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12 MARCH 2010

Oxford Theatre Guild are donating £1,250 to dedicate a seat in perpetuity in the auditorium of Oxford Playhouse in memory of their founder – Daphne Levens.

Daphne, the hub of theatre activities in Oxford for so many years, directed the Guild's first production at Oxford Playhouse (Lady Audley's Secret) in 1956, and the Guild has continued to do one production at the Playhouse every year since.

In the 1940s and 1950s Daphne realised that there was a large pool of acting talent in local drama groups as well as in the University. There was also an increasing interest everywhere in new plays and new theatre techniques. She looked forward to a group that drew its strength from both sources and could support the Playhouse. In 1955 Daphne herself saw her chance when she was invited to direct The Merry Wives of Windsor in Worcester College Gardens. She wrote to all the local drama groups inviting them to audition and so began the City of Oxford Theatre Guild.

Colin Macnee, Chair of Oxford Theatre Guild says "Daphne is the reason why so many Guild members, past and present, have had a wonderful opportunity to be involved in the theatre in Oxford. Dedicating a seat to her is a fitting memory to our founder, and to one who saw so many Guild performances on the Playhouse stage”. Daphne died in 2009, aged 98.

28 NOVEMBER 2009
The Guild has continued its charitable support of community-oriented projects in theatre in Oxfordshire with a donation of £2,000 to the Pegasus Theatre: £1,500 towards the cost of its OYT Theatre Company’s tour to the European Festival of Youth Theatre, Grenoble, with its production of Caring for Lear in the summer of 2010; and the remaining £500 to sponsor a seat in the new auditorium.

In response, Dominique Cadiou, Fundraising Manager at the Pegasus, said: ”On behalf of all our young people, volunteers, trustees and staff, please do convey our gratitude to all those involved with this generous donation.”

A group of 25 young people will be directly involved in the Caring for Lear project, from researching through to writing, creating, promoting and delivering the performance and taking part in the post-show discussions and blogs. The performance will be an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear. They are just starting to research it, working with Agewell and local advocacy groups and daycare centres for older people. The young people are also involving professional scientists in the process. Based on their findings, they will develop and describe their understanding of the world of ageing from the perspective of the elderly, the young, the family, within a generational perspective, and within society more generally, through a professional performance, opening the debate for further learning. They will look at society as an arena for increasing disability as an ordinary part of human development but also as an opportunity to reconsider the place and value of the elderly, in spite of frailty, and their experience in and value to the community. Further details of the project, including details of performances in Oxford, are available on the Pegasus Theatre website.

This donation brings to £4,000 the Guild’s charitable contributions this year. In addition we paid for a plaque to be placed in perpetuity on a seat in the auditorium of the Oxford Playhouse, in memory of our founder, Daphne Levens.

10 OCTOBER 2009
The October 09 issue of the Oxfordshire Drama Network newsletter is now out, with details of productions, an invitation to take part in the ODN annual quiz, and other thoughts from our friends in Oxfordshire drama. Read it here.

23 AUGUST 2009
Jackie Keirs reports on the success of the Guild's sponsorship of the Playhouse summer workshops with a report on the Hofesh Shechter contemporary dance workshop. Read it here.

29 May 2009
As part of OTG’s ongoing commitment to supporting education in theatre we are sponsoring the Oxford Playhouse Summer School 2009. These workshops are aimed at children and young people who want to learn more about performance in theatre and we are very excited to be involved in their programme. Further details are available here. Our contribution in 2009, from the proceeds of recent productions, will be £2,000.

28 May 2009
Our autumn production will be The American Pilot by David Greig, directed by Colin Macnee, at the North Wall Arts Centre from 28 to 31 October. Daniel Whitley will be Production Manager. Auditions will be in June or early July. Find out more about the play here.
We have secured a great ‘Christmas’ slot at OFS Studio, George Street, for our final production of the year – 8–12 December. We'd like to hear soon from anyone who would be interested in directing. We're looking for a light-hearted family show appropriate to the slot. If you would like to direct in the Christmas slot and have a show in mind, or would like to direct one of the above, please contact Joe Kenneway or Colin Macnee to discuss.

19 December 2008
Following careful consideration of input on the blog and with an eye on competing productions in Oxford in summer 2009, OTG will be presenting Shakespeare's Henry V in Trinity College Gardens in July 2009, directed by Joanna Matthews.

Auditions will be held in March, with the possibility that the part of Henry will be auditioned first. The show promises lots of opportunities for old and new members alike with a cast of thousands. (Well, about 40-odd as written, perhaps truncated a little by judicious doubling.) And with a modicum of cross-gender casting, we'll even remedy the Bard's limitations to some degree.

9 October 2008
Our show at Oxford Playhouse this spring will be Arthur Miller's The Crucible. A classic of modern theatre, the show is powerful with a large ensemble cast. The show is a regular choice on school syllabuses too giving it a very broad audience appeal.
Auditions will take place early December with rehearsals beginning in January for this year's relatively early performance slot beginning 30 March. Check out a few more details here if you think you might want to audition or be involved in designing and crewing the show.


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