Oxford: A hotspot for drama
Oxford has a very rich theatre scene. Whether it be Oxford Playhouse or the New Theatre, there are always drama’s performed by some of the best talent in Britain to keep you on the edge of your seat. Even better, there are lots of Oxford dramatics groups around so that you can go from audience member to actor. In fact, there are nearly thirty amateur dramatics groups in Oxford.
When Art Imitates Life
When it comes to drama, it’s much more than make-believe. The skills that performance requires means amateur dramatics is an excellent way to develop your confidence. Why? Because it encourages you to become comfortable in your own skin.
If you don’t believe in the character you’re portraying, the audience certainly won’t! So, amateur dramatics teaches you skills like breath control, body language and voice techniques so you can really sell the story. These are all amazing skills that you can take into the workplace, socialising and life in general.
As the king of drama himself once wrote:
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players”Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7
With the wealth of choice that Oxford has, it can be hard to decide which amateur dramatics group is right for you. We’ve whittled it down to five that can help you boost your confidence in no time!
1.Buttercross Theatre Productions
Buttercross Theatre Productions is a lovely amateur dramatics group based at the Corn Exchange in Witney. Their recent productions, Our House and The Murmuration of Starlings took place in April and May, and were left with raving reviews.
They offer professional workshops in performing. You’ll be working with industry experts to improve your performing skills, build confidence and have fun. You’ve got a wide range of workshops to choose from such as adult drama, advanced tap, or country fusion. All ages are welcome and they take pride in being super welcoming, diverse and completely non-judgemental.
Never done acting before? Not to worry, their Head of Performance, Debbie Ruth, loves to watch people grow in confidence and become the best version of themselves. Find out more to get involved!
2. Studio Theatre Club
The Studio Theatre Club is another warm amateur dramatics group and a great place to meet new people. They regularly meet for socials outside of rehearsals, so you’ll quickly get to know everyone and feel like part of the group. To join, you need to be eighteen and above, and the subscription to be a member is only £30 a year.
They operate on an open door policy, which means that play casting is pretty informal. They just require you to read for the part to see who’s a good fit for the role. This is a perfect place if you’re new to performing and want to move at your own pace. You can play minor roles or get involved behind the scenes to build up your confidence for the bigger parts.
If you want to attend, you can email them and fill out their form.
Rehearsals usually take place on Monday and Thursday evenings at Bullingdon Community Centre, Peat Moors, Headington.
3. Didcot Phoenix Drama Group
Starting a new hobby can be quite daunting, especially when you don’t have much experience. However, if you’re new to performing you’ll be in very safe hands with the Didcot Phoenix Drama Group. They’re super friendly, welcoming and have classes for all abilities. In fact, you don’t have to be into performing to join. They offer a range of activities to get involved with like lighting, sounds, refreshments and stage management. As long as you’re enthusiastic, you’ll find something here that works for you.
Didcot Drama Group put on a wide range of plays, from Shakespeare classics to murder mysteries. What makes them really unique is that they perform plays written by their own members. For example, their play No Prime Minister was written by member Emma G and won an award for the best original play at the Henley Drama Festival this year.
No Prime Minister will be performing on 17th June so be sure to get tickets. Take the plunge and sign up for a workshop. They meet regularly on a Wednesday evening from 8pm at the Northbourne Centre, Church Street, Didcot.
And, if you’re interested in writing plays, read our article on Top 5 Small Independent Bookshops in Oxford to get your hands on some classic scripts.
4. Oxford Theatre Guild
You’ll always be kept super busy at Oxford Theatre Guild. As one of the largest amateur groups in Oxford, their aim is to promote and educate people on the performing arts. They are a charity full of volunteers and committed to creating a safe and warm environment for people to express themselves. In their sixty years, they’ve produced over two-hundred shows. They are currently in rehearsals for their next show The Recruiting Officer, which will take place in Oxford Playhouse in June.
If you’re looking for something a little bit more intermediate, Oxford Theatre Guild could be perfect. You might find yourself performing at Oxford Playhouse. To get involved, you can go to one of their open auditions. They’ve also got a lot of great opportunities backstage if you’re more comfortable behind the scenes.
5. Oxford Operatic Society
Sometimes, the best way to build confidence is to throw yourself into a new challenge. If you’re ready to sing your heart out and looking for something more advanced, then the Oxford Operatic Society may just be for you.
Starting in 1907, they’ve been putting on high quality performances for decades. They regularly perform at some of the most popular theatres in Oxford including New Theatre and Oxford Playhouse.
You’ll need to be committed, as the membership fee is £17.50 a month and they perform two big shows a year. However, the hard work will be worth it because of the confidence you’ll gain. To become a member, you’ll need to audition by performing a short monologue and song of your choice. Their upcoming auditions will be taking place on the 13th June. Once you make it through, rehearsals are usually held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Botley School, Oxford City.
There’s no business like show business
When it comes to building confidence, there are many different methods. However, the skills and experience that performing arts give you are guaranteed to help you feel more comfortable in your own skin. Even if you’re not quite ready to be in spotlight, these groups give you access behind the scenes. So, take advantage of the buzzing drama groups Oxford has to offer and reap the benefits!