The Theatre, Chipping Norton : Click here to go to the homepage BOX OFFICE
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Mon to Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat 10am - 2pm
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 General Info & FAQs

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The Take Part department is a core component of The Theatre, Chipping Norton.   It provides the opportunities for people of all ages to participate actively and creatively and there is an ever growing sense of its importance within The Theatre itself and amongst the wider community.  Not only is it a recognised provider of excellent regular sessions, such as our highly-regarded Youth Theatre, Adult sessions and holiday workshops, it is constantly expanding into a valuable resource for both schools and local community groups.

Take Part is proud to have a fantastic network of theatre professionals who lead our sessions and workshops.  By taking part at The Theatre, children, young people, families, adults, communities and organisations experience opportunities to express themselves in a creative environment.  In addition to developing creative and collaborative skills, participants build confidence and self expression, explore ideas, meet new people and enjoy themselves.

We believe that Take Part @The Theatre is encouraging imagination to flourish in our local community and long may it continue to do so.


Should you like more information regarding sessions, workshops and projects or if you are a theatre professional interested in leading workshops please email Anne Gill, Take Part Director, on




Anne taught English and Drama in state sector schools in Cheshire and Kent before moving to Gloucestershire in 1994, taking up a teaching post at the Cotswold School.  In 2002 she became Head of Drama and introduced A Level Drama and Theatre Studies to the curriculum.  During her years at the Cotswold School she directed many productions, including HamletRomeo and JulietMacbethA Christmas Carol and The Wind in the Willows.

In 2007 Anne joined The Theatre as Take Part Director.   In the succeeding years she has introduced the Orange Hat for babies and toddlers, Adult Drama, Dance 50+ and the newly formed Singing Group to the menu of regular sessions, as well as Saturday Drama, a tenth Youth Theatre Group and a wider variety of holiday workshops.  She has also managed a number of community projects, including Music into Care Homes and Music Therapy in local care homes.

In 2013 she decided to take the leap back into directing and directed the premiere of Poppy Day by Jim Davies with a cast of Youth Theatre members. 


Anne Gill 
 Vanessa Managhan


Vanessa trained in Theatre Design at Birmingham City University gaining experience with the RSC  and The Royal Ballet. After graduating she went on to work in costume assisting with productions for

theatre and TV and in her spare time continued to assist with set design and building at The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa.  Now in her fifth year at The Theatre, Vanessa is the Take Part Officer and has assisted with a number of projects and workshops.  Whilst working at The Theatre Vanessa has had the opportunity to take on other creative roles for Take Part productions including:Costume Designer & Co-ordinater: Semi-Monde (Summer 2011); Set Design & Costume, The Dogs (Summer 2012); Costume Co-ordinator, Bugsy Malone (Summer 2012). Seamstress, Grease (Summer 2013) and Creative Producer: Poppy Day (April 2013). 




JOANNA HIGGINS                                   YOUTH THEATRE DIRECTOR

Having taught English and Drama in secondary schools for some years, Joanna started The Chipping Norton Youth Theatre nearly 25 years ago. Since its inception she has watched it grow from its initial two groups to its current ten, each meeting weekly during term times for skill-based sessions whilst maintaining its original aim for an unauditioned, inclusive membership.











Pippa took a Creative Arts degree at Manchester Metropolitan University and then a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Middlesex University.  She has been teaching at various theatres and schools since then and created her own Theatre in Education company which toured the region and the Isle of Wight.

She directs and choreographs many shows throughout the year, whilst also coaching students for Vanguard and LAMDA exams, for which she is a trained examiner.



Emily is delighted to be back at Chipping Norton Theatre as a Drama Tutor after being a founding member of the Youth Theatre when it started in 1990. Emily trained at Central School of Speech and Drama in London and Jacques LeCoq physical theatre school in Paris. She fused her passions for Drama and French by setting up Compagnie Sublime, a theatre company that translated French Classics for the London stage; she is proud to have her translations of three texts in the British Library.

Emily has extensive directing, acting and teaching experience. Highlights include taking a group of 60 teenagers to Edinburgh International Theatre Festival with a production of Macbeth, being Head of Drama at Channing School, London and acting in the acclaimed production of Dangerous Liaisons. 






Following a few years as a Maths teacher in a London comprehensive school, Peter turned to a career as a composer, musical director and keyboard player in theatre and broadcasting.  He was Musical Director of Under Milk Wood at the Royal National Theatre and of dozens of RSC productions in Stratford and London. As a composer/musician, he has worked on several BBC radio comedy series and many television programmes including over 300 episodes of Play School for BBC TV, as well as writing and recording music for BBC and ITV children’s series.  For The Theatre, Chipping Norton, Peter has worked as musical director/pianist for a variety of youth projects and other productions including Oh, What a Lovely War, many pantomimes and Music Hall shows, also composing the music for several of our pantomimes.  He has written and recorded music for many audio-books by Alexander McCall Smith and Philip Pullman.  His long association with David Wood, mostly in children’s theatre, has involved musical direction and composition for numerous West End and touring productions, including The Witches, The BFG and most recently The Tiger Who Came to Tea, which is scheduled for its third West End season, opening in July. 



Libby, who was born in Edinburgh, trained as a singer at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, both as a performer and a teacher.  After a post-graduate year, including scholarships for further study in Italy, she worked in Scottish Opera for several years, playing various characters and later appearing in the Geraint Evans/Daniel Barenboim production of The Marriage of Figaro.  She subsequently sang her rôle for the EMI double album.  Libby moved to London to engage in lighter work, including recording sessions, pantomimes, many Music Hall shows at the Players’ Theatre, London and three productions in the USA.  TV work included singing in the legendary Wembley Ice Show and regular solo appearances in the BBC series The Show of the North

While raising a family, Libby changed her focus to teaching, giving singing tuition privately to all ages, amateur and professional, as well as in various colleges and schools.  She has also directed in youth and school productions, children’s vocals for commercial recordings, various musical entertainments and workshops, both for The Theatre, Chipping Norton and elsewhere.  Libby played the Fairy Godmother in the Chipping Norton Theatre Cinderella of 1979!


Libby Ritchie 


Lindsey trained in Musical Theatre at The Oxford School of Drama & The American Musical Theatre Academy of London. Since graduating she has performed in numerous plays and musicals in London including a UK touring pantomime. Lindsey has worked in Europe performing & leading drama workshops, where she first found her passion for teaching.

Lindsey Works as a Professional Singer & Actress and is a trained LAMDA tutor providing private tuition to students. In 2012 Lindsey set up Musical Mania, her own Performing Arts School, teaching children Singing, Dance & Drama.

Lindsey is very excited about being involved with Chipping Norton Theatre.



SALLY ELDERFIELD                                     LITTLE DANCERS TUTOR

Sally is a pioneer in the development of dance skills at pre and primary school level. Founder of Little Dancers (est. 2008) she has created an extensive program delivered at seven pre- schools in Oxfordshire designed to encourage children to experience the exhilaration of dance and develop a passion for movement.

Having trained at the Gloria Scott- Barrs School of Dance in London from the age of three, dance has always been a big part of Sally’s life and career both in the UK and abroad.

In 2010 she co-founded Energize, a series of regular interactive dance and sports events which galvanise children in the holidays to partake in creative dance activities. In addition Sally has a love of international choreography and to this end is a regular contributor to dance festival programs that enhance children's awareness and interest in cultural dances.




Lucy Joseph


Lucy is an actress and workshop leader who recently moved to Chipping Norton from London. She continues to work as a jobbing actor in theatre, TV and radio. Credits include EastEndersUltimate Force, Theatre Royal Haymarket, Soho Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre and advertising campaigns for Debenhams, Nissan, ROH, T mobile and Boots, to name but a few. 

She trained at the Oxford School of Drama where she now teaches. Lucy helped to set up these drama classes for 5 to 7 year-olds at The Theatre.




Alan Pollock is a playwright and television writer. His ten plays include The Death of Cool (Hampstead Theatre), What Do I Get? (Old Red Lion), One Night in November (produced four times at The Belgrade Theatre since 2008) and Too Much Pressure (Belgrade Theatre).  For TV, Alan was co-creator of BBC2's Attachments (starring David Walliams) and was a regular writer for a decade on ITV's The Bill. He has written three radio plays and is working on a fourth.

Alan has designed and taught writing courses at the University of Warwick, the University of Gloucestershire, Coventry Universityand the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. 





MIRANDA WALKER                                    CREATIVE WRITING TUTOR  

Miranda Walker is a playwright, author and comedy writer.  Her plays include An Inspector Calls Back and Fly Eddie Fly (about Olympic ski jumper Eddie the Eagle). Her work has been staged at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Brass Works Theatre, Bristol, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham and The Courtyard Theatre and the Landor Theatre, London.  Other credits include flagship comedies The Now Show and The News Quiz for BBC Radio 4, and two short films.  Miranda is currently developing a sitcom with a TV production company. She also writes storybooks and activity books for Oxford University Press and is the Dramatic Writing Lecturer on the BA and MA in Creative Writing courses at the University of Gloucestershire. 



PAULA BAILEY                                        DANCE 50+ TUTOR

DanceAsYouAre was started by Paula Bailey to encourage people of any age to find or re-kindle the joy of dancing and moving. Paula runs weekly dance sessions to music for active people of 50+ at Chipping Norton Theatre and for Age UK. She is a qualified EXTEND tutor and Member of the Dance Register, Foundation of Community Dance and a qualified Shiatsu practitioner.  As a founder member of Fundango-Promoting Movement Play, she delivers training to early years settings.

In the past Paula has taught dance to all ages and abilities from pre-school to post-graduate level in schools and studios in London, Paris and Berlin.






Cat is a qualified music teacher and inspirational vocal leader. She is passionate about enabling people to connect with music - whether it's uncovering a hidden singing voice or overcoming a physical or mental disability. She is a firm believer in the emotional, physical, and social benefits of community music making, and her workshops have inspired many people to find new and joyful ways of experiencing music.

As well as having a background in formal education and training, Cat has founded and directed a number of community choirs, and is a qualified Makaton tutor, specialising in using Makaton with singing.



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Some of our very successful regular sessions and workshops have been programmed as a direct result of theatre professionals contacting us direct.  Take Part is always open to new ideas, so if you are a theatre practitioner please contact us by email, attaching your CV. 



Generously supported by The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, our excellent bursary scheme means that everyone should feel encouraged to participate in a workshop or regular session.  Full and partial bursaries are aimed at people who are either in receipt of a benefit or whose financial circumstances preclude them from participating.Bursaries are available for both young people and adults for all Take Part activities.

For more information please contact Anne Gill on 01608 649102.


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STANDBY SCHEME – Discounted ticket offers for ages 14 -25 years

The Theatre offers a number of tickets for live and film events to young people at a bargain price of £2 a ticket. Individuals sign up as a member for free and receive information via email on events where the offers apply. The scheme is driven by a group of local young people who pick the shortlist of events from the season’s programme and encourage their friends and peers to attend. For more information and to pick up an application form to join the scheme, please contact the Box Office on 01608 642350 or email This fantastic Standby offer is available to anyone between the ages of 14-25 years who sign up to the scheme and have a valid Student Identification Card or alternative proof of age identification.

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Relaxed Film Screenings and Relaxed Performances are open to everyone, but with some changes to increase accessibility for all. Relaxed Screenings are suitable for people living with dementia and their carers and for those with learning disabilities and Relaxed Performances have environments adapted to welcome families with children with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders and those with learning disabilities. For more information please click here.

Relaxed Screenings at The Theatre are supported by The Boshier-Hinton Foundation.

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The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust is currently supporting the Take Part Bursary Scheme

The Boshier - Hinton Foundation is currently supporting the Relaxed Film Screenings for people with additional needs.



Tickittyboo is currently supporting our pre-school sessions.







Cottsway Housing is currently supporting our workshop programme.


Autism Champions






Autism Awareness training was provided by Deirdre Nic Sitric of Autism Champions

Autism Champions is an advisory and consultancy service, grounded in significant practical experience, for parents, carers and professionals looking for training, advice, support and more in relation to Autism.



New Dementia Care






Dementia Awareness training was provided by Catharine Arakelian of New Dementia Care and funded through the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge Fund, administered through the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council.


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