Oxford Festival of the Arts is returning after two years of being online inspired by the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the globe.

And OFA2022 will be a celebration of the world in a multitude of ways.

Artists will represent a whole tapestry of cultures from the Taiko Drumming of Japan to the qanun of the Middle East; the fusion of East and West with Chinese percussion; as well as African musicians working with musicians in England. 

A whole day of working with diverse communities together with Asylum Welcome will be taking place on the first weekend of the festival, bookended by a day of film about child migrant stories, refugees and journalism on the last weekend, in collaboration with Ultimate Picture Palace. 

OFA2022’s headline act must be the recital with Joseph Calleja with Simon Lepper on the piano at the Sheldonian on July 7.  

READ ALSO: Mum's plea to parents after child suffers vile racist bullying

Other very special performances include Music for the Royal Fireworks with the Academy of Ancient Music on July 2 and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – two of the festival’s collaborations together with Oxford Botanic Gardens marking their 400th anniversary celebrations.


A diverse range of speakers and presenters include the festival’s honorary patron Janina Ramirez together with Peter Frankopan; bestselling author Sharon Bolton in conversation with Master of MCS Helen Pike; Sir Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group; children’s author Steve Cole speaking to local primary and secondary school; eminent glaciologist Julian Dowdeswell – an old boy of MCS; and The Rt Hon Theresa May, MP.

Shakespeare’s Globe are performing Julius Caesar while family-friendly events include The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Broad Street and Queens and Kings on MCS School Field.

Director of the Festival Michelle Castelletti said: "OFA2022 promises to be as bold as it is exhilarating, as meaningful as it is thought-provoking, and as inclusive as it is inspiring. There is laughter, poignancy, excitement and beauty awaiting all."

Oxford Festival of the Arts was founded by Magdalen College School and first took place in 2009. The school remains its lead sponsor and greatest supporter.

Aligning itself with the school's green agenda, and embracing its own ethos on sustainability, the festival is also trying to help raise awareness to protect the planet. 

At the centre of this will be the installation GAIA, by artist Luke Jerram, which was present at COP26 which will be installed at University Church and open for visitors throughout the festival.


The festival is also working with several partners in the city and beyond – at Blackwell’s discussing historical fact vs Hilary Mantel’s novels; at the Weston Library working with Jesus College displaying illuminated manuscripts; at New College with an exhibition of highlights from their special collections from around the world; at Modern Art Oxford for private curator tours; at the New Theatre for the first time with Fran Lebowitz, and Mugenkyo Taiko Drumming; and at Christ Church Cathedral, which will be hosting a stained glass exhibition. 

Albion Barn and Fields in Little Milton will be opening its sculpture park on the weekends of the festival for festival patrons.

READ ALSO: LTNs causing Uber Eat drivers to be underpaid

Partnership projects with schools remain a strong part of the festival’s remit and MCS performances and exhibitions feature throughout the festival, culminating in a double-bill at the Oxford Playhouse featuring Leave it to Puck! (by John Mann and Alex Thomas) and Bob Chilcott and Charles Bennett’s Birdland (a specially-commissioned work by Magdalen College School, Young Norfolk Trust and Norfolk Music Hub).


There will also be the much-loved Madrigals on the River on July 8.

The Festival Hub is the first port of call and is located just off The Plain, adjacent to Magdalen Bridge where you can enjoy one of its inspired Festival Cocktails or the mocktail equivalent. 

And this year the festival has partnered with Bar Simple, for a snazzier – and ‘greener’ – service.

Master of MCS Helen Pike said: "It is a joy that we are all able to share the full festival experience once again. And what a festival it is going to be: a celebration of our world in a multitude of ways – and of Oxford’s scientific, literary and creative achievement, too. 

"We hope that there will be an event to entertain and inspire everyone – and an opportunity to come down and enjoy each other’s company in beautiful surroundings."



Online: artsfestivaloxford.org
Tickets Oxford: 01865 305305
In person: Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont Street



A message from our Editor

Thank you for reading this story and supporting the Oxford Mail.

If you like what we do please consider getting a subscription for the Oxford Mail and in return we’ll give you unrestricted access with less adverts across our website from the latest news, investigations, features, and sport.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok for more. 

You can also join the conversation in our Facebook groups: stay ahead of traffic alerts here, keep up to date with the latest from court here, share your favourite memories of Oxford here, get your daily dose of celebrity news here and take some time out with news that will make you smile. 

If you’ve got a story for our reporters, send us your news here. You can also list an event for free here.