Tickets on sale now for our second show of the season: Educating Rita!

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Phone reservations can be made at 513-523-6228.

Online sales through the link below:

https://oxacteducatingrita.eventbrite.com

Educating Rita

by Willy Russell
directed by Ben Mattox
Feb. 16, 17, 18 & 23, 24, 25
This comedy by British playwright Willy Russell is a witty yet poignant look at a working class woman’s attempts to change her social circumstances through pursuit of an Open University qualification. Frank is a tutor of English in his fifties whose disillusioned outlook on life drives him to drink and bury himself in his books. Enter Rita, a forthright 26 year-old hairdresser who is eager to learn. Their relationship as teacher and student blossoms, ultimately giving Frank a new sense of self and Rita the knowledge she so craves.

Our 2023-24 Season!

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The Woolgatherer

by William Mastrosimone

Directed by Cathy and Michael McVey

Oct. 14, 15 & 20, 21, 22

This “opposites attract” story features Rose, a shy dime-store clerk, and Cliff, a hardworking truck driver, who struggle to find love. First staged in 1979, The Woolgatherer “profiles two lonely people who have nothing in common except that they are in the same room together, yet by the end of the play, they have found each other, soothing their respective senses of isolation and loneliness.” (VC Onstage Review)

Profanity, Poetry, Humor, Hauntings, Wackos, Wine, Birds, Beer, Sweaters, Sweets, and Nosy Old Ladies

Educating Rita

by Willy Russell

directed by Ben Mattox

Feb. 16, 17, 18 & 23, 24, 25

This comedy by British playwright Willy Russell is a witty yet poignant look at a working class woman’s attempts to change her social circumstances through pursuit of an Open University qualification. Frank is a tutor of English in his fifties whose disillusioned outlook on life drives him to drink and bury himself in his books. Enter Rita, a forthright 26 year-old hairdresser who is eager to learn. Their relationship as teacher and student blossoms, ultimately giving Frank a new sense of self and Rita the knowledge she so craves.

Murder at the Howard Johnson’s

by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick

directed by Kayleigh Swatzell

Apr. 19, 20, 21 & 26, 27, 28

Is all fair in love? Even murder? That’s the question posed by this light and funny suspense comedy about a love triangle set in a Howard Johnson’s Motor Inn. Self-absorbed Arlene is married to blundering car salesman Paul, who adores her. Arlene’s lover Mitchell, a dentist who fancies himself an irresistible ladies’ man, joins her to plot the murder of her husband. But wait—a betrayal shifts the alliances and the intended victim. A rambunctious suspense comedy where the target keeps changing and the laughs keep coming!

The Woolgatherer

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Our first production of the 2023-24 season was a stunning success! Thank you to everyone who came to see this powerful production!

by William Mastrosimone

directed by Cathy and Michael McVey

This “opposites attract” story features Rose, a shy dime-store clerk, and Cliff, a hardworking truck driver, who struggle to find love. First staged in 1979, The Woolgatherer “profiles two lonely people who have nothing in common except that they are in the same room together, yet by the end of the play, they have found each other, soothing their respective senses of isolation and loneliness.” (VC Onstage Review)

Profanity, Poetry, Humor, Hauntings, Wackos, Wine, Birds, Beer, Sweaters, Sweets, and
Nosy Old Ladies

Sponsor a Show!

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Oxford Area Community Theater (OxACT) celebrates over 40 years of bringing quality theater to southwest Ohio!

Please join us as we look ahead to our continuing commitment of quality community theater, made possible thanks to the help of donors and sponsors like you.

We count on the generosity of our community as we continue to provide a wonderful training ground for actors, directors, and those most valuable behind-the-scene crews.

What does it take to put on a show?

Costs include purchasing the rights/license to perform the show, set construction, props and annual rent to the Oxford Community Arts Center (OCAC). Our bistro nights add up with purchasing a liquor license and wine.

Musicals have additional costs: renting the scores and hiring musicians.





Choose your level of participation!

Season Sponsor $1,500
Show$500
Royalties Range from $500 for non-musicals to
$1,500+ for musicals
Props & Set (per show)$250 per show
Liquor License (per show)$100
Wine (per show)$150

  • All sponsor levels will have your name and/or company name in each program

Join together with your friends or colleagues and share a Sponsorship!

Your donation is tax deductible.

If you are interested in being a season sponsor, contact us by email at info@oxact.org, or by phone at 513-523-6228

Volunteer

Volunteer

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Have you ever wanted to be a part of a community theater? Even if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the stage, there are many aspects of production that you can be involved with.

If you would like to get involved onstage or backstage, please contact us at:

OxACT
PO Box 535
Oxford, OH 45056

By phone: 513-523-6228

By email: info@oxact.org

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OxACT

Related Links

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Here are links to other local theater resources:

Founding Patrons

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These are the names of the founding patrons of the Oxford Area Community Theater. Without their faith in the future of community theater in our town, we wouldn’t be here.


Susan Braunig

Bill Brewer

Sgt. David Broxterman, USA

William and Charlotte Bruhn

Allan and Christina Button

Robert and Biz Campbell

Roger and Marilyn DeSoucy

Randy and Bev Devirendt

Edgar Dupont

The General Store/Finishing Touches

John and Kathy Gerberick

Dave and Becky Heckert

Bill and Jane Hollingsworth

Michael Keller

Joe and Janet Kretschmer

Jack Liles

John Lowrey

Marilaine’s

Mrs. C. Rollin Niswonger

Jack and Sally Southard

C. E. and Betty Stousland

Dennis and Helen Sullivan

Stephen E. Toney

William and Dixie Utter

Kaye York-Longworth

History

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The Oxford Area Community Theater (OxACT) is one of the “Enduring Partners” of the Oxford Community Arts Center (OCAC), and is responsible for laying the foundations of fundraising and design that established the beginnings of the Center as a space celebrate all of the arts in Oxford and the surrounding areas.

OxACT began life in 1980, with a three-show season that included The Boyfriend; Blithe Spirit; and The Mousetrap. The three show season has continued to be the production schedule model to this day. From 1980 to 2005, OxACT performed in a number of different venues in the area, including the “auditeria” at Kramer Elementary School, the Oxford Presbyterian Seminary Building, and both Presser Hall and Leonard Theater on the Miami University campus.

The itinerant nature of offering productions in so many different spaces while storing props, costumes, lighting equipment, and set pieces elsewhere became increasingly challenging. In 1996, the OxACT board of directors decided to pursue a permanent performance space that would would be easier to facilitate reliable scheduling, and would also include storage space, rehearsal space, and consistency for our patrons and volunteers. OxACT board treasurer, Bob Campbell, began to explore the possibility of turning the “Ox College” building into an arts center, and actively (and successfully) pursued that proposal. The first OxACT production in the new center was Guys and Dolls in the fall of 2004, followed in the spring of 2005, when “Master Harold”…and the Boys was presented using platforms and folding chairs in the ballroom (the winter show that year, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, was moved to Leonard Theater on the Miami campus as the OCAC building was still not sufficiently heated for a winter production). For the 2005-2006 season, all three shows (The Cemetery Club; Between Men and Cattle; and Free to Be…You and Me) were presented in the OCAC theater space. Since then (with a hiatus due to COVID from the spring of 2020 until we were back in production in the fall of 2021), OxACT has continued the legacy of bringing quality theatrical productions to the Oxford area.

The building that now houses OCAC and provides a permanent performance space for OxACT began life as the Oxford Presbyterian Female Institute. The Oxford Female Institute was founded by John Witherspoon Scott in 1849, with the building going up in 1850. At that time most institutions of higher education, including Miami University, were for men only. Scott had been the first professor of science at Miami University, although he was fired by then Miami president George Junkin in the early 1840s for opposing Junkin’s proslavery views. After teaching in Cincinnati for a few years he returned to found the Institute. Scott’s daughter Caroline attended the school and during that time met Miami University undergraduate Benjamin Harrison, who she married after graduating in 1853. Harrison went on to become the 23rd President of the United States, and Caroline Scott Harrison became a first lady known for her involvement in the arts, women’s rights, and historic preservation. In 1890 she became the first president of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 1867 the Institute merged with the Oxford Female College and took on that school’s name. In 1906 the name changed to the Oxford College for Women. Miami University absorbed the Oxford College for Women in 1928 (Miami had become co-educational in 1902 as a result of the Ohio Sesse Bill), and turned the building into a women’s dormitory. Miami refurbished the building and gave it its current Georgian exterior, and the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter raised money to add a ballroom in honor of Caroline Scott Harrison. For the next sixty years it was known colloquially as “Ox College”.

Miami University closed the Oxford College Dormitory in the late 1980s and the structure sat vacant for several years. In August of 1997 the Oxford Area Community Theater board first suggested to the City of Oxford that the former Oxford College building might be an ideal location for a community arts center.

Since 1998 the Oxford Community Arts Center has provided Oxford and the surrounding areas with a theater, a ballroom, classrooms, and dance and art studios. It has become a popular venue for weddings as well as musical and theatrical performances. OxACT is proud to call this historic building, with its connection to education and inclusivity, our home.

Timeline of the Creation of the Oxford Community Arts Center

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The following is a summary of the progression of events and financial decisions as recorded in the OxACT meeting minutes and treasurer’s reports from August, 1997 to March, 1999, in regards to the creation and funding of the Oxford Community Arts Center project in the Oxford College building.

During this time, Rebecca Howard was President of the board, Bob Campbell was the Treasurer, and other board members at various times included *Biz Campbell, *Ginger Scott-Johnson, Erv Johnson, John McGrew, *Chuck Leonard, Betsey Knight, Maureen Nimis, Christine Brunner, Janet Holmes, Anne Settevendemie Ritz, John Meaux, Mike McVey, Becca Shawver, Mary Lou Plank, Cathy McVey, and Doug Hoover (those names marked with an * were on the board through this entire period).

Note that the discussions of an arts center had been active at board meetings for several years prior to this, but this period marks the beginning of specific planning and fundraising to locate the center in Oxford College.

August 20, 1997:

This meeting is the first recorded mention of the letter that Bob Campbell had sent to the City of Oxford “regarding OxACT’s interest in having a part in the possible, upcoming space renovations of Oxford College and the related creation of a theater space.”  At this point, the city was in negotiations with Miami University to acquire the building for possible use as an annex to the city building.

It was also at this meeting that plans were finalized for Bob Campbell to contact OxACT attorney Jim Robinson to draft a document to include OxACT in the Oxford Community Foundation, as a prelude to fundraising for the arts center.

February 24, 1998:

This was the meeting in which the most significant progress toward the project was recorded. The minutes record the following report from the Executive Committee:

“A letter was received from the Oxford Public Arts Council regarding OxACT’s interest in being a part of a Community Arts Coalition. This group would concentrate on applying for a grant for an Arts Needs Assessment. OxACT will contact the group and follow up.
Bob Campbell and Becky Howard took a walking tour through the Oxford College Building and have discovered several interesting items about the space which we are hoping to inherit. There is a load-bearing wall which goes down the center of the stage area, the ceiling is too low, there is an echo problem, and there is a jagged wall on the stage. Bob Campbell has been in contact with the firm who designed Parrish Auditorium on the MUH campus, as well as the auditorium at the Fitton Center for the Arts in Hamilton.
With their estimation of the cost to recreate this space into a theatre, Bob has drafted a Grant Proposal to be sent to the Molyneaux Foundation. This proposal requests the funds to have this firm complete a feasibility study regarding the space. If the space is found to be feasible for a theatre space and related studio space in the basement the firm would also complete some drawings of the new space to be included in the study.”

Included with these minutes were two documents: the Proposal for Services from Steed-Hammond-Paul architects for the feasibility study, noting that the total of charges would not exceed $3,400.00; and the Request for Funding submitted to the Molyneaux Foundation, with a total request of $4,400.00, which included $3,200 for the architectural fees and $1,200 in consulting fees to Geoff Fishburn for technical assistance. The Molyneaux document is especially interesting in that it clearly articulates a cogent summary of the reasons OxACT was compelled to pursue the Arts Center project. Of particular interest is the following excerpt explaining the vision OxACT had for the space:

“While OxACT would retain priority in scheduling, the vision is that this space would truly become a community space for the arts and a calendar of events could span the entire year. This space could become an important part of the identity of this city, given the location of this historic building and the community’s need for its own performance space. The OxACT board envisions a part-time executive director of the space to coordinate scheduling, publicity, and other activities.”

August 23, 1998:

A year after the first formal Arts Center discussion meeting, the minutes from the board’s annual retreat and business meeting showed significant progress. The architectural study had been completed, and plans were made to host a community “fund-raiser kick-off” event. The business meeting minutes note that:

“Bob created an ‘Oxford Community Arts Center’ Prospectus. (Note: this appears to be the first official mention of the OCAC name.) It has been determined that the price of renovating the Oxford College Building to our specifications would be $3 million . . . It was agreed that $1,000 from OxACT savings could be allocated to print brochures, mail 50 of them to selected parties, and to have wine and hors d’oeuvres at the meeting. Important parties to attend: OxACT, the architect, a representative from the OCF . . . “

The Treasurer’s Report from this meeting shows a payment of $1,607.50 to Steed-Hammond-Paul for the first step in the feasibility study. In the notes from the retreat, there are lists that members generated reflecting what had been accomplished and what was envisioned for the future. References to the Arts Center project include:

“1) What has OxACT accomplished during the past year? . . . Made steps toward a new home for OxACT”; “2) What should we concentrate on for next year? . . . Building, Building, Building!!! . . . Storage and construction space . . . New Facility Fund—accept small amounts”; and “3) What should we concentrate on in the next 10 years? . . . New Building/Facility . . . OxACT the core of an Arts Center.”

September 22, 1998:

The Executive Committee reported a postponement of the “Oxford Arts Center Reception” from October to November 15, noting that:

“The reason for postponing the meeting is that we anticipate hearing some information on the Oxford College Building from the City of Oxford soon, but not before the original date of the reception. The drawings made by our architect have been turned over to Ed Demske at MU, and he has shared them with the MU architect. Bob and Becky will be attending a meeting with the City Manager, Mayor, and MU President.”

The Treasurer’s Report from this meeting notes a $75.00 deposit paid to Michael’s Elegant Gatherings for the reception, and another check to Steed-Hammond-Paul for $1,785.00.

December 15, 1998:

The Treasurer’s Report from this meeting includes the final payment to Michael’s Elegant Gatherings for the reception in the amount of $650.25. March 15, 1999: This Treasurer’s Report shows a final payment to Steed-Hammond-Paul of $87.62. It is gratifying to be reminded that the OxACT vision from 1998 for a “New Building/Facility” has come to fruition, fully embracing the belief that

“this space would truly become a community space for the arts and a calendar of events could span the entire year. This space could become an important part of the identity of this city, given the location of this historic building and the community’s need for its own performance space.”

It is clear that the Oxford Community Arts Center represents the culmination of the commitment and dedication of the OxACT board of directors to establish a community theater/arts space, and that, even though the theater space itself has not been completed, the facility as a whole has met and exceeded our hopes and plans of the previous 10 years. It has been an effort supported by all of the board members of the last ten years, though the project would not have come this far if not for the dedication and energy of Bob Campbell, whose commitment to the project proved invaluable.

The Woolgatherer

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Our first production of the 2023-24 season was a stunning success! Thank you to everyone who came to see this powerful production! by William Mastrosimone directed by Cathy and Michael McVey This “opposites... READ MORE