Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Bond director among the big names at Oxford arts festival

JAMES BOND director Sam Mendes is among the big-name visitors to this year’s Oxford Festival of

JAMES BOND director Sam Mendes is among the big-name visitors to this year’s Oxford Festival of the Arts, which starts today (Friday).

Others include Olympic 400m silver medallist Roger Black, the BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz and world affairs editor John Simpson, painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling, poet and novelist Ben Okri, and art critic and broadcaster Alastair Sooke.

Musical offerings will include performances from leading vocal ensemble the Tallis Scholars, who the New York Times labelled “the rock stars of Renaissance vocal music”.

Following last year’s free open-air opera screening on Magdalen College School’s picturesque School Field, festivalgoers can this year enjoy Glyndebourne’s production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in the same beautiful surroundings — again at no cost.

This unique outdoor location will also be the venue for big-screen showings of modern classics Shaun the Sheep and The History Boys, catering for film-lovers of all ages.

A first for 2016 will be a comedy night featuring popular stand-up performers Marcus Brigstocke, Shappi Khorsandi and Joel Dommett, set in the festival marquee with its enviable location below Magdalen Bridge on the banks of the Cherwell.

Poetry Live returns, with the winners of the festival’s regional poetry competition being joined on stage by internationally-acclaimed poet and novelist Ben Okri.

As part of Poetry Live, local secondary school children took part in object handling and creative writing workshops at the Ashmolean. They were then invited to submit poems and short stories based on “Place”, reflecting this year’s festival theme of international connections.

A new production of The Wind in the Willows at Oxford Playhouse will form the drama highlight, while a production of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost beside the Cherwell will charm Oxford’s outdoor theatre lovers.

A family-friendly culinary arts day will see the festival hub and marquee transformed into a food mecca for all ages, where visitors can taste food, learn new skills, and enjoy talks and workshops.

Other festival highlights include Game On! — an evening of games and gaming; Test Drive the Future, a day exploring the sustainable future of cars and technology; and Furious Folly, a light and sound installation on School Field, in partnership with Oxford Contemporary Music and Oxford Playhouse.

Oxford Festival of the Arts runs until Saturday, July 2. For more information, visit

More News:

Latest video from

VIDEO: Tributes paid after rugby player's death

POLL: Have your say