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Recommended Reviews for Sheldonian Theatre
10 reviews in English
Review from John G.
- 3 friends
Fell in love with this theatre on my first visit to Oxford, and have remained so during my time here. The jewel of Oxford entertainment with great acoustics.
Prking, as already reviewed is hopelessget a bus in!
Don't leave out a visit to The White Horse across the road.
Review from Stephanie P.
- 150 friends
#517 We came for a performance by Craig Ogden and the Oxford Philomusica on March 1st and our experience was just fine. The only reason I purchased our tickets was because I wanted to see the interior of the Sheldonian Theatre without having to shell out money specifically for a tour. So, I got myself one regular admission ticket for the upper level (10gbp) and a student ticket for the boyfriend (5gbp). In retrospect, I probably could have gotten myself a student ticket as well since I do have a student ID card.
Anyways, the interior just wasn't impressive and I have seen so much better back home. Sure, people can judge me for what I'm saying and tell me that I don't know the history behind the Sheldonian but, I say, history does not incredible make. The upper level benches were painted a sickly red color to make up for the faded wood, but it made the entire place look rather tacky. I also didn't appreciate the clutter on the ground floor, with chairs piled high behind the main stage. I'm sure it's because there's nowhere else to store them, but it's still unsightly.
The performance, however, was excellent. We enjoyed the entire experience and would rate Craig Ogden a 5 and the Oxford Philomusica a 3.5. We're actually returning next Saturday (the 17th) for a Sheldonian anniversary concert, so that should be enjoyable. I'll update my review then!
Review from Qype User (maveri…)
- 42 friends
- Qype User maveri…
Even if you are visiting Oxford for a short period of time, you should really try to see the Sheldonian Theatre. The Theatre was built in the 1600's by Christopher Wren and has been in active use ever since by the university, amateur players and conference organizers.
If you can see a show here, you will be amazed by the interior of the building. Extraordinarily precise baroque architecture and perfect acoustics. A great venue for musicals. If you can see a musical here, i would recommend it.
One word of advice: the seats aren't particularly comfortable (sometimes hard wooden benches), so if you can smuggle a cushion in, good for you!
Review from M L.
- 0 friends
A 70 foot span, no Gothic vaulting or columns to hold it up - the ceiling of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. This was in 1663 and a real poser for Sir Christopher Wren - all before pocket calculators and Google.
How did he do it?? Well, come and see for yourself, climb up to the Cupola and stand on the very ceiling - you might not want to thud across it, knowing it's 340 years old and just a big bunch of space for 60 feet below.
If you're interested, Wren actually achieved the 70 foot feat by creating a matrix of trussses, which rotate and interlock with each other, a bit like weaving - yes woven wooden beams and that was a first! Just hope it'll last! At least long enough for your safe visit.
You can be reassured that when inspected, the surveyors considered it likely to '...remain in such good Repair and Condition, for one hundred or two hundred Years yet to come' (1720). Mmmmm.
(It has been checked more recently, by the way.)
Up in the Cupola itself, wonderful views of Oxford across all points of the compass.
And all this, without even mentioning the imposing Theatre hall itself. Look at the other side of the ceiling, from bottom up and view the magnificent painting by Robert Streaker, created from 1668-1669. Look out for Rapine, with her 'fiery eyes, grinning Teeth, sharp Twangs, her Hands imbrewed in Blood, holding a Bloody Dagger in one hand, in the other a Burning Flambeau..' She's nice, but maybe think twice about asking her on a date.
The Theatre is the ceremonial hall of the University and is named after Gilbert Sheldon, Warden of All Saints College and later Archbishop of Canterbury, who paid for its building between 1664-9. It was the first major design (did I forget to mention that before?) of Sir Christopher Wren, Professor of Astronomy (1632-1723). It is now used for lectures and concerts. Well worth the £3.00 entrance fee. (Parachutes extra.)
Review from Qype User (mood…)
- 20 friends
- Qype User mood…
The Sheldonian theatre, one of the most famous buildings in Oxford plays host to numerous talks, concerts and theatre productions throughout the year. As well as this, it is central to the University in that all students both matriculate and graduate at the theatre (although it is being refurbished at the moment). As such, if you happen to go past in early October or during one of the many graduation ceremonies throughout the year; you will see students in sub-fusc, looking quite regal!
Review from Qype User (Sharki…)
- 5 friends
- Qype User Sharki…
A great piece of architecture, but unless you sit in the expensive seats directly in front of the performers, the acoustics are peculiar to say the least, and various 'features' can obscure you view.
All but the expensive seats are also only benches (no back support) so you have to be pretty able bodied. The only way to reach some seating is to climb over other seats.
Although I have been there several times and enjoyed a variety of performances, I just can't help thinking...'If this place catches fire, we are all going to die'.
So my advice is: Sit near an exit, and wear running shoes.
I have never sat up 'in the gods', but that must be quite and experience, and not for the faint hearted.
You need a good knowledge of Oxford to find a parking space near the Sheldonian. There are disabled parking spaces in Broad Street, and if you are in a wheel chair I am guessing you will be allocated a prime position and will probably be the most comfortable person in the building.
Review from Qype User (damien…)
- 2 friends
- Qype User damien…
the sheldonian theatre is a great attraction in oxford on the amazing broad street.
this location is great for students and locals and also the tourists.
this is a great english traditional university that anyone in oxford should pay a visit too.
Review from Qype User (Finder…)
- 1 friend
- Qype User Finder…
The Sheldonian is a beautiful building on Broad Street. The inside is equally impressive as the outside and the theatre is a must for classical music lovers. They present all types of concert from a solo recital to the massed ranks of the Oxford Bach Choir. Our Oxford team rated the theatre in their top 5 venues in the area.
Review from Qype User (Flic…)
- 60 friends
- Qype User Flic…
Ah, the beautiful Sheldonian. This is definitely a big part of the dreaming spires aspect of Oxford and is a must if you're after pretty buildings. Inside is equally impressive, with a big domed roof, stalls and seats all around at different levels. The design is quite similar to Shakespeare's Globe, and as Maverick says, the seats are unfortunately of a similar comfort level. One tip though, is to go near the top: if you sit on the back row, you get a back rest and a huge seat and can enjoy whatever you're seeing in relative comfort. You could probably sit here for hours even if there were nothing on, just staring at the pretty lights dotted around the room (if slightly spoilt by the glowing Fire Exit signs) and the magnificent chairs at the front. Anyone with delusions of royalty can sympathise with the urge I get every time to sit on one of the thrones and don a crown. The acoustics are fantastic and it's well worth checking out the Oxford Symphonia when they play here, as the sound just fills the room and transports you away. Events are always advertised on posters or signs outside, with details of how to get tickets. Most events are musical or university based, with Matriculation and Graduation being the ceremonies to watch out for. Matriculation is when all new students are enrolled in the university and is one of the most traditional events remaining. Students from colleges all around town process in their gowns and sub fusc to the Sheldonian, where they queue outside and then take part in a brief Latin ceremony welcoming them into the university. Definitely worth watching, even if the behaviour afterwards may not be quite what you expect from studious academics (it usually involves people dressed as giant animals...)
Review from Qype User (natkin…)