Oxford Playhouse three-year upgrade begins

Oxford Playhouse The £700,000 works will take place each summer for a month

A three-year project to upgrade the Oxford Playhouse has begun.

The £700,000 works will take place each summer for a month and modernise the air conditioning system, worn auditorium fittings, foyer, and bars.

The Beaumont Street venue was awarded £486,300 from the Arts Council's Small Capital Fund towards the refurbishment.

Interim director Polly Cole said it meant it could continue "world class theatre" in Oxford and ensure people could "enjoy its amazing facilities".

Earlier this month Louise Chantal, formerly a producer for the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad, was announced as the theatre's new chief executive.

The theatre, built in 1938, was last refurbished in 1997.

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BBC Local Live

  1.  
    17:59: Good evening

    That's all for Local Live for Oxfordshire for today, thanks for joining us.

    We'll resume updates at 08:00 tomorrow, and in the meantime you can get in touch via email.

     
  2.  
    17:50: Tonight's television Geraldine Peers Presenter, BBC South Today

    On tonight's South Today:

    Lisa Dancer
    • A woman from Kidlington who was left disabled by her former boyfriend is calling for the justice system to be made easier for victims of domestic abuse
    • And Oxfordshire's Care Home Association says there's a huge shortfall in the funding homes receive from the council

    For these stories and more watch BBC One at 18:30.

     
  3.  
    17:40: Possible sleet and snow Alexis Green Weather presenter, BBC South Today

    Tonight will be cold, with clear spells.

    The odd sleet or snow shower is a possibility with temperatures dropping to freezing in some areas.

    Ice could also be an issue on untreated surfaces where we've had showers overnight.

     
  4.  
    17:30: Independent Venue Week

    BBC Introducing in Oxford is teaming up with local venues to put on some very special gigs for Independent Venue Week.

    Tomorrow night's gig at the Jericho Tavern was co-curated with Colin Greenwood from Radiohead, and features Balloon Ascents, Cassels and Cameron A G.

    Meanwhile, Friday night's gig at The Cellar was co-curated with Stornoway, and features Brian Briggs from the band performing a solo set, as well as Pixel Fix, Tremorheart and Estherjoylane.

    In the meantime, download last week's podcast to find out more about The Cellar's rich history.

     
  5.  
    17:22: Care calculator

    The BBC has launched an online guide to the care system for the over-65s

    Elderly hand

    Users can submit their postcode and find out how much each service costs wherever they live in the UK. The "care calculator" covers both residential care and the support provided in people's own homes, for tasks such as washing and dressing.

     
  6.  
    17:15: A34 busy Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The A34 is busy northbound from Abingdon North to the Botley Interchange.

     
  7.  
    17:08: Train delays Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    There are delays of up to an hour on First Great Western between Worcester Shrub Hill and Oxford due to an incident on the line.

    It is open but there'll be residual delays until about 17:15.

     
  8.  
    17:02: Jake Blakeley jury sent home

    The jury in the Jake Blakeley trial have been sent home after failing to reach a verdict.

    Jake Blakeley

    They will resume deliberations at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.

    The teenager accused of helping his brother bury his murdered ex-girlfriend.

     
  9.  
    16:57: News on the hour Phil Mercer Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    If you live in Oxford you can now get access to information about when you should put your bins out via an app.

    Oxford City Council has launched a smartphone application that allows residents to report litter and abandoned cars, or check what planning applications have been made nearby.

    I'll have more at 17:00.

     
  10.  
    16:49: Snake in the grass

    A fossil discovered at a site near Kirtlington suggests snakes were learning to slither more than 167 million years ago, 70 million years earlier than previously thought.

    It is not known if the small remains of Eophis underwoodi are from a juvenile or adult, but it has the sharp, backward-pointing teeth recognisable in modern day snakes.

    Prehistoric snake

    Lead scientist Prof Michael Caldwell, from the University of Alberta, said: "The study explores the idea that evolution within the group called 'snakes' is much more complex than previously thought.

    "Importantly, there is now a significant knowledge gap to be bridged by future research as no snake fossils are known from between 140 to 100 million years ago."

     
  11.  
    16:38: 'Tesco Town' no more?

    Earlier we gave you the news that Bicester, once dubbed "Tesco Town" because of its large number of stores, is to lose its town centre Tesco Metro.

    Martin Hepworth tweets: just the one closing?? Will be down to single figures in Bicester soon then :-)

     
  12.  
    16:29: Do you know him?

    Thames Valley Police has released a picture of a man wanted in connection with shoplifting at Sainsbury's on Oxford Road, in Kidlington.

    CCTV image of man wanted in connection with shoplifting incident

    Two men entered the store at 15:20 on 12 January and took a large number of bottled spirits without paying.

    A spokesman said: "Anyone with information about this incident should contact investigating officer PC Rob Bull, of Bicester police station, via the 24-hour enquiry line 101."

     
  13.  
    16:15: Jake Blakeley deliberations

    The jury at the Jake Blakeley trial has yet to deliver a verdict after eight hours of deliberations.

    Moments ago the judge called in the jury at Oxford Crown Court and announced he would give them one more hour to come to a decision.

     
  14.  
    16:09: Coming up David Prever Drivetime presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    All this week we are commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill's death.

    The wartime prime minister's grave is in Bladon in West Oxfordshire, and its the constituency of the current prime minister David Cameron. We'll hear from him on tonight's show.

    Winston Churchill

    Plus, I'll be asking if we should be doing deals with Islamic State (IS) to free hostages. Jordan has said it is willing to hand over an Iraqi woman on death row in exchange for a Jordanian pilot being held by militants.

    This and more on the drivetime show from 16:00.

     
  15.  
    15:58: News on the hour Phil Mercer Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Emmylou Harris and Level 42 have joined the line-up at this year's Cropredy Festival.

    They join the already announced Toyah Willcox and The Proclaimers at the event which takes place from 13 to 15 August.

    More headlines at 14:00.

     
  16.  
    15:50: Back on his bike

    South Oxon & Vale of White Horse police tweets: How nice to see a stolen bike handed back to its owner #Henley #C9660

    Owner receives stolen bike back from police
     
  17.  
    15:37: Power station demolition in 2016 Oxford Mail

    The three remaining cooling towers at the former Didcot A power station will be demolished in 2016, according to energy company RWE npower.

     
  18.  
    15:23: Bicester Tesco closes Martin Eastaugh Big Tour producer, BBC Radio Oxford

    Supermarket giant Tesco has named the 43 stores it is closing across the country, and it includes a Metro store in Bicester.

    Tesco

    The company is currently informing workers at the affected stores, in a move that will see 2,000 staff lose their jobs.

    Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said the decision to close the stores was "exceptionally difficult".

    The Metro store in Bicester, on Sheep Street, will close on 4 April.

     
  19.  
    15:10: Road traffic deaths rising Hannah Bewley BBC News Online

    More people were killed on roads in the Thames Valley area in 2014 than in the year before.

    The force said the figure rose by 21 to 78 people killed in 72 traffic collisions.

    Traffic

    In Oxfordshire, 27 people died in 27 collisions.

    Head of roads policing Ch Insp Henry Parsons said each fatality caused "untold misery and distress".

     
  20.  
    14:57: News on the hour Phil Mercer Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Bicester is to lose one of its Tesco stores.

    The supermarket chain has announced the Tesco Metro in the town centre will be one of 43 stores closing nationally.

    More headlines at 15:00.

     
  21.  
    14:45: 'Bit crowded' via Facebook

    Thanks for your comments on the coat of arms that retiring MP Tony Baldry has thought up as a parting gift for Cherwell.

    Sue Parsons asks: Is this to remind us what the countryside looked like before it became one massive housing estate?

    Andrew Henderson says: Surely this (if needed at all) should have been commissioned by the council and the people of Cherwell should have been consulted as to what it should represent.

    Anna Williams says: It looks nice but it's a bit crowded... I'd take the knight's helmet out and have the tree/rainbow just on top of the rivers. Also seems a bit odd to feature a motorway on something so focused on the countryside.

     
  22.  
    14:29: Oxford's role in new institute

    Details have emerged of the part Oxford University will play in the upcoming Alan Turing Institute.

    Alan Turing statue

    Five departments, the Mathematical Institute, Department of Computer Science, Department of Statistics, Department of Engineering Science,and the Oxford Internet Institute, will take part in the research.

    Professor Ian Walmsley, the university's pro-vice-chancellor (research), said: "We look forward to working with our partners... across a diverse range of disciplines to ensure that this is translated into new commercial opportunities and innovations that benefit society as a whole."

     
  23.  
    14:14: Floods: A year on Henley Standard

    Businesses hit by flooding a year ago are on the road to recovery.

     
  24.  
    14:00: News on the hour Phil Mercer Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    A jury is continuing to consider its verdict at the trial of a Didcot teenager accused of helping his brother to bury Jayden Parkinson.

    Jayden, 17, was strangled by Ben Blakeley and later buried in his uncle's grave in December 2013.

    The court heard 18-year-old Jake Blakeley thought he was burying weapons, a cat and a dog.

     
  25.  
    13:42: Festival looking for bands

    This year's Truck Festival, which takes place on 17 and 18 July at Hill Farm, Steventon, is now taking applications from bands hoping to play there in the summer.

    White Lies at Truck Festival

    There are 20 slots on the line-up up for grabs at the event, which last year featured The Cribs, White Lies and Peace on the main stage. The deadline for applications is 27 February.

    A spokesman said: "We have always prided ourselves on supporting the best up and coming artists and... it's always refreshing to hear the new talent that there is in the UK. [We] can't wait to get listening."

     
  26.  
    13:24: 'Nice Tony!'

    You've been tweeting your thoughts on the Coat of Arms Sir Tony Baldry has mooted for Cherwell District Council.

     coat of arms

    David Brimson tweets: as long as Tony pays for it as corporate arms are pricy at the Royal College of Arms. Nice Tony!

    Leonardo Loredan tweets: excellent use of rainbow - glad that @TonyBaldry demonstrating Cherwell's commitment to gay pride.

     
  27.  
    13:11: Lunchtime TV Laura Trant BBC South Today

    On South Today this lunchtime: Dominic Isom has appeared in court charged with murdering his partner.

    Samantha Henderson, from Corfe Castle, Dorset, has been missing for a week.

    We'll also have the latest on the 2.9-magnitude earthquake that caused tremors near Winchester last night.

    Earthquake map

    Join me at 13:30 for all the region's top stories.

     
  28.  
    12:58: News on the hour Phil Mercer Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    There has been a steep rise in the number of people killed on roads in the Thames Valley.

    It's been described as "exceptionally disappointing" by the head of roads policing Ch Insp Henry Parsons.

    I'll have more on this and all the headlines at 12:00.

     
  29.  
    12:44: Potholes cost rises Witney Gazette

    The amount of compensation claimed by Oxfordshire drivers for pothole damage has more than doubled in two years.

     
  30.  
    12:28: Majority direction in Jayden trial

    We are still expecting a verdict in the Jake Blakeley trial today.

    Mr Blakeley, 18, denies preventing the lawful burial of Jayden Parkinson. She was strangled by his brother Ben, 22, and then buried in his uncle's grave.

    Jayden Parkinson

    The jury at Oxford Crown Court has been told the judge will accept a majority verdict.

     
  31.  
    12:11: Alan Turing Institute

    Oxford University is to play a large role in the forthcoming Alan Turing Institute.

    Based at the British Library, it will focus on the application of big data and algorithm research.

    Alan Turing

    Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Alan Turing's genius played a pivotal role in cracking the codes that helped us win the Second World War.

    "It is therefore only right that our country's top universities are chosen to lead this new institute... [It] will attract the best data scientists and mathematicians from the UK and across the globe to break new boundaries."

     
  32.  
    11:57: News on the hour Clare Woodling Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    People in Oxfordshire suffering from a cardiac arrest could find themselves being given a placebo by paramedics as part of a new trial.

    South Central Ambulance Service is taking part in a study which gives cardiac arrest patients either a placebo or the drug adrenaline.

    I'll have more on this and all the headlines at 12:00.

     
  33.  
    11:46: No Paine, no gain Robyn Cowen Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Banbury Cricket Club have pulled off a major coup by announcing that former Australia wicket-keeper Tim Paine will be playing for them in the Home Counties Premier League this summer.

    Tim Paine

    Paine, who's just turned 30, has made 35 international appearances in tests, one-day and T20 competitions.

    His best international score is 111 against England six years ago. He will play as Banbury's official overseas player in 2015.

     
  34.  
    11:36: M40 represented in coat of arms

    The Conservative MP for Banbury, Tony Baldry, has been explaining why he commissioned a coat of arms for Cherwell.

    Tony Baldry

    "I thought it was rather sad. Banbury Town Council has a coat of arms, Bicester Town Council has a coat of arms, even Deddington Parish Council has its own... so I thought I should rectify that.

    "The background's green to represent the Oxfordshire countryside, and flowing down the centre of the shield is a river to represent the River Cherwell, and on the other side there are two blue lines, one to represent the Oxfordshire canal, and one to represent the M40 and which highlight the fact that Cherwell is in the heart of England."

     
  35.  
    11:23: Frideswide Square 'over budget' Oxford Times

    The work to overhaul Oxford's Frideswide Square is over budget before it has even properly started.

     
  36.  
    11:10: Eddie aims for eagles Robyn Cowen Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Oxfordshire golfer Eddie Pepperell is in the form of his life, but he's revealed it comes after a winter of inactivity.

    The Frilford Heath member hasn't hit an over par round in 2015 and finished with a career best 16-under for the tournament as he took fourth place at the Qatar Masters last weekend.

    Eddie Pepperell at the Qatar Masters

    He remains in the Middle East for the Dubai Desert Classic which starts tomorrow, keen for the consistency he's shown so far to continue.

    He said: "That's something I'm pleased about because that's what you've got to try and do every time you go on the course... it bodes well moving forward."

     
  37.  
    10:58: News on the hour Clare Woodling Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    A working committee of volunteers has been selected to help decide what improvements are needed to the West Way shopping centre in Botley.

    An application for a large-scale overhaul of the area was unanimously rejected by the Vale of White Horse last month.

    Caroline Potter, chair of West Way Community Concern, said residents hoped to see affordable housing and a "large multi-purpose community centre, including arts facilities that the community at large can enjoy for all generations".

    More headlines at 11:00.

     
  38.  
    10:47: Bladon memories Howard Bentham Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The village of Bladon was lined by 1,000 policeman to maintain the privacy of the burial of Sir Winston Churchill, and the policeman on the gate of the church that day was Donald Thompson from Woodstock.

    Fifty years on Donald and I went back to St Martin's to talk about the day. You can hear what happened on today's show.

    Plus Bill Giles, who is from Oxfordshire and was the former head of BBC's weather department, tells me how forecasters wrongly predicted the "historic blizzard" headed for New York.

    Tune in now.

     
  39.  
    10:37: 'Super authority' Banbury Cake

    Senior councillors of Oxfordshire's biggest authority have supported calls for a debate on creating one "super authority" for the county.

     
  40.  
    10:23: Jayden trial deliberations

    A jury is considering its verdict in the trial of a teenager accused of helping his brother bury his murdered ex-girlfriend.

     Jayden Parkinson

    Jayden Parkinson, 17, was strangled by Ben Blakeley, 22, in December 2013 and then buried in his uncle's grave.

    Blakeley, from Reading, was jailed for life for her murder in July last year.

    The court heard Jake Blakeley, 18, from Abbotts Road, Didcot, thought he was burying weapons, a cat and a dog. He denies preventing a lawful burial.

     
  41.  
    10:11: Team meeting Dave Gilyeat BBC News

    The news stories for the day ahead are being looked at by our morning producers.

    Adina Campbell, Serena Martin and Martin Eastaugh

    Present were (from left to right) Adina Campbell (TV producer), Serena Martin (mid-am producer) and Martin Eastaugh (radio news editor).

    Comments I overheard from the team included "falconer", "quantum", "table tennis", "beavers" and "Pongathon". Should be an interesting day.

     
  42.  
    09:57: News on the hour Clare Woodling Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    The discovery of a fossil at a quarry near Kirtlington has thrown new light on the origins of snakes. More with me at 10:00.

     
  43.  
    09:44: Remembering Churchill

    On 30 January 1965, millions of people watched the state funeral of Winston Churchill take place at St Paul's Cathedral.

    Lincoln Perkins (in the middle of the image) carried Churchill's coffin with seven other men

    Churchill's coffin would be taken to the Oxfordshire village of Bladon where he was buried next to his parents, near to his birthplace at Blenheim Palace.

    But what was it like for the soldiers who carried his coffin that day? BBC Magazine finds out.

     
  44.  
    09:32: 'Pointless politics' via Facebook

    You've been getting in touch with us on Facebook about the banning of fast food vans near schools by Oxford City Council.

    Burger and chips

    Simon Tavener says: "What a pointless piece of gesture politics. Kids are perfectly capable of buying bad food from a nearby shop - or walking the 100m to get their chips or ice cream... why restrict the freedom to trade of a street food seller?"

    Richard Mackay says: "High time our wonderful council did something useful with their time... spare time they obviously have too much of."

    Michael Harvey-Rice called it a "stupid idea". He added: "Try making school meals appetizing and give the children smoking shelters, then they will stay in the school grounds."

     
  45.  
    09:21: Trapped worker 'was not abducted' Oxford Mail

    A worker who started shouting after getting trapped inside a supermarket van prompted a police investigation into a suspected abduction attempt.

     
  46.  
    09:10: Cumberbatch criticism 'ridiculous'

    Oxford-born actor David Oyelowo has defended fellow British actor and friend, Benedict Cumberbatch, for using the term "coloured" during an interview.

    Cumberbatch has apologised and said he was "devastated to have caused offence" after using the word on a US TV show to describe black actors.

    David Oyelowo

    "I think it's ridiculous," Mr Oyelowo said. "When you look at what he was actually saying it's clear that he's a huge supporter of black performers."

     
  47.  
    08:58: News on the hour Clare Woodling Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    A court has heard that a former headmaster from Oxford charged with multiple sexual offences had a "deviant" fascination with young boys.

    David Tuohy

    David Tuohy from White Horse Road worked at a school in Norfolk that catered for pupils with special needs.

    The alleged attacks took place in the 1970s and 80s, and involved five boys. The 83-year-old denies the charges against him.

     
  48.  
    08:48: Cherwell Coat of Arms Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    They date back to a time of medieval knights and damsels in distress.

    The Coat of Arms was used by knights so that we would know who they were while wearing a suit of armour.

     coat of arms

    These days they are a sign of a town's heritage or a person's place in aristocracy.

    Sir Tony Baldry, the outgoing Conservative MP for Banbury, has decided it's time for Cherwell District Council to have its own. What do you think of it? Let us know.

     
  49.  
    08:38: Roundabout traffic Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    It's slow moving towards Oxford on the A40 eastbound from the Eynsham roundabout to the Wolvercote roundabout.

    The A40 Thornhill to Headington roundabout is very slow into the roadworks area.

    And there are the usual queues on the A44 into Oxford from Peartree to the Wolvercote roundabout.

     
  50.  
    08:26: Fast food school ban

    Fast food vans have been banned from operating near schools in Oxford.

    Burger van

    The city council passed a new policy which stops street traders selling food within a 100m (328ft) radius of schools.

    Councillor Mary Clarkson said: "It's about both the education and the availability of things - it's to protect the health of our young people."

    It comes after a fast food van (pictured) was given permission to operate near Cheney School for a year until March 2014 under the condition it did not sell fried food and fizzy drinks when pupils were around.

     
  51.  
    08:19: 'Swerving vehicles' Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On the A4074 southbound just before the turning for Dorchester there are reports of a bucket in the road, which vehicles are swerving to avoid.

    Approaching Frilford is heavy on the A338 from East Hanney northbound, and eastbound from Fyfield Wick on the A415.

    The A34 is heavy in patches from the M40 junction 9 to Islip, and from Peartree to Hinksey southbound.

     
  52.  
    08:11: 'Much colder' Holly Green BBC Weather

    We're starting fairly mild with outbreaks of rain, and there's gusty conditions as well, but quickly this rain is pushing through and by the end of the morning we should get to see some sunshine.

    Weather

    This afternoon looks lovely and bright. There's a chance of a few showers - hopefully not too many of those - but it will be feeling ever so much colder.

    This morning we've got values up around 8C (46F), but this afternoon we're talking 5C (41F) in Banbury and 6C (43F) in Oxford, and factor in a pretty brisk north-westerly wind and it will feel colder than even those temperature suggest.

     
  53.  
    08:00: Good morning Dave Gilyeat BBC News

    Good morning and welcome to Wednesday's BBC Local Live for Oxfordshire.

    I'll have the news, sport, travel and weather from across the county throughout the day.

    If you want to get in touch, send in your pictures or tell us what you're up to via email, Facebook or Twitter.

     

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