Arting Around – Brasenose Arts Week

Entertainment Features

Brasenose Arts Week is set to be better than ever this year with a full seven-day programme running all of third week, packed with artistic and social events, spanning across many different art forms.

Talking to Chloe Wall, this year’s drama officer, I gained a great sense of the variety of this event taking over the whole college, utilising different college gardens, the bar, the chapel, even lecture rooms, crossing over to the Frewin Annexe as well.

This year a special Arts Week committee has been created, stimulating a highly collaborative planning process and thus generating lots of new ideas and events.

“We’ve all been quite keen to have Arts week as not just drama” says Chloe, emphasising the span of activities incorporated, ranging from photography exhibitions to pottery workshops, with more of a participatory vibe offering creative opportunities to get involved.

The central event at the heart of Brasenose Arts Weeks, however, does seem to be the performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Set to be staged out in the open air of Brasenose’s New Quad, producer Chloe emphasises the atmosphere of fun and the element of “not taking ourselves too seriously” with this production – very apt for this choice of Shakespeare play and arguably a perfect approach to the summery fun of an Oxford lawn play.

With the cast and production team drawn from a Cuppers endorsed pool of college talent, this version of A Midsummer Nights Dream is keen to focus on the richness of Shakespeare’s characters, opening up the depths of their complex relationships, and even exposing a latent secret romance within the Mechanicals… The production is set to have a great visual impact on its audiences, the scenery draped in organza cloth and fairy lights, unashamedly plugging the magical aspect intrinsic to this fairy play, here substituting wings for feathers in an extended visual motif. They even hope to get the fairies climbing onto the set out of the surrounding windows – college permitting – to further the audience’s immersion in the divide between fairy and human worlds.

Although Brasenose Arts Week “doesn’t have a theme per se”, A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems to be the centrepiece of a continuing theme of magical fantasy running from the start of the ball the Saturday before right to the end of third week. Throughout the week there will be a recurring motif of escapism, Chloe explains, perfectly timed for that tense moment in Trinity term for finalists and freshers alike to find creative diversion. Many events have been tailored around a theme of ‘My favourite…’, applying to place, poem, piece of music, the list goes on.

Events such as ‘Jazz on the Quad’ are set to drive away the post-ball blues, featuring performances from The Doughnut Kings and the female a cappella group In the Pink, Arts Week thus “starting off with a bang” on Monday, complete with a barbecue and garden games.

Brasenose Arts Week, despite evident difficulties in manoeuvring around college restrictions, seems nevertheless a-buzz with fresh ideas and creative energy, promising to open up the college to town and gown alike for a series of exciting events.


BNC Arts Week Timetable:

Monday 11th May

–       10-12 am: Poetry and Coffee, New Quad

–       6-10 pm: Jazz on the Quad, plus garden games

–       7.30-8.30 pm: Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hall

–       9 -10.30 pm: Poetry and Prose Open Mic, Bar


Tuesday 12th May

  • 10 – 11 am: Poetry Brunch – Children’s Poems, Frewin Lawn
  • 30am: Broad Street Dancers, New Quad

–       3-4.30 pm: Knit ‘n’ Natter, New Quad

–       5-6 pm: Improv class – Lecture Room XI


Wednesday 13th May

–       10-11 am: Zumba

–       11-12 am: Life-Drawing, Lecture Room VII

–       2-4.40 pm: MSND, New Quad

–       4.30-5.30pm: Stage Combat Class, Lecture Room XI

–       6-6.40 pm: Oxford Imps, New Quad

–       8 pm onwards: Silent Disco


Thursday 14th May

–       12 noon – 1pm: My Favourite Place, Bar

–       4.30-7.30 pm: MSND, New Quad

–       6.30-10.30 pm: Fine Art Exhibition, Frewin Undercroft

–       8.30-10.30 pm: OU Salsa, Hall


Friday 15th May

–       10 am-12 noon: Painting on the Quad, New Quad

–       12 noon: My Favourite Poem, Lecture Room XI

–       1-2:30 pm: Shelan Rodgers, Lecture Room XI

–       6-9 pm: Platnauer Concert, Antechapel

–       9 pm: Outdoor film screening


Saturday 16th

–       10 am-6 pm: Brasenose Past and Present, Old Library

–       2-4.30 pm: MSND, New Quad

–       2-4 pm: Voice Workshop, Chapel

–       6-7 pm: Concert – My Favourite Piece, Antechapel

–       8-9 pm: DFO performance, New Quad