This festive season, Oxford City Council welcomed a visit from pupils at primary schools in Wrocław, one of Oxford’s twin cities.
Thirty seven pupils from five schools in Wrocław visited Oxford as part of a “Christmas in Wonderland” themed theatre project, based on Oxford’s own Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Taking place over four days in early December, the programme of events included dance and theatre workshops, visits to the Oxford Playhouse and Oxford Castle, as well as a Harry Potter-themed guided tour.
Councillor Colin Cook, as member of the Oxford International Links committee, hosted the group at the Town Hall, where the children gave a concert of Polish Christmas carols. The group also enjoyed a trip to the Covered Market to shake hands with Życzliwek (‘well-wisher’), the gnome gifted to Oxford by the city of Wrocław.
More carols were sung when the group, joined by City Council International Links officer, Angela Charlton, visited Rose Hill Primary School to share stories and songs about Christmas in Oxford and Wrocław.
The theatre project has been running for nine years and is led by Jola Ziemba, an English teacher from Wrocław.
The visit has been filmed by students from Abingdon and Witney College as part of their work experience in a collaboration with the project that started in 2018.
“It is wonderful to see children and young people engaging in cultural activities and learning about other cultures and different ways of life at a young age. These children are the future of our cities, and it is important that we encourage understanding and nurture friendship links at all ages. I look forward to many more visits between Wrocław and Oxford in the future as we continue to celebrate our twin city status.”
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture and City Centre
"Oxford has been an inspiration for our plays since 2010 when I first brought a group of students from Wrocław. It makes me feel very happy that the project has grown over the years and that we can now benefit from and build on the potential of Wrocław and Oxford as twin cities."
Jola Ziemba, theatre project leader
Twin city links give citizens the chance to engage with other cultures and ways of life, and make these experiences more accessible through established contacts and networks in the linked cities.
Oxford has eight twin cities:
- Bonn in Germany
- Leiden in the Netherlands
- Grenoble in France
- León in Nicaragua
- Perm in Russia
- Wrocław in Poland
- Ramallah in Palestine
- Padua in Italy