Venue Review: University Church

Oxford’s a great city no matter what you’re into. Venues range from tiny, hidden pubs and clubs, to breathtakingly huge concert halls.

First up this term is the beautiful University Church. With incredible acoustics, a rather natty black-and-white floor, and a seating capacity of nearly two hundred, the church boasts an events programme featuring some of the finest musicians and orchestras of this fair city, including brass bands, string quartets and college choirs.

The music is more than enhanced by the venue’s unrivalled atmosphere, in one of the city’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. The lofty roof creates an acoustic chamber that amplifies the smallest sound, often drawing in passers-by entranced by the otherworldly music seeping onto the High Street. Occasional lulls in repertoire can be filled by reading the various tombstones scattering the walls and floors.

Even for a seasoned college-dweller, with the organ belting out Handel’s Messiah and a full Oxford choir filling the eaves with sound it’s hard not to feel utterly transported by the spectacle, while any daring trip to the back rooms goes up creepy passages and crumbling staircases where it seems Cromwell’s troops have only just left.

A concert in the University Church is one of those experiences that transports you to ‘the other Oxford’, and it’s the kind of place you probably ought to take your mum at least once as well.