Shakespeare’s alive in Oxfordshire libraries this Autumn

Books are the backdrop to dance, discussion and drama at Oxfordshire County Council libraries as they host events for all ages this autumn to celebrate Shakespeare’s anniversary year.

Dancers will be interpreting Hamlet and other characters in two separate pieces: a selection of scenes from Sea of Troubles, a rare ballet about Hamlet by Sir Kenneth Macmillan, will be performed by Yorke Dance Project at The Weston Library on Sunday 18 September.

There’ll also be a companion talk and movement workshop at Summertown Library on 8 September led by Oxford dancer and choreographer Susie Crow, who danced in the original production.

And magic, mystery and mayhem come to, feature in Shakespeare Dead or Alive, at Cowley Library on Tuesday 25 October, a Crossover Dance Project which features a cast spanning six decades.

Choreographed and directed by local performance poet Euton Daley and dance artist Cecilia Macfarlane, the production also includes music and the spoken word. The show will also be playing at the Weston Library on Sunday 27 November as part of the Christmas Light festivities.

In Summertown library, scenes from Shakespeare’s plays come under the lens on Saturday 8 October in an evening of readings and discussion by actors, academics, directors and writers, Come and Talk about the Plays.

Children visiting libraries through the summer have been writing sonnets, with the help of distinguished poet Kate Clanchy and these have been added to a sonnet tree in the Bodleian’s Weston Library. Visitors can read and enjoy these – and add their own – until Sunday 18 September, when the poems transfer to local libraries from 19 September – 31 October.

A short new drama, A Rhapsody of Words, sees a group of players from Oxford Playhouse Young Company creating melody, mayhem and mirth at Cowley Library on Saturday 12 November. The young actors have made a brand new story by weaving together famous quotations and phrases from Shakespeare.

There’s drama at Kennington Library at an open rehearsal on 13 September for Mandala Theatre Company’s exciting debut production Night Light, which reflects on Pericles. Mandala is a new Oxford company with a focus on social justice.

Don’t miss a Story Museum Shakespeare Workshop at Kidlington Library on 27th October where children aged 4+ can make their own creations inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Library Service is a key collaborator of Shakespeare Oxford 2016. For more information visit www.shakespeareoxford.co.uk

Wealth of opportunities

Councillor Lorraine Lindsay Gale, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Property, Cultural and Community Services, said: “Lovers of Shakespeare and those who want to learn more about the work of the great bard will find a wealth of opportunities at Oxfordshire County Council’s libraries this Autumn.

“I’m sure these events will be very popular and I urge the people of the county to come along to one or more of the events and enjoy what’s on offer to mark this 400th year since the death of William Shakespeare.”

Rich Array

Shakespeare’s Dead or Alive is supported by Arts Council England and is part of Shakespeare Oxford 2016 a year-long festival which aims to light up the city in new and unusual ways, turning the spotlight on a rich array of Shakespearean expertise and creative innovation. A key ingredient is collaboration, with new partnerships, new ideas and new events, inspired by Shakespeare.

The festival team includes the Bodleian Libraries, Oxfordshire County Library Service, the University of Oxford English Faculty, Blackwell’s Booksellers, Oxford University Press and Experience Oxfordshire. Many of Oxford’s cultural organisations are contributing to the programme, and our local authorities are also involved in welcoming all the community into this city-wide celebration.


At a Glance Guide

8 September, 7.30pm

Sea of Troubles Movement Workshop

Yorke Dance Project

Summertown Library

13 September 12-7pm

Night Light open rehearsal

Mandala Theatre Company

Kennington Library and Village Hall

18 September, 11.30 – 4pm

Sea of Troubles Performances

Yorke Dance Project

Weston Library

8 October, 7.30pm

Come and Talk About the Plays

Oxford Arts Consultants

Summertown Library

25 October, 2pm

Shakespeare Dead or Alive

Crossover Dance Projects

Cowley Library

27 October, 10am – 3pm

Shakespeare Workshop (title tba)

The Story Museum

Kidlington Library

12 November 11am and 2pm

A Rhapsody of Words

Re-stitched Britches

Cowley Library