Oxford’s Covered Market will take on a new role in August, as it sets the scene for Creation Theatre’s performance of Don Quixote.
In a first for the traditional market building, actors will perform amongst the units using the historic site to provide the backdrop for their crazy adventurer.
In an adaptation of the classic story, audiences can expect to see the Covered Market in a whole new way, with mobility-scooter riding Don Quixote questing through the familiar avenues.
The performance runs from 23 August to 28 September and is part of a wider plan from Oxford City Council to provide events and experiences, particularly in the market’s communal spaces, alongside the traditional retail outlets.
The event is also a trial for extended or evening opening hours to broaden the Market’s appeal to the wider community.
Creation has been producing classic texts in Oxford for over 20 years, delighting audiences in venues from the University Parks and the Bodleian Library to Blackwell's Bookshop.
Oxford City Council is investing £3.1m into the Covered Market, which is Grade II-listed, to secure its long-term future. The investment includes £1.8m to secure the roof for another 60 to 80 years, and £1.3m for internal refurbishment.
Oxford Covered Market, which first opened in the 18th century, selling a broad mix of products from local and independent businesses.
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture and City Centre, said “This is a really exciting development for the market; I cannot wait to see Creation Theatre transform the market to a theatre.
“We want to see more cultural events following their lead and taking advantage of this unique building and I’d encourage others organisations to take a look at how they can benefit from the space.
“We’re investing in the long-term future of the market and we want to see it become more than just a retail space, somewhere that everyone can enjoy.”
Lucy Askew, Chief Executive and Creative Producer at Creation Theatre said "We're delighted to be performing Don Quixote in the unique setting of The Covered Market. What an amazing opportunity for audiences to join us for an evening of jokes, heroics and tears in such a wonderful historic setting. Look out for the quirky caravan and mobility scooter, which is a central part of the stage design.
“Sam and Don, our two lead actors, decide to kit out a caravan and embark on the road trip of a lifetime to the fabled Fishguard. The actors are extremely well versed at 'creating a scene' in locations across Oxford, from the Westgate to the Mathematical Institute."
Don Quixote will be performed in the Covered Market at 7.30pm between 23 August and 28 September. To book tickets, visit: www.creationtheatre.co.uk
Paul Birtles, owner of The Garden of Oxford and chairperson of the Covered Market Tenants’ Association, said “Traders are excited at this innovative use of The Covered Market, and look forward to welcoming Creation Theatre and their audiences to our unique workplace.
“We are always keen to explore ways of attracting visitors to The Market and are delighted that this may be the first of a number of such events that make use of this historic building.”