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Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

4.5
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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.
What 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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Sheldonian Theatre Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
489 reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and construction began in 1664. It is named after the then Chancellor of Oxford University, who made the largest donation towards the project. It serv...  more »
  • Attended a concert given by the Oxford Philharmonic. Seats were cramped but the atmosphere and acoustics were wonderful  more »
  • it is definitely one of the symbolic places of the city, beautiful from the outside and very beautiful also the interior room with the painted ceiling on which you can admire "the sciences and the arts come down to earth and overcome ignorance". A long wooden staircase leads to the dome where you can linger and read the history of the building and its creator. I was just a little disappointed by the view at the top of the dome, you are not high enough to see the whole city, you stay at the level of the other roofs. The price is not excessive. To be evaluated.
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  • Absolutely amazing venue that's full of history. Very well run with very helpful, friendly and professional staff. Very easy to find and access. We watched the kings singers this evening that were an absolutely pleasure to see in these historic surroundings.
  • Grade I listed building, full of character and history. Iconic and beautiful. Be warned this is an old old building. Most of the seats are benches with no back support and they are really, really tight on leg room. If you're going there for a concert there probably won't be a bar or a cloakroom. There is an accessible entrance but I don't think there is a lift to the top balconies.
  • Sir Christopher Wren designed & built. Fabulous Magdalen College School symphony orchestra played, and a mass choir sang. Just fabulous.
  • A beautiful piece of history in modern Oxford. Once you're inside don't forget to look up to the ceiling.
  • Great place to soak up the atmosphere and be absorbed in beautiful classical music and soaring choral pieces.
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