Oxford University Dramatic Society

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The Oxford University Dramatic Society
OUDS logo
Founded 1885
Home Page OUDS
President Leah Alicia Aspden, St Anne's College, Oxford (2023/2024)

The Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS) is the principal funding body and provider of theatrical services to the many independent student productions put on by students in Oxford, England. Not all student productions at Oxford University are awarded funding from the society. However it is rare, for example, for any student production at the Oxford Playhouse not to receive substantial funding from the society. The society funds many types of shows, mostly at the Oxford Playhouse, Burton Taylor Theatre, and the individual college theatres such as the Moser Theatre at Wadham and the O'Reilly Theatre at Keble. All productions put on by Oxford University students can use the society's services, such as the website, the auditions portal, and advice from the committee, providing their production company is registered.[1]

The Society supports a competition for Freshers (Cuppers), held in Michaelmas Term and a New Writing Festival in Hilary Term. OUDS also supports an annual National UK Tour, which culminates in a long run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[2] Previously, the society has also facilitated a Shakespeare production, jointly with Thelma Holt, touring Japan, with preview performances in the UK.[3]

The society was founded in 1885 by Alec MacKinnon.

During World War I, when some 200 Belgian refugees came to Oxford, the society lent its room to a 'Belgian Club'.[4]


Many famous actors have participated in OUDS productions. For example, in 1907 professional actresses Lily Brayton and her sister Agnes appeared as Katherine and Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew.[5] John Gielgud made his directing debut at OUDS in 1932 with a production of Romeo and Juliet in which he enlisted professional actresses Peggy Ashcroft to play Juliet and Edith Evans to play the Nurse.[6] Another notable production was when Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor appeared in a production of Dr. Faustus in 1966 with undergraduates in the supporting cast.[citation needed]

Past members and people associated with OUDS productions include:

* Note that women could not formally join OUDS until 1963. Diana Quick was the first female OUDS President.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OUDS | Oxford University Dramatic Society". OUDS | Oxford University Dramatic Society. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  2. ^ OUDS UK Summer Tour 2010 Archived 18 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine, OUDS UK Summer Tour 2010, The Master and Margarita.
  3. ^ OUDS, Oxford University Dramatic Society.
  4. ^ Harrison, Brian, ed. (1994). History of the University of Oxford: Volume VIII: The Twentieth Century - Oxford Scholarship. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229742.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-822974-2.
  5. ^ Review: The Taming of the Shrew. The Times, 7 February 1907.
  6. ^ Gyles Brandreth, John Gielgud. Little, Brown & Co., 1984.
  7. ^ Will Bowen Archived 25 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Noel Gay.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]