The Oxford Playhouse will reopen on 1st September after a three-year refurbishment programme. The opening will be marked with an adaptation of Peter Pan in Scarlet, attended by the actors Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack.

The refurbished theatre features a new air conditioning system and ticket counter as well as new chairs, carpets and ground-floor toilets. The project, costing an estimated £700,000, was paid for in part by the Arts Council’s Small Capital Fund. The Oxford Playhouse was first opened in 1923 at a site on Woodstock Road. It moved to its current location, a Regency-style theatre on Beaumont Street, designed by Sir Edward Maufe, in 1938. It has close links with Oxford University, and is the venue for home performances by the Oxford University Dramatic Society.

Peter Pan in Scarlet is the sequel to J.M. Barrie’s original and was commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity in 2006. It was written by Geraldine McCaughrean, winner of both the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and a Carnegie Medal. The performance at the Oxford Playhouse, directed by Theresa Heskins, will be the world premier of the theatre adaptation.

The evening is billed as a special ‘gala performance’, featuring a canapé and drinks reception with VIPs and the cast of the play. Sinead Cusack, a Patron of the Oxford Playhouse, will be joined by her husband Jeremy Irons, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Claus von Bulow in the 1990 film Reversal of Fortune.  Chief Executive of the Playhouse Louise Chantal said, ‘It’s wonderful that long-time friends of the Playhouse Jeremy and Sinead can join us to celebrate the opening of the new auditorium, and at an Oxford Playhouse world-premiere show – one of 3 this season alone.’

Several other plays will be performed at the Playhouse this autumn, including stage adaptations of A Tale of Two Cities and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.