Continuing our exploration of Oxford’s Covered Market, where Don Quixote is soon to be performed, we’ve been delving into the market’s independent spirit. With the friendly and welcoming nature of its unique indie stores, this is a venue that perfectly suits our show – our performance of Don Quixote is just as quirky as the places which will surround it. To discuss how the market can be a nourishing environment for all things indie, we spoke to Rosie Jacobs from Independent Oxford.
“We started Independent Oxford about 4 years ago with a view to creating a platform which would support and promote independent businesses in Oxfordshire. The aim was to establish a community for independence – there is a real lack of community around small businesses, so we wanted to create a space where these businesses could work together and gain support.”
One such space is the Indie Oxford Market Place, a pop-up store inside The Covered Market where many small local traders can come together and utilise the space for their business in whatever form it might take.
“We brought together the Indie Oxford Market Place for a month last December and it was phenomenally successful. This year we are growing to an even bigger unit with a downstairs space for retail and an upstairs space for businesses with a different nature of product to sell – workshops, talks, and potentially performances!”
The project is not only increasing in size, but is also set to stay for a whole four months this time round. From September to December the Market Place will be taking The Covered Market by storm.
“The pop-up is a kind of pilot to test the waters for a longer term project – our goal is eventually to make something more permanent. Local indies can flourish in this difficult economic climate, but they need us to take some of the risk away by providing spaces, facilities and invaluable experience.”
Creation certainly couldn’t think of a better place for it; what is it about The Covered Market that suits this remarkable project and the whole Independent Oxford ethos so well?
“The Covered Market is the heart of the independent scene in Oxford, and moreover, it’s the historic centre of the city itself. Housing the Indie Oxford Market Place under its roof makes perfect sense as it is bringing even more local attention and energy into the area – the whole quarter could become the independent alternative to the Westgate.”
With this dream being set into motion, it seems even more achievable if we all come together to make it happen.
So how can people show support?
“Part of what we’re trying to do is encourage everyone to shop locally and thoughtfully, to direct energy back into Oxford and the people who care about it. But more immediately we have a crowdfunder asking for anything people can contribute towards making the Indie Oxford Market Place happen as successfully as last year.”
Independent shops, local trade, site-specific theatre that immerses you in Oxford’s rich heritage are brilliantly supported by places like Independent Oxford, which contributes to The Covered Market becoming increasingly vibrant and even more full of life to ensure its rich history continues.
Book tickets for Don Quixote here or call 01865 766266.