Welcome to the Oxford Shakespeare Company, acclaimed specialists in open-air and site specific theatre and a must-see favourite during the Oxford summer.

For the Summer of 2014 we are delighted to present Shakespeare's As You Like It directed by Michael Oakley and music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber.

Fall in love with Shakespeare’s most musical and joyful romantic comedy in an outdoor promenade production in the beautiful surroundings of Wadham College. 

It’s love at first sight when Rosalind and Orlando first lock eyes, but their passion will never survive in the glamorous but strict world of Duke Frederick. Banished from her stately home, Rosalind flees the court donning the disguise of a man with her loyal cousin Celia.

Welcome to the Forest of Arden whose inhabitants are at one with nature and everyone seems to be in love! Encountering a host of colourful characters, and accumulating chaos and confusion along the way, Rosalind must first discover her real self before true love can flourish.

All the world’s a stage...

Performances at Wadham College Oxford Monday 30th June to Friday 15th August 2014.

The OSC are celebrated for their open air, site specific performances both at their summer residency at Wadham College Oxford and across the Historic Royal Palaces sites of Hampton Court, Kensington Palace, Tower of London and the Banqueting House Whitehall.

Our shows are designed to be interactive with the environment in which they are performed, allowing the audience to enter fully into the world of the play. They are renowned for their talented actors, sensational costumes and for the quality of the live music which is individually devised for each production. 

This year we are delighted to be performing a spectacle of songs from OSC shows at Art in Action at Waterperry Gardens and the Wilderness Festival at Cornbury Park.

If you require any further information about our productions or how we can assist with educational workshops and corporate entertainments please don’t hesitate to drop us an email or give us a ring.

If you wish to make a group booking (10+) please contact Emma on 07581 751 198

All other bookings can be made through Tickets Oxford on 01865 305 305 or online at ticketsoxford.com

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The Merry Wives of Windsor 2014 © James D. Reid



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5 Star review from The Oxford Times

"It’s simply a perfect evening out for all ages."
The Oxford Times

Ticket Prices

TICKET PRICES for Performances at Wadham College Gardens
Evening PerformancesAdults £22.50
 Concesssions £17.50*
Matinee PerformancesAdults £17.50
 Concessions £12.50*
Under 5sFREE
Disabled Customers may bring 1 carer free.
*ConcessionsFull Time Students, Under 18s, Over 65s & Registered Disabled
 ID will be required.
Ways To Save 
See it FirstAll preview tickets are just £12.50
 30th June and 1st & 2nd July
Family Tickets10% off when you buy 4 tickets
 Must include at least 2 Under 18s
Groups of 10+Please contact Emma on +44(0) 7581 751 198
SchoolsBy arrangement.
Seating is unreserved tiered with back rests. Rugs available for hire.
We are open from 1 hour before the performance and cold picnics are allowed.
Babies admitted. 
Shows cancelled as a result of bad weather are non-refundable though we will endeavour
 to exchange tickets for an alternative date subject to availability for the 2014 season.


Tuesday1st July7.30pm
Wednesday2nd July7.30pm
Thursday3rd July7.30pm
Friday4thJuly2.30 pm
Friday4th July7.30pm
Saturday5th July7.30pm
Sunday6th JulyNo Performance
Monday7th July7.30pm
Tuesday8th July7.30pm
Wednesday9th July2.30pm
Wednesday9th July7.30pm
Thursday10th July7.30pm
Friday11th July7.30pm
Saturday12th July2.30pm
Saturday12th July7.30pm
Sunday13th JulyNo Performance
Monday14th July7.30pm
Tuesday15th July7.30pm
Wednesday16th July2.30pm
Wednesday16th July7.30pm
Sunday20thJulyNo Performance
Sunday27thJulyNo Performance
Tuesday29th July7.30pm
Friday1st August7.30pm
Saturday2nd August2.30pm
Saturday2nd August7.30pm
Sunday3rd AugustNo Performance
Monday4th August7.30pm
Tuesday5th August7.30pm
Wednesday6th August2.30pm
Wednesday6th August7.30pm
Thursday7th August7.30pm
Friday8th August7.30pm
Saturday9th August3.30pm
Saturday9th August7.30pm
Sunday10th AugustNo Performance
Monday11th August7.30pm
Tuesday12th August2.30pm
Tuesday12th August7.30pm
Wednesday13th August7.30pm
Thursday14th August2.30pm
Thursday14th August7.30pm
Friday15th August7.30pm

About The Show

As You Like It

Directed by Michael Oakley

Music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber

Design by Adrian Lille

Show Photos

© James D. Reid 2013

Show Reviews

Reviews for The Merry Wives of Windsor Summer 2013

Daily Info

Oxford Shakespeare Company is triumphantly back in beautiful Wadham gardens with The Merry Wives of Windsor, a tale of formidable women and thwarted fornication reimagined as a sundown prank-fest at a proper English Fête, complete with tea, tombola, and the ukulele orchestra of Windsor and Eton. Slightly bewildered by the beautiful weather, the village worthies set out to teach fat, bankerish, pinstripe-clad Falstaff a lesson in rural virtues, while keeping a tight eye on the cakes and prize-winning marrows.

Katharine Bennett-Fox plays a beautiful, brittle Mistress Ford, a perfect balance of lipstick and British repression, while her husband (David Kechnie) is the picture of a Britflick jealous man with his red trousers, facial gymnastics and frantic squirming. Meanwhile the Pages, a blissfully bumpkinesque Rob Witcomb and a fabulously over-the-top Sarah Goddard stamp on in Barbour, tweed and wellies, determined to sensibly marry off their beautiful daughter Anne (an utterly charming Rachel Waring) who is in the terrible state of being the only girl in the village. Local posh boy Fenton has his own plans for Anne, and the smugly satisfied rural idyll is soon raucous with dirty jokes and inappropriate wooing.

The small cast makes for excellent doubling up, especially from Heather Johnson, one moment waving her curlers and Hello magazine as Mistress Quickly, the next flubbing signs and mangling rhymes as Pistol the hilariously incomprehensible hoodie. Falstaff himself (Jack Taylor) plays to his weight and charm, fearlessly stumbling from suit to towel to hide and horns, as the sun goes down, the fairy lights go on, and the action takes a Wicker Man-ish turn. This marvellous mash up of rom-coms, bunting and bad ideas never fails to charm and surprise. Look out for a surprisingly moving turn from a Punch and Judy panda, pressed into service as a go-between.

Jeremy Dennis, 9th July 2013

Oxford Times

Hooray for this glorious weather, not least because it provides a welcome respite to the Oxford Shakespeare Company after several years of being thoroughly rained on during their productions.

On a sunlit evening in the gardens of Wadham College, I happily watched their latest show, The Merry Wives of Windsor, yet I would have kept warm whatever the weather because I was laughing so much throughout the show — this is a very funny production. It is not one of the more frequently staged of Shakespeare’s plays, so I was pleased to have an opportunity to see it again, and am delighted to report that it’s the most enjoyable version I’ve ever attended. This is partly due to the lively pace throughout and because they have seasoned the show with some clever contemporary references and great musical interludes from the cast — supplied by musical directors James D Reid and Nick Lloyd Webber.

Maybe this is not one for the textural purists, but audiences who enjoy theatricality will have a great time. The plot follows the misadventures of Sir John Falstaff who, amongst several other suitors, wants to wed beautiful heiress Anne. Low on funds he decides to seduce two affluent local women, Mistresses Ford and Page and steal money from them. This is all doomed to failure as the two friends show his identical love-letters to each other, and proceed to plan an elaborate revenge. Intertwined with this central plot are several other intrigues involving the suitors, jealous husbands and various comic characters, providing lots of laughs along the way.

The main reason why this Merry Wives is so outstandingly funny is because of the wit and energy of the whole cast, in particular Heather Johnson as quirky Mistress Quickly, wickedly sharp Mistresses Ford and Page by Katherine Bennett-Fox and Sarah Goddard, and a quite bonkers Mr Ford from David McKechnie. But the highlight for me was the brilliant performance of Falstaff by Jack Taylor — I’ve never seen this role done better. Even though Falstaff is a bounder, by the end of all his trials and humiliations you just love him to bits.

Director Gemma Fairlie has brought together a very successful production full of charm and humour. Setting the action at a typical English garden fete, which then seamlessly turns into a spooky wood, was genius. It’s simply a perfect evening out for all ages.

Angie Johnson, 18th July 2013

Newbury Theatre Review

Shakespeare is rumoured to have knocked up The Merry Wives of Windsor quickly, to please Queen Elizabeth who wanted more about Falstaff. It’s not performed as often as his most popular plays, but the Oxford Shakespeare Company’s version of it is a real belter – the nearest Shakespeare came to farce, and the sort of thing that the Carry On team might have come up with after watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The plot is quite complicated (and I recommend you buy the programme, which has a three-page synopsis of it), but the main gist of it is Falstaff getting his come-uppance. The production has 17 characters, played by 8 actors (although one of the characters is a Punch and Judy puppet – yes, weird is a suitable word to describe it).

The setting is an English village garden fête with a bar, cake stall, chutney stall, Punch and Judy, you get the idea. And it’s set in the beautiful grounds of Wadham College, on a lawn backed by trees.

Falstaff is played to perfection by Jack Taylor, swaggering, boastful and… large (we get to see more of him than we might want as the play progresses). His gang consists of Pistol and Nym (Katherine Bennett-Fox and Sarah Goddard with gangsta accents, Pistol’s too strong to be understood at times) and Robin (Rachel Waring). These three double up as the ladies of Windsor: Mistresses Ford and Page and Mistress Page’s daughter Anne. A lot of the intrigue is worked by Mistresses Ford and Page, with strong performances from the two of them.

The outsiders are the Welsh Parson (David McKechnie and, occasionally, Heather Johnson – I didn’t say this was going to be easy) and the French physician (Rob Witcomb) – think Python/Grail “I fart in your general direction”. In fact the whole production owes a lot to Monty Python and Basil Fawlty at his most manic. David McKechnie also takes on Master Ford and Master Brook (as an American cowboy with a Mexican moustache); the scene with Brook and Falstaff is delightful.

Heather Johnson is a feisty Mistress Quickly and David Alwyn’s combination of face, voice and body language make an impressive trio of Shallow, Slender (the puppet) and posh Fenton (there’s a reference to last year’s viral You-Tube clip of the dog chasing the deer that got a big laugh).

Add to this: mobile phone conversations, a variety of songs and a slow-mo fight accompanied by the Chariots of Fire theme on guitar, violin and kazoo, and it’s clear that Gemma Fairlie’s production is something special.

If it sounds crazy and chaotic, it is. But it’s a delight; great fun, and a wonderful way to spend a summer evening.

Paul Shave

About Us

The Oxford Shakespeare Company (OSC) has been resident for a summer season in Wadham College Gardens since 2002, taking over from the ten-year tenure of bold & saucy, meaning there has been professional summer theatre at the college for over two decades. We have presented twenty productions and achieved critical and audience acclaim.

Thereafter the company performed regularly at Hampton Court Palace (including being invited to perform the 400th Anniversary production of Macbeth in the Great Hall in 2006), Kensington Gardens (the first commercial theatre company invited to do so) and more recently The Tower of London; bespoke commissions.

The Gardens at Wadham are a wonderful setting for Shakespeare and other classic texts, and provide an added appeal to audiences, both local and visiting. The quality and reputation of the OSC has allowed us to work with pre-eminent directors since its foundation including: Mick Gordon, Guy Retallack, Chris Pickles and Bill Bankes Jones, the acclaimed Opera director and now, for the second year, Gemma Fairlie. We have a reputation for excellence in our field, receiving Time Out Critics Choice and 4*& 5* recommendations from national and local press on many occasions.

OSC Productions:


A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Cornbury Park & Wadham College.
Director: Gemma Fairlie. Music: Nick Lloyd Webber and James D.Reid. Costume: Adrian Lillie

Colonel Blood & The Raven. The Tower of London
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie.


The Comedy of Errors (Revival). Wadham College & Ken Hill House Norfolk.
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie 

The Importance of Being Earnest. Wadham College.
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie.


The Tempest.  The Walks Gray’s Inn, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Cornbury Park, Wadham College, Hampton Court Palace & Ken Hill House Norfolk.
Director: Mick Gordon. Music: Nick Lloyd Webber. Costume: Dora Schweitzer & Adrian Lillie
“A cut-above most summer Shakespeare experiences, this has it’s own rough magic. A real little charmer”. Lyn Gardner The Guardian 2010 for The Tempest

Private Lives. Wadham College
Director: Nicholas Green. Music James D. Reid. Costume: Adrian Lillie.
"The idea of presenting a Noël Coward comedy in the open sounds ridiculous but turns out to work tremendously well…A perfect evening” Jeremy Kingston The Times ****2010


Romeo & Juliet. The Walks Gray’s Inn, Cornbury Park & Wadham College.
Director: Guy Retallack. Music: Paul Kissaun. Design: Dora Schweitzer & Adrian Lillie.

Cyrano de Bergerac. Wadham College
Director: Sarah Davey Music Lisa Westerhout Costume: Adrian Lillie
“hugely enjoyable evening…it is impossible not to be drawn into this extraordinary performance.”
Oxford Daily Info for Cyrano de Bergerac

The Comedy of Errors. North Garden Lincoln’s Inn & Wadham College
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie
“An exuberant outdoor production (with) faultless performances... hugely warm and engaging, a toe-tapping, heart-warming hoot”**** The Guardian for The Comedy of Errors


Twelfth Night. Cornbury Park, Wadham College, Kensington Palace & Hampton Court Palace.
Director: Bill Bankes-Jones. Music: Nick Lloyd Webber. Costume: Adrian Lillie.
“An unflagging comic delight” Time Out Critics Choice 2008 for Twelfth Night

Telling Tales at the Tower. Medieval Palace at The Tower of London
Adapted & Directed: Nick Green.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Cornbury Park, Wadham College, Kensington Palace & Hampton Court Palace.
Director: Jilly Bond. Music: Nick Lloyd Webber. Costume: Adrian Lillie.


The Taming of the Shrew. Cornbury Park, Waterperry Gardens, Wadham College & Hampton Court Palace
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie.

The Importance of Being Earnest. Wadham College & Hampton Court Palace.
Director: Chris Pickles Music: Paul Knight Costume: Adrian Lillie.

400th Anniversary Macbeth. The Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace & North Garden Lincoln’s Inn
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie.


The Merry Wives of Windsor. Cornbury Park, Wadham College, Royal Botantic Gardens Kew, Barnsley House & The King’s Head Aylesbury.
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie.

Macbeth. Wadham College & Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie.


Love’s Labour Lost. Wadham College
Director: Kevin Hosier. Music: Lisa Westerhout. Costume: Adrian Lillie
“Make time to go and see this production. After all, what better way to spend a summer evening than laughing in the company of talented actors and an appreciative audience?”
Oxford Daily Info for Love’s Labour’s Lost


As You Like It. Wadham College, North Garden Lincoln’s Inn & The Walled Garden Basingstoke.
Director: Kevin Hosier. Music: Lisa Westerhout Costume: Adrian Lillie

The Two Gentleman of Verona. Wadham College
Director Tristan Brolly Music: Lisa Westerhout Costume: Adrian Lillie

The Winter’s Tale. North Garden Lincoln’s Inn & Wadham College
Director: Chris Pickles. Music: Paul Knight. Costume: Adrian Lillie
"The cast could not be a higher pedigree…the audience adored it. An ideal way to chill this summer."  What’s On **** for The Winter’s Tale


Much Ado About Nothing. Wadham College, Hartwell House Alysbury & The Walled Garden Basingstoke.
Director: Sarah Davey. Music: Lisa Westerhout. Costume: Adrian Lillie

Dr Faustus. Wadham College.
Director: Kevin Hosier. Music: Lisa Westerhout. Costume: Adrian Lillie
“This is a production to savour and with its emphasis on action and visual effect should be attracting visitors and locals in their droves” Oxford Times for Dr Faustus

General Information and Wadham Map

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Wadham College
Parks Road

For more information visit the Finding Wadham page on the college's website.