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Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

(4.4/5 based on 340+ reviews on the web)
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
  • After three visits to Oxford this was the first time that the Sheldonian had been open when I was there. The main auditorium, where students receive their degrees, is a wonder of architecture with bea...  more »
  • Beautiful building and interesting to see inside of the beautiful painting. Many stairs to climb but worth it for the exciting view!
    View original
  • The 360 degree views of the Oxford skyline was fabulous. It was worth the climb to see the ornate spires and statues. The hall was a bit like the set of a Gilbert and Sullivan play,it reminded me of a...  more »
Google
  • Place with a wonderful history. Well worth the visit
  • Absolutely stunning location. I was lucky enough to attend a graduation ceremony here and I could not take my eyes off every little detail and artwork which surrounds the inside of this building. If you can get a tour of it while visiting Oxford, do so, you will not regret it.
  • Another magnificent building off Oxford’s Broad Street is the Sheldonian Theatre, which is where many graduation ceremonies of the University of Oxford take place. It's is surrounded by a stone wall railings with the heads of Roman Emperors circling the theatre courtyard. The architect of this beautiful theatre is none other than Christopher Wren before he went on to become one of the greatest designer in English history, credited with rebuilding the City of London after the Great Fire and St Paul’s Cathedral. At the courtyard behind, I chance upon art students sketching. I wonder what’s inspiring their thoughts.
  • The building is interesting, old but not too glamorous or magnificent. The top tower has a nice view and that's it. The main room is simple and useful, not as a common theater.
  • Designed by Christopher Wren, a historic venue in the centre of Oxford.