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The actor Michael York, a former member of Univ Players.

The University College Players (or Univ Players for short) are the theatrical society of University College, Oxford.[1]


The first production was in May 1941 when Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors was performed in co-operation with Merton College. Peter Bayley was the senior member from the start till the 1960s. After the Second World War, Univ Players was re-founded with a production of Measure for Measure in 1946.

In 1952, a young Maggie Smith appeared in a production of He Who Gets Slapped by the Russian playwright Leonid Andreyev, directed by Peter Bayley at the Clarendon Press Institute,[2] after attending a theatrical training scheme and performing in Twelfth Night at the Oxford Playhouse.[3]

Michael York (then Michael Johnson) was a Univ Players member in the early 1960s,[4][5] before graduating with a degree in English in 1964. Peter Sissons, later to become a newscaster, was Treasurer of the Univ Players during his time studying at University College in the 1960s.[5] John Albery took over from Peter Bayley as the senior member of the Players during the 1960s, after his appointment as a chemistry don at University College. He organised the Univ Revue for many years.[6] The March 1963 production of A Man for All Seasons at the Oxford Playhouse was especially successful.[7]

In 1974, Jon Plowman directed a musical version of Zuleika Dobson at the Oxford Playhouse, with a script by Reggie Oliver and music by Michael Brand.[8] In the late 1970s, the Univ Players produced successful outdoor summer productions of The Seagull[9] (1976, in St Hilda's meadow), A Midsummer Night's Dream[10] and an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland[11] (1977 and 1978, in the grounds of Magdalen College School by Magdalen Bridge).

More recently they have had annual outdoor summer productions in the garden of the Master's Lodgings. Recent Productions include Sheridan's The School for Scandal in 2003, Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound in 2009, and Congreve's The Way of the World in 2010. In May 2011, Jack Peters directed Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector.[12] In May 2013, Elisabeth Watts directed Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer.[13]

Univ RevueEdit

John Albery organised the Univ Revue in the college Hall, starting in 1972, with Leslie Mitchell.[6] It consisted of an irreverent series of sketches with some musical by both fellows and students of the college. Performers included John Albery, Leslie Mitchell, Jean Maud, Colin Moynihan, John Redcliffe-Maud and others.

Having been absent for a number of years, the Univ Revue returned in 2012.[14] The 2012 Univ Revue consisted of:[15]

  • Lazlo Barclay
  • Louise Carey
  • James Carroll
  • Victoria Empson
  • Sam George
  • Esmé Hicks
  • Jack Peters
  • Joe Prentice
  • Jack Roxburgh
  • James Skinner
  • Rob Snellgrove
  • Steph Vizard
  • Sam Wrigley


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Darwall-Smith, Robin (2008). A History of University College, Oxford. Oxford University Press. pp. 469, 478, 495–6. ISBN 978-0-19-928429-0.
  2. ^ "Maggie Smith: Theatre-, Movie- and TV-Roles". Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Maggie Smith Biography & Movies List". Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Michael Hayes". 1962 Golden Reunion. University College, Oxford. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b Sissons, Peter (2012). When One Door Closes. Biteback Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 978-1849541114.
  6. ^ a b "In Memoriam: Professor John Albery". The Martlet. University College, Oxford. Summer 2014. p. 28.
  7. ^ Chapman, Don (2008). Oxford Playhouse: High and low drama in a university city. University of Hertfordshire Press. p. 184.
  8. ^ "Univ. Players". University College Record: 14. 1975.
  9. ^ "Univ. Players". University College Record: 66–67. 1976.
  10. ^ "Univ. Players". University College Record: 112. 1977.
  11. ^ "Univ. Players". University College Record: 179–180. 1978.
  12. ^ The Univ Players. "The Government Inspector". WiX. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  13. ^ Adamson, Jazz (9 May 2013). "Preview: She Stoops to Conquer". Cherwell.
  14. ^ The Univ Revue. "Revue Sketches". YouTube.
  15. ^ The return of The Univ Revue 2012 programme.
  16. ^ "William George Q: The Autobiography". UK: Retrieved 24 August 2015.

External linksEdit