The New Theatre offers a unique facility within the historic city of Oxford.
The first theatre on the corner of George Street was built in 1836 and was known commonly as the ‘Vic’, and later as the ‘Theatre Royale’ after the company that played there. By 1880 the theatre had become quite run down, so in February 1886 the Oxford University Dramatic Society opened the second New Theatre with ‘Twelfth Night’. Designed by H.G.W. Drinkwater and with a 1000-seat capacity the second New Theatre was damaged by fire in 1892 and altered in 1908, when the seating capacity was increased to 1200.
In 1908 the Dorrill family took over the New Theatre and ran the venue for the next sixty-four years. In 1933 Stanley Dorrill commissioned a new building from the well-known theatre architects William and T.R. Milburn of Sunderland. The third New Theatre opened in February 1934 with a revolving stage and increased capacity of 2000 (1,710 seated).
The Dorrills were bought out by the provincial theatre chain Howard and Wyndham in 1972, and in 1977 Apollo Leisure took over the lease of the theatre renaming it ‘The Apollo’. Apollo Leisure were bought out by SFX in 1999, followed by Clear Channel Entertainment in 2001. Following a refurbishment in 2003 the theatre reverted back to the name New Theatre, with Clear Channel Entertainment's theatre division becoming Live Nation two years later.