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The Sheldonian Theatre, located in Oxford, England, was built from 1664 to 1669 after a design by Christopher Wren for the University of Oxford. The building is named after Gilbert Sheldon, chancellor of the University at the time and the project's main financial backer. It is used for music concerts, lectures and University ceremonies, but not for drama until 2015 when the Christ Church Dramatic Society staged a production of The Crucible.
What came to be known as the Sheldonian Theatre was Wren's second work and was commissioned by Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury. With the triumph of the Restoration and with it the Church of England, Dean Fell, Vice-Chancellor of the University, sought to revive a project proposed in the 1630s by the late William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury: a separate building whose sole use would be graduation and degree ceremonies.
In the past these increasingly rowdy occasions had taken place in the university's church of St. Mary-the-Virgin-on-High. "The notion that 'sacrifice is made equally to God and Apollo', in the same place where homage was due to God and God alone, was as repugnant to Fell and his colleagues as it had been to Laud"; with this in mind they approached the Archbishop of Canterbury Gilbert Sheldon, for his blessing, his assistance, and a donation.
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Sheldonian Theatre Reviews
We came recently for a book tour by one of our favourite authors and it was our first time inside the theatre. It's beautiful, the acoustics are great, and it holds so much history. Worth a visit if y... more »
If you have time, the entrance fee is reasonable and you can climb to the top and get a fine view of Oxford.. more »
Whilst The Sheldonian is an historic and wonderful landmark of Oxford it has the most uncomfortable seats I have ever had the misfortune of sitting in. The graduation ceremony was long, completely incomprehensible, and it was baking hot. In order to sit in any way comfortably, we had to sit sideways on!
A must see in Oxford. Iconic architecture outside and a fascinating interior with exceptional painted ceiling. Climb the stairs to the cupola/lantern and see a wonderful 360° panorama of the city.
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