If you’re planning a Cotswold break, particularly in one of our holiday cottages in Chipping Norton, the Chipping Norton theatre is a great opportunity to take in a show during your stay. From original productions to panto and films, there’s always something new and exciting to watch in this charming theatre.
The history of Chipping Norton Theatre
The theatre actually started out life as a Salvation Army Citadel, built in 1888. In fact, the designers and engineers also built many Victorian Music Halls, meaning the building had proportions which would later make it ideal for hosting performances! Over time, it became a furniture warehouse, before eventually being bought in 1968 by two actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Fundraising to transform the building started in 1973, with all manner of activities. Residents of Chipping Norton were each asked to donate £1 towards the works, and the theatre was eventually opened by Tom Baker in 1975.
Originally, the theatre in Chipping Norton ran a light schedule of films and lunchtime Jazz concerts. However, over time adjoining buildings were also bought and added onto the theatre, creating rehearsal spaces, bar, gallery, offices and more. A major refurbishment took place in 1996, improving the stage and other areas, and today the theatre has a strong reputation for producing and touring its own work. It’s a wonderful example of a rural theatre, funded and supported almost entirely by local people.
Events at the theatre in Chipping Norton
Chipping Norton Theatre holds all manner of events throughout the year, attracting 50,000 people annually to this charming Cotswold town. Events include regular live comedy and music, plays and, of course, their famous Christmas and New Year pantomime! The theatre also converts into a cinema, showing a great selection of mainstream and arthouse films. Whatever you decide to go an see, the small size of the theatre (it has just 214 seats) meansthat every performance feels both intimate and welcoming.
The theatre also holds regular baby-friendly performances, as well as ‘relaxed’ events, which are more accessible for people who might find a standard performance challenging, including those with Dementia, Autism and additional needs.
A full list of everything currently showing at Chipping Norton Theatre can be found on their website.
Other facilities in the theatre
Make your visit to the theatre a real event with a visit to the theatre bar and gallery, both of which are typically open around 30 – 45 minutes before every performance. The bar is a lovely space decorated by murals, mostly painted in 1996 by Graham Rust. The murals surrounding the chandelier also a hide secret message, added by the artist as a riddle!
The bar serves a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including local beers, ciders and gins. There’s also a good range of snacks, including popcorn and ice cream! It’s also possible to pre-order drink and snacks for the interval.
Chipping Norton Theatre is also home to the Owen Mumford Gallery, which showcases art of all kinds throughout the year. As well as being open around theatre shows, the gallery is open on Saturday’s between 1pm and 3pm. You can explore current exhibitions here.
There are two free long stay car parks within walking distance of the theatre:
- New Street Car Park (OX7 5NF)
- Albion Street Car Park (OX7 5BJ)
Buying tickets for the Chipping Norton Theatre
After you’ve chosen what you’d like to see, it’s easy to secure some tickets. For those organised people who like to get everything sorted well in advance, it’s possible to book your tickets online – simply select ‘Book Now’ on the event and you’ll be able to secure your seats.
Alternatively, pay a visit to the Daytime Box Office, which is found on Goddards Lane, around the corner from the main entrance to the theatre. This is open between 10am and 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10am to 1pm on Wednesdays and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.
Last but not least, you can grab last-minute tickets for performances at the Pre-Show Box Office, which opens around 90 minutes before ticketed events. Located at the entrance to the theatre, this is where you can purchase and collect tickets for the upcoming performance.
A night at the theatre is the perfect way to treat yourself during your cottage break in the Cotswolds. Team it with a lovely meal in one of Chipping Norton’s many eateries, followed by a walk through this picture-perfect traditional town, and you’ve got the makings of a magical day or evening out.
We have a lovely collection of holiday cottages in Chipping Norton, perfectly located for visiting the theatre and other attractions.