Oxford’s Offbeat Festival June 15-17

Offbeat is Oxford’s very own fringe festival with quirky new shows, local performers and a whole host of artistic talent. This year, the three-day event takes place from June 15-17 and offers new drama, dance, spoken word, sound art and creative workshops

Taking place at the Old Fire Station, Oxford Playhouse, New Theatre and on Broad Street and Gloucester Green, there are lots of ways to get involved and join the fun!

You can see details of the full programme here.

Seven reasons to go to Offbeat Festival

  • You don’t have to spend a penny!

There is lots of free stuff going on at Offbeat including Look Mum, No Hands! a fabulous performance on Broad Street that combines theatre, movement and acrobatics to tell a powerful story about friendship. There also have a wonderful array of creative workshops – try your hand at making postcards or zines, experimental music, join an open conversation game, a performative-model-making workshop, create a sunprint or bring the kids for an interactive nature experience.

look no hands
Look Mum, No Hands! Broad St, 2pm, June 17
workshops on glouster green
Workshops, Gloucester Green, 10am-3pm, Fri & Sat, June 16 & 17
  • The festival supports local artists telling local stories

Offbeat works hard to support local artists and most of our acts come from the local area, but this year, they’ve also got two performances all about Oxford showing on Saturday, June 17.

Local legend MC and poet RAWZ will be performing ‘My Two Oxfords’ an exploration of love, capitalism, nature, community, crime, science and religion as he reflects on his experiences of The Leys and the University. While This House Believes is a multi-genre musical looking at life in the University’s aspirational political set from the perspective of a young man from Tottenham.

RAWZ, Old Fire Station, 8pm, June 17
this house beleives
This House Believes, BT Studio, 6pm, June 17
  • You’ll see shows here for the very first time

The festival introduces new talent at Offbeat and will be bringing you Shallow Resting Place a tender-queer short play exploring relationships, break-ups and nostalgia, as well as A Night of Dance, a double dance act taking on discrimination against women and intergenerational relationships through contemporary and classical dance.

shallow resting place
Shallow Resting Place, BT Studio, 7pm, June 15
a night of dance
A Night of Dance, Old Fire Station, 8pm, June 15
  • You’ll catch daring, experimental, new work

Fancy experiencing the sonic and visual language of a Brazilian flower? Electric Daisy is a deep listening composition allowing your senses to resonate in harmony while witnessing intricate details of plant life captured in microscopic footage. Meanwhile, A Caravan Named Desire is a one-hour show exploring desire and sex work in the UK through interactive performances.

Electric Daisy
Electric Daisy, Old Fire Station, 7pm & 8pm, June 15
A Caravan Named Desire
A Caravan Named Desire, BT Studio, 8pm, June 16
  • There are classic tales told from new perspectives

An ultra-contemporary new drama and a commentary on society today that is fiercely engaging, irreverently funny and deeply moving, Milton’s Paradise Lost gets a complete makeover at Offbeat where it is told from a witty, feminist perspective.

Described as “the finest Pericles of recent years”, Flute Theatre’s adaptation of Shakepeare’s Pericles by Kelly Hunter conjures up storms, kidnaps, resurrections and emotional heartbreak. A story of loss and miraculous reunions, this beautiful romantic play is a timely experience for all audiences in our modern world.

Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost, Old Fire Station, 7pm, June 16
Pericles, Old Fire Station, 1pm, June 17
  • They’ve got a ground-breaking, autism-friendly event

Along with their neurotypical performance of Pericles, Flute Theatre are performing a production specially-adapted for autistic individuals. Participants are invited to experience the fishermen, pirates and storms of Pericles through interactive sensory games played with the actors.

Pericles for autistic individuals
Pericles for autistic individuals, Old Fire Station, 4pm, June 17
  • There are family-friendly shows

The festival kicks off with Boxes, a sensory performance all about the wonderful worlds waiting to be discovered inside a simple cardboard box. Lift the lid and encounter hidden lands and enchanting characters brought to life through light and shadow, touch, sound and smell. They also have Chrissie and the Skiddle Witch a warm and funny climate-change musical about a family trying to adapt to a changing world and connect across generational divides. Pease note,

Boxes, New Theatre, 11am June 15
Chrissie and the Skiddle Witch
Chrissie and the Skiddle Witch, Old Fire Station, 11am, June 15

What is the Offbeat Festival in Oxford?

Offbeat is a celebration of new voices in Oxford. It’s a collaboration between Oxford Playhouse, Arts at the Old Fire Station and the New Theatre, and offers live performances across these venues, outdoor appearances and creative workshops on Gloucester Green.

The festival focuses on brand-new theatre, dance, family shows, spoken word and sound art. It’s a place for you to see something which wouldn’t usually come to Oxford, a blind date of sorts with a show you could fall in love with. And – lucky you – it’s right on your doorstep.