Arts & Culture

The Offbeat Festival with Arts at the Old Fire Station and the Oxford Playhouse

By Sarah Edwards

Everyone loves a festival, especially one where the emphasis is on having a good time. It’s also a chance to try out shows that you might not normally go for. This year’s Offbeat Festival, in central Oxford, 22 – 30 June has whole lot of good stuff going on, some free and some not so free, but most tickets are £10 or less.

The Old Fire Station and Oxford Playhouse have more performances in more venues than previous years, including comedians and fourteen fabulous shows that can be seen before they head off to Edinburgh in August. Now in its third year, Offbeat boasts a truly eclectic programme of theatre, music, dance, storytelling, family shows, comedy and circus, sixteen of which are home grown in Oxfordshire

There’s comedy with big names like Bridget Christie, Sarah Pascoe and David Baddiell. Trump The Musical is definitely worth seeing. If theatre’s more your thing there are subjects as diverse as civil rights, philosophy, dyslexia, debt and sex to entertain you.

For more family orientated entertainment, Saturdays 22 & 29 June are the days for you; with 12 shows you are bound to discover something new and interesting. There is free fun in Gloucester Green where from 11am – 4pm you will find a life-sized interactive games zone for all ages. You can also catch shows with owls, (not real ones), a comedy club for kids, a comedy about the Blue Planet – plus for older kids a show about female scientists.

Short of a bob or two? There are more free events to enjoy with music from Oxford’s music scene at the Old Fire Station on 23, 29 and 30 June its Gallery Stage. In Gloucester Green on 22 & 23 June, Flintlock Theatre will be performing an intimate 10 minute play celebrating the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Based on the testimony of Oxford residents it explores loss, personality and remembering.

The one show which is perfect for all ages takes place in Oxpens Meadows. Now or Never is a circus with a difference. Expect the unexpected and to laugh aloud at the antics of a group of highly talented international acrobats and musicians under a star-studded big top.

For all details of shows visit