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New Theatre Oxford

New Theatre Oxford

New Theatre Oxford Overview

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.

The third New Theatre opened in February 1934 and with a wonderful revolving stage (mechanism extant) and increased capacity of 2000 (1,710 seated) attracted all the great dramatic actors, popular and operatic singers and musicians, music-hall entertainers and matinee idols of the age to Oxford. The New’s renowned annual pantomimes (with Vera Legge’s famous Oxford Babes during the war years) became an Oxford family ritual.

This was the golden age lasting until the advent of television in the 1950’s when running large theatres became increasingly difficult.

In latter days musicals and play productions were supplemented by pop and rock concerts.  In 1972 the Dorrills were bought out by the provincial theatre chain Howard and Wyndham, and in 1977 Apollo Leisure took over the lease of the theatre renaming it ‘The Apollo’. Apollo Leisure were bought out by SFX in 1999, followed by Clear Channel Entertainment in 2001. Following a refurbishment in 2003 the theatre reverted back to the name New Theatre, with Clear Channel Entertainment's theatre division becoming Live Nation two years later.

The theatre is now owned by The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) who are the biggest theatre owners in the country, owning 40 theatres across the UK.

Audiences at the theatre can once again see leading opera and ballet companies, from Welsh National Opera to the English National Ballet, contemporary dance, hit musicals like Chicago and Guys and Dolls, and of course sell-out pop concerts. The venue’s current capacity is 1785 and the building is not listed.

Book a tour of the New Theatre here.

Sat 20
Jan 2018
Vampires Rock: The Ghost Train
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 21
Jan 2018
Johann Strauss Gala
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 24 - Thu 25
Jan 2018   Jan 2018
Peppa Pig's Adventure
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 26
Jan 2018
The Chicago Blues Brothers
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 27
Jan 2018
Elkie Brooks
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 01
Feb 2018
The Johnny Cash Roadshow
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 03
Feb 2018
Frankly Sinatra
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 04
Feb 2018
Anton and Erin - From Broadway to Hollywood
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 07
Feb 2018
Banff Mountain Film Festival 2018
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 09
Feb 2018
An Audience With Michael Bolton - My Life Story
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 10
Feb 2018
Someone Like You - The Adele Songbook
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 13 - Sat 17
Feb 2018   Feb 2018
Cilla - The Musical
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 17 - Sat 12
Feb 2018   May 2018
New Theatre Backstage Tour
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 20
Feb 2018
Richard Alston Dance Company
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 21
Feb 2018
Jonathan Pie: Back To the Studio
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 22
Feb 2018
Ellen Kent's Rigoletto
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 23 - Sat 24
Feb 2018   Feb 2018
Ellen Kent: Madama Butterfly
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 25 - Tue 27
Feb 2018   Feb 2018
Michael McIntyre: Work in Progress
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 28
Feb 2018
Variety Night with Grayson Perry, Sir Michael Parkinson, Gareth Malone & more
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 01
Mar 2018
G4
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 03
Mar 2018
Buddy Holly and The Cricketers with The English Rock and Roll Orchestra
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 04
Mar 2018
TEDxOxford
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Mon 05 - Thu 08
Mar 2018   Mar 2018
Tango Moderno
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 09
Mar 2018
Jake Bugg
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 10
Mar 2018
Paul Carrack
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 18
Mar 2018
England Legends Live! - In Conversation with Peter Shilton, Ray Wilkins and Terry Butcher
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 21
Mar 2018
John Bishop - Winging It
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 23 - Sat 24
Mar 2018   Mar 2018
Sutra
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 29
Mar 2018
Mercury: The Ultimate Queen Tribute
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 30
Mar 2018
A Vision of Elvis
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 31
Mar 2018
Circus of Horrors
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 03
Apr 2018
Justin's Band
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 05
Apr 2018
Public Service Broadcasting
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 06
Apr 2018
Sister Act Live Choir
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 18
Apr 2018
Beth Hart
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 19
Apr 2018
Barry Steele & Friends - The 30 Special The Roy Orbison Story
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 21 - Sun 22
Apr 2018   Apr 2018
My First Ballet - Swan Lake
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 24
Apr 2018
Menopause: The Musical
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 25
Apr 2018
Motown's Greatest Hits: How Sweet It Is
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 26
Apr 2018
Jason Manford - Muddle Class
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 27
Apr 2018
Bryan Ferry
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 28 - Sun 29
Apr 2018   Apr 2018
Dara O Briain - Voice of Reason
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 01 - Sat 05
May 2018   May 2018
Thoroughly Modern Millie
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 06
May 2018
The Waterboys
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 08 - Sat 12
May 2018   May 2018
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 16
May 2018
Brian Conley - Still The Greatest Entertainer (In His Price Range)
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 17
May 2018
The Illegal Eagles
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 18 - Sat 19
May 2018   May 2018
Bill Bailey - Larks In Transit
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 20
May 2018
Boot Led Zeppelin
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 25
May 2018
Kevin & Karen
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 26
May 2018
Joe Lycett: I'm About To Lose Control And I Think Joe Lycett
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 29 - Sat 02
May 2018   Jun 2018
9 to 5 - The Musical
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 03
Jun 2018
My Dad Wrote A Porno Live
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 05
Jun 2018
Tim Vine - Sunset Milk Idiot
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 14
Jun 2018
David Byrne - American Utopia Tour
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 17
Jun 2018
Les Musicals
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Mon 18 - Sat 23
Jun 2018   Jun 2018
Hairspray
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 05
Jul 2018
The Carpenters Story
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 06
Jul 2018
The Dreamboys
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 07
Jul 2018
ABBA Mania
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 12
Jul 2018
An Evening with Sir Ranulph Fiennes
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 29 - Thu 30
Aug 2018   Aug 2018
Teletubbies Live
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 31
Aug 2018
You Win Again – Celebrating the Music of The Bee Gees
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 05
Sep 2018
The League Of Gentlemen Live Again
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 28
Sep 2018
Joan Armatrading
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 03
Oct 2018
Dave Gorman - With Great PowerPoint Comes Great ResponsibilityPoint
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Thu 04
Oct 2018
Bowie Experience
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 06
Oct 2018
Ross Noble - El Hablador
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 07
Oct 2018
Level 42 - Eternity
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Wed 17
Oct 2018
Joanna Lumley
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 30 - Sat 03
Oct 2018   Nov 2018
THE BAND: Take That's New Musical
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sun 18
Nov 2018
Show of Hands
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Mon 19
Nov 2018
Deacon Blue
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Fri 23
Nov 2018
The Australian Pink Floyd Show
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Sat 24
Nov 2018
Billy Ocean
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Mon 03 - Sat 08
Dec 2018   Dec 2018
Dirty Dancing
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 11 - Sat 15
Dec 2018   Dec 2018
Nativity The Musical
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford

Tue 16 - Sat 20
Apr 2019   Apr 2019
Calendar Girls - The Musical
New Theatre Oxford, Oxford