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Sheldonian Theatre

Sheldonian Theatre
Broad Street
Oxford
OX1 3AZ

About the Sheldonian Theatre

The Sheldonian Theatre, an exquisite Grade I listed building situated in Oxford’s city centre, is the official ceremonial hall of the University of Oxford. Some of the ceremonial activities that take place in the Theatre include matriculation, graduation ceremonies, Encaenia and Congregation.

This unique historic Oxford venue – designed by Sir Christopher Wren and and built between 1664 and 1669 – is open to the public to visit when not in use. It can also be hired for concerts, meetings, lectures, talks and other events.

The following is from the work of leading historian of British architecture, Sir Howard Colvin.

Elegant and strong in design, marvellously rich in craftsmanship, the Theatre has admirably served its purpose for over 350 years and today still provides a dignified and superb setting for ceremonial occasions.

Located in Oxford’s medieval city centre, the Sheldonian Theatre is the principal assembly room of the University and the regular meeting place of Congregation, the body which controls the University’s affairs. All public ceremonies of the University are performed here, notably the annual Encaenia.

The University acquired the site soon after the Restoration, and in 1664 to 1669, the present theatre was erected. Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury and a former Warden of All Souls, met the entire cost of the build and so gave his name to the building.

The architect was a young Christopher Wren, then Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, with as yet little practical experience of building. Inspired by drawings of Roman theatres, he adopted their D-shaped plan. However, the open arena of Rome, unsuited to the English climate, had to be covered.

Visit the Sheldonian Theatre website for admission prices, opening hours and guided tours.

To see an interactive map of the theatre, click here.

What’s on at Sheldonian Theatre

About An Evening with Bret Easton Ellis on ‘The Shards’

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Join bestselling American author Bret Easton Ellis for an evening at the Sheldonian Theatre. In one of only 2 UK events, Bret (author of ‘American Psycho’) will discuss his first novel in 13 years, ‘The Shards’.

£15.00 – £30.00

Tchaikovsky and Brahms with Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Before Marios Papadopoulos conducts what is surely Johannes Brahms’s best-loved symphony, the astonishing prodigy Leia Zhu takes on Tchaikovsky’s powerful and poetic Violin Concerto.

£15.00 – £48.00

Sir András Schiff in recital

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

As a prelude to the 25th Anniversary of the Oxford Piano Festival, Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra presents the Festival’s President, Sir András Schiff, in recital at the Sheldonian Theatre.

£15.00 – £48.00

Oxford Literary Festival 2023

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

The Oxford Literary Festival will return for a 9-day festival from 25 March to 02 April 2023 across multiple venues in Oxford city centre.

St Matthew Passion

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

The Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra is joined by Oxfordshire choirs and front-rank soloists for this Passiontide performance under The Queen’s College’s Owen Rees.

£15.00 – £48.00

American Journey with Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra 

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Between them, Aaron Copland and Samuel Barber defined the orchestral sound of America in the first half of the 20th century. But plenty of gems of American music remain undiscovered. 

£15.00 – £48.00

The Creation with Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

In the building where Haydn received his Oxford doctorate, the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra is joined by soloists and the Choir of Merton College for Haydn’s most inspired ‘creation’.

£15.00 – £48.00

French Pastoral with Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Nicolò Foron conducts it here alongside more beauteous music from France and Britten’s sparkling setting of French poetry, Les Illuminations

£15.00 – £48.00

Enigma Variations with Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Elgar’s dazzling, virtuosic orchestral showpiece comes after his acerbic, embittered and sorrowful Cello Concerto written in less happy times, and the rediscovered gem that is Morfydd Llwyn Owen’s sumptuous Nocturne.

£15.00 – £48.00

The Orchestral Music of Afghanistan

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Featuring new compositions by Afghan composers living in exile, this concert celebrates the rich history of traditional Afghan music at a time when making music in Afghanistan is forbidden.

£10.00 – £30.00

Bruckner Seven with Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

Sheldonian Theatre Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire

For this culmination of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra’s season at the Sheldonian Theatre, Marios Papadopoulos conducts Bruckner’s symphony here after Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2

£10.00 – £54.00


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