THE Oxford Playhouse has been at the heart of the city’s cultural life since the eve of the Second World War. Since then it has weathered many a storm, but none have threatened its existence so seriously as the current crisis.

Yet even though the house is dark, the Playhouse team are continuing their mission of stimulating and entertaining their local community.

Among its efforts is a new creative opportunity, Community Playmaker, in which it is inviting the people of Oxfordshire to pick up a pen (or take to a keyboard) amd write a play themselves, with support from the Oxford Playhouse team.

The project is part of its ‘Playhouse Plays On: Creativity Continues’ programme which sees it inspiring us to get creative while its doors remain closed due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Community Playmaker is designed to get people of all ages and levels of experience, writing and sharing their plays – giving us an opportunity to be creative while staying at home. It draws on the knowledge and experience that the theatre has established from running its usual playwriting schemes for children and adults of all ages.

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Resources are available on the Playhouse website to help get people started. New content will be released each week to support writers, including blog posts written by new and emerging playwrights sharing insights into how they begin to write a play, and templates designed to help younger writers craft their ideas.

The Playhouse team will read and provide feedback on all submissions that are emailed to, and offer writers the chance of having their pieces shared online for others to read and enjoy.

Laura Elliot, the Playhouse’s programme director, says: “In these unprecedented times Oxford Playhouse wants to continue to keep people uplifted and inspired through creative activities.

“Community Playmaker is our latest offering to encourage people to have a go at playwriting, with resources and guidance from our creative team and 2020 Playhouse Playmakers. We are looking forward to reading your stories.”

Due to the pandemic, all performances scheduled at Oxford Playhouse and the neighbouring Burton Taylor studio have been suspended until further notice.

Playhouse director Louise Chantal said: “I am very proud of the Playhouse staff for their response to our temporary closure, and their determination to make sure Oxfordshire stays creative during this period.

“Our audiences have already shown their support for the theatre, and we want to ensure we continue to entertain and engage our community throughout this time.

“Community Playmaker seemed like a natural extension to our existing writing programmes.”

As well as challenging us to channel our inner Pinter, Miller or Stoppard, the Playhouse is challenging us to creative by releasing a daily challenge on Facebook and Twitter,

There are also online workshops for all ages and creative masterclasses

Louise adds: “We hope with our Playhouse at Home programme we can help you stay uplifted, inspired and creative during these uncertain times. The creativity continues.”