New Theatre Oxford
There has been a theatre on the corner of George Street for almost 170 years. The first theatre built in 1836 was known commonly as the ‘Vic’, and later as the ‘Theatre Royale’ after the company that played there. Forbidden to perform plays during the University terms, the lessee of the theatre resorted to presenting ‘concerts’ or music hall entertainment and by 1880 the theatre had become quite run down.
At the instigation of members of both town and gown a company was formed to raise money for a theatre to be used by University and town players as well as by professionals. In February 1886 the Oxford University Dramatic Society opened the second New Theatre with ‘Twelfth Night’. Designed by H.G.W. Drinkwater and with a 1000-seat capacity the second New Theatre was damaged by fire in 1892 and altered in 1908, when the seating capacity was increased to 1200.
In 1908 the Dorrill family took over the New Theatre and ran the venue for the next sixty-four years. In 1933 Stanley Dorrill determined to build ‘the most luxurious and comfortable house of entertainment in England’ and commissioned a new building from the well known theatre architects William and T.R. Milburn of Sunderland. The Milburns co-operated on the art-deco interior with T.P Bennett and Sons (who had designed the Saville Theatre in London). The Milburns extensive theatre oeuvre included the Sunderland Empire and London’s Dominion Theatre.
For bookings contact:
+44 0 1865 320760