Drama | University of Oxford
Students perform in an open air theatre.
(Image credit: Rob Judges Photography).


Oxford University has one of the largest and most vibrant drama scenes in the country with around 30 shows performed each term. These range from new writing, modern drama and classical plays to musical theatre.

There is a huge choice of theatre spaces - from the 50-seater Burton Taylor Studio, which mounts two student productions every week, to the professional 600+-seater Oxford Playhouse, which hosts two large-scale student productions a term. Many colleges have their own theatres whilst some student producers also put on summer shows in the gardens or put on a play in a night club or chapel.

It really doesn’t matter if you don’t have any major extra-curricular hobbies. Not only is interest in your chosen course far more important, but when you get to university there are far more extra-curricular opportunities than you could have foreseen whilst at school!


There is a full-time University Drama Officer who helps students to plan, programme and publicise student productions. The Drama Officer also organises workshops and talks, which are free and open to all, and can advise those planning a career in theatre or film on graduation. Find out more from Oxford University's Dramatic Society (OUDS) or email drama.officer@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Oxford University Dramatic Society

OUDS is one of the many drama societies here that nurtures new talent and encourages involvement. It is the society which helps drama happen at the University of Oxford and is primarily a funding body providing financial support to student productions. However, it also oversees student drama more generally, ensuring it offers fair opportunities to all. It is not a ‘traditional’ drama society in the sense that it is not a group who put on plays, but is made up of a committee which meets every week to discuss funding for shows and to make decisions which improve opportunities for drama across the University. 

OUDS' passion for nurturing new dramatic talent means it works hard to introduce new students to drama in Oxford. The annual ‘Cuppers' competition and the programme of workshops in Michaelmas term aim to give new students (freshers) the confidence and experience they need to put on their own shows. The extensive and varied range of plays put on each term, for people of all levels of experience and of every interest, ensures that this is an exciting and vibrant scene with something for everyone.  Each summer OUDS tours internationally with a Shakespearean production, working in major professional venues and living as part of a touring company. The Society also hosts a national tour every summer, culminating in a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Tabs Are For Flying

TAFF is for those who work on the technical side of theatre and theatre design, including stage and production management, lighting, sound, props, and costume and set design. As a society, it provides support, advice and training for students who are interested in technical theatre. It also seeks to increase the understanding of technical theatre in the broader University theatre community. Throughout the year it runs workshops on a variety of aspects of technical theatre.

Oxford Imps

The Oxford Imps are a mixture of Oxford students and locals who perform improvised comedy - Whose Line Is It Anyway-style shows - every Monday night in a local pub, and at the Edinburgh Fringe for a month each summer. They are a training, as well as a performance company, offering a boot camp and workshops for each new generation of comedians and actors. Every year they hold auditions (no experience required!) but also need technicians, production assistants, improvising keyboard players and a keen audience to provide suggestions for the show. The Imps are a regular fixture at college balls and charity events, and put their skills to use in a wide variety of other formats, from full-length improvised musicals and radio plays to short films.

Oxford Revue

If you are interested in writing and performing sketches and stand-up then the Oxford Revue may be for you. This comedy community has spawned some of Britain’s best loved writers and comedians, from Alan Bennett and Rowan Atkinson, to Armando Iannucci and Sally Phillips, to Stewart Lee and Katy Brand.

Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor

Each year a major theatrical figure is appointed to give a series of lectures and workshops at St Catherine’s College. The current Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre is Simon Russell Beale. Previous professors include Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellen, Arthur Miller, Kevin Spacey, Meera Syal, Thelma Holt and Diana Rigg.