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Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

4.4
#4 of 12 in Historic Sites in Oxford
Architectural Building Historic Site
The Sheldonian Theatre, located in Oxford, England, was built from 1664 to 1669 after a design by Christopher Wren for the University of Oxford. The building is named after Gilbert Sheldon, chancellor of the University at the time and the project's main financial backer. It is used for music concerts, lectures and University ceremonies, but not for drama until 2015 when the Christ Church Dramatic Society staged a production of The Crucible.HistoryWhat came to be known as the Sheldonian Theatre was Wren's second work and was commissioned by Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury. With the triumph of the Restoration and with it the Church of England, Dean Fell, Vice-Chancellor of the University, sought to revive a project proposed in the 1630s by the late William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury: a separate building whose sole use would be graduation and degree ceremonies.In the past these increasingly rowdy occasions had taken place in the university's church of St. Mary-the-Virgin-on-High. "The notion that 'sacrifice is made equally to God and Apollo', in the same place where homage was due to God and God alone, was as repugnant to Fell and his colleagues as it had been to Laud"; with this in mind they approached the Archbishop of Canterbury Gilbert Sheldon, for his blessing, his assistance, and a donation.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
364 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • The location for formal University events is also used for public concerts. The internal decor is matched by an external architecture that provides a unique setting and ambiance. Make sure you go to t...  more »
  • From J Boy of Derby At certain times this theatre is open to view by the public when events are not on. It's worth a visit and to read of the history of the building, there is a charge£2.50 concession...  more »
  • wow, this is a holy place for education and science, full of traditions keeping the memories for the best scientists worldwide  more »
Google
  • Awe-inspiring architecture - all of the University complex is worth at least walking around outside if not visiting the interiors.
  • Beautiful building, the acoustics worked well for the concert. On the downside, don't be 6'+ (or come very very early (well before doors) to get a floor seat) as leg room is tight (the row behind me had so little room it was hard to shuffle sideways along it when empty) - I was so jammed in I started to lose circulation.
  • Great historic building. Wonderful close up view from the cupola. Seating is less comfortable.
  • Beautiful architecture from the outside, unfortunately we didn't get a chance to go inside, but it's a striking landmark!
  • Building is beautiful, but the seats are so narrow and tight, can't move. An old lady fell down then concert stopped...make sure be comfortable and warm

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Where to stay in Oxford

An inexpensive alternative to Oxford's pricey hotels, historical college room lodgings provide visitors with an opportunity to experience the city's old-world academic atmosphere without having to pass exams. Offering more than just comfortable beds and warm meals, centrally located college B&Bs provide visitors with a glimpse into the ancient world of Oxford academia. These rooms are mainly available during school vacations, when students clear out of their dormitories. At other times of year, explore the varied world of Oxford's elegant hotels and private guesthouses.
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