Blackwell’s is proving to be such a hit that Creation and Blackwell’s have had to work together to increase the number of seats available.

In the first three weeks of the run that opened on the 4th February, every seat available has been sold and most days many people are disappointed that they cannot get the tickets that they want.

Nearly 6,000 people have booked tickets so far but, never wishing to turn away punters, the company approached Blackwell’s to agree a change in the layout, ordered more seats from the factory supplier and is now delighted to have squeezed in a further 35 seats (1,050 over the remaining performances).

David Parrish, Artistic and Executive Director of Creation said:

“It is just wonderful that the show is proving to be so popular, the capacity is quite small as it is a bookshop. We never like to turn people away so it has been *really frustrating that we have had to. So I am delighted that we have managed to fit in some extra places”.

The performances have received excellent press and audience feedback including one audience member who said:

“I have seen Faust and Doctor Faustus at least a dozen times and this is certainly the best version I have ever seen. I am now coming back for my third visit with a new set of guests!”

Others have commented on the remarkable experience and excitement of seeing an old friend, Blackwell’s Bookshop transformed into a theatre space.

Doctor Faustus continues at Blackwell’s Bookshop until 26 March 2011
Box Office 01865 766266 or online at www.creationtheatre.co.uk

Doctor Faustus is an ideal play to set within a room housing hundreds of shelves of the world’s books as it is Doctor Faustus’ overwhelming desire for knowledge, and the power he expects it to bring him, that leads him to conjure up the demon Mephistopheles and ultimately to sell his soul to the devil. The audience is in galleries on all four sides of the acting area, amongst the three miles of bookshelves housed in the Norrington Room. It is a totally unique theatrical experience.

For further info, interviews, images or review tickets please contact Cheryl Pearce 01865 761393 or Judith Cheston 01608 661198

Doctor Faustus extra seats

Image: Judie Waldmann

Creation Director takes to the West End

April 2011

Zoe Seaton, who has directed many a production for Creation, including the landmark A Midsummer Night’s Dream productions of 2002 and 2005, is bringing a show to the West End. Check it out!

Puckoon Version 2

Happy Birthday King James Bible

February 2011

Join Creation Theatre Company to say Happy Birthday to the world’s best selling book.

This May sees Oxford’s Creation Theatre Company marking the 400th anniversary of the first publication of the King James Bible with Tales from King James at New Road Baptist Church, Bonn Square, Oxford 13 May – 11 June (Press night 17 May). Box office 01865 766266 or online at www.creationtheatre.co.uk.

In true Creation style this colourful and quirky condensed version of the famous book will provide a theatrical race through the ‘best bits of the Bible’ that is accessible for both a sophisticated Bible-literate audience and for children and those who know little of the Bible and its timeless stories. Tales from King James will be highly visual and energetic, thought provoking and often very funny – it will tell these well known stories in a completely new way using both modern and Jacobean language. Helen Tennison will direct a company of two actors – Tom Peters and Raewynn Lippert. Public booking for the show opens next month.

The impact of the King James Bible, which was first published on 2 May 1611, is still being felt in the way we speak and write, says Stephen Tomkins in the current issue of BBC History magazine:

“No other book, or indeed any piece of culture, seems to have influenced the English language as much as the King James Bible. Its turns of phrase have permeated the everyday language of English speakers, whether or not they’ve ever opened a copy. The Sun says Aston Villa “refused to give up the ghost”. Wendy Richard calls her EastEnders character Pauline Fowler “the salt of the earth”. Daily Mirror fashion pages call Tilda Swinton “a law unto herself”. Though each of those phrases was begotten of the loins of the English Bible, it’s safe to say that none of those speakers was deliberately quoting the Bible to people they expected to be familiar with its contents. The linguist David Crystal has counted 257 phrases from the King James Bible still in contemporary English idiom.”

For further info, interviews, alternative images or review tickets please contact Cheryl Pearce 01865 761393 or Judith Cheston 01608 661198

Tales from King James

Zoe Seaton to direct in the West End

January 2011

We are pleased to announce that Zoe Seaton, who has directed many a production for Creation, including the landmark A Midsummer Night’s Dream productions of 2002 and 2005, is bringing a show to the West End.

As the Artistic Director of Big Telly Theatre Company, Zoe is touring Spike Milligan’s Puckoon throughout Ireland – and the tour even includes a West End debut at the Leicester Square Theatre, London. The company is not affiliated to Creation but the whole team here wish her all the best! If you would like to see the show you can catch it in London between Tuesday 8th – Sunday 27th March. For ticket booking call the Leicester Square Theatre Box Office on 0844 873 3433 or visit www.leicestersquaretheatre.com

Become a fan of Big Telly on facebook at Big Telly – or for more info and Ireland tour dates please visit the Big Telly website at www.big-telly.com

Puckoon

Dr Faustus to be performed in the philosophy section

January 2011

Marlowe’s most famous play to be performed amongst more than 200,000 books in iconic Oxford shop

Next month Creation Theatre Company will be performing a new production of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus in the huge Norrington Room at Blackwell’s Bookshop on Broad Street, Oxford – the first time Blackwell’s has hosted theatre inside its world-famous bookshop.

Doctor Faustus runs at Blackwell’s Bookshop from 4 Feb – 26 March 2011
Box Office 01865 766266 or online at www.creationtheatre.co.uk
Doctor Faustus is an ideal play to set within a room housing hundreds of shelves of the world’s books as it is Doctor Faustus’ overwhelming desire for knowledge, and the power he expects it to bring him, that leads him to conjure up the demon Mephistophiles and ultimately to sell his soul to the devil. Director Charlotte Conquest and her Designer, Amy Yardley, will be creating on the basement floor of the bookshop a stage resembling a twisted grid, inspired by some of the occult drawings of the Elizabethan period and using reclaimed floor boards. This will be surrounded by an audience of approx 170 sitting in galleries on all four sides of the acting area in amongst the three miles of bookshelves housed in the Norrington Room. It will create one of Creation’s most intimate and unusual performance venues in their 15 year history providing a totally unique theatrical experience.

Experienced Oxford based actor Gus Gallagher will play the title role with Gwynfor Jones from Banbury as Mephistophilis and an ensemble of Damian Davis, Richard Kidd and Alex Scott Fairley playing all the rest of the roles between them. Aidan Treays is Movement Director, Ashley Bale the Lighting Designer, Phillip D’Orleans the Fight Director, Matt Eaton the Sound Designer and Darren Long the Illusionist.

Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford is a historic bookshop which has been providing a unique service to academics and book lovers since 1879. Today, it offers five floors of books, from the Second hand Department on the top floor all the way to the breathtaking Norrington Room, the vast academic basement built beneath the Trinity College quad, attracting academics and tourists alike. Blackwell’s is the leading academic bookseller in the UK with over 40 outlets across England, Scotland and Wales. It has built an international reputation for bookselling excellence with links to academic institutions and libraries around the globe.

For further info, interviews, images or review tickets please contact Cheryl Pearce 01865 761393 or Judith Cheston 01608 661198.

Image: Judie Waldmann

David Parrish announces departure

December 2010

David Parrish to leave Creation Theatre Company, the company he founded 16 years ago.

The Chairperson and Trustees of Creation Theatre Company have announced today that the Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of Creation, David Parrish, will be leaving the Company next year and they are starting the process of finding an inspirational replacement to lead Creation forward through the next decade.
David started the Company in 1994 presenting their first play in Oxford in 1996. Since then they have played to 350,000 attendees, held workshops for over 15,000 children and become an icon of the arts in Oxford. All this has, incredibly, been achieved without any core government subsidy, a fact David finds most satisfying as he leaves Creation to move with his family to live in Norway. Under David’s guidance the company has, rather than rely on subsidy, been hugely proactive in going out to the community both to the company’s large group of Friends and to businesses and raising the money needed to survive through the box office and from sponsorship from businesses large and small.

The company has always looked to bring exciting site specific productions to unusual venues around Oxford. Alongside their current venue, an antique Mirror Tent (Spiegeltent) at the MINI Plant Oxford, previous locations for their shows have included the Amphitheatre at the Saïd Business School, a ruined Abbey, an island in the River Cherwell, Magdalen College School, Northwall, St Michael of the Northgate, Holy Trinity Headington Quay, Headington Hill Park, Oxford Castle and Oxford Castle Unlocked. At these & other venues Creation has over the past 14 years raised significant amounts of money for charities such as Oxfam, Helen & Douglas House, and more recently for Oxford smaller charities in need via the Oxfordshire Council for Voluntary Action (OCVA).

Jeanne Wesson, Chairperson of Creation, said today, “Despite receiving no core arts funding David has achieved the most amazing things with Creation. They have had to battle dreadful floods in 2007 and awful unsummery weather in 2008 yet despite all this, plus an economic recession, Creation have had a very successful last 18 months and we all face the future with great confidence and anticipation of an exciting future for the Company. We will advertise the post in January but to ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities without serious disruption to our artistic programme, David will stay very involved with the company for the next 12 months – there will be no sudden changes at Creation. – The shows will go on!.”

For further information please call 01865 761393 or email press@creationtheatre.co.uk


Box office 01865 766266

The Merchant of Venice, Image: Bill Knight

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