This month, Oxford Stage Company (OSC) kicks off a hectic 2005, which sees the leading touring company launch four productions by the end of March and a record total of eight by the end of the year.

First up, at north London’s Arcola Theatre, OSC presents the “Last Waltz” season, featuring revivals of three neglected plays by German writers – Frank Wedekind’s Musik involving a backstreet abortionist, Gerhart Hauptmann’s Rose Bernd tracing a woman’s downfall, and Arthur Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi in which a Jewish doctor becomes the target of a witch hunt. The productions, co-produced with Dumbfounded Theatre, are performed by an ensemble of 16 actors and run in repertory from 15 March to 7 May 2005. The season includes three Waltz Saturdays when audiences can see all three plays on the same day.

On 17 March 2005, OSC’s production of August Strindberg’s 1901 play Easter opens at Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre, which is co-producing the tour that continues to Eastbourne, west London’s Riverside Studios (31 March to 23 April 2005) and Lichfield, where it concludes on 7 May. Gregory Motton’s new translation of Strindberg’s play - in which a poor family must deal with a creditor across the street and the return of their unstable daughter from a mental institution – is directed by OSC artistic director Dominic Dromgoole. The cast features Sally Edwards, Edward Peel, Bo Paraj, Nicholas Shaw, Frances Thorburn and Katherine Tozer.

Further ahead, Dromgoole’s new production of Ben Travers’ 1926 farce Rookery Nook will kick off a summer tour, opening on 19 May 2005 at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre and continuing, until 23 July, to Buxton, Leeds, Salisbury, Liverpool and Bury St Edmunds.

Also in May, Kathy Burke’s 50th anniversary OSC production of Brendan Behan’s Irish prison drama The Quare Fellow, featuring a 17-strong ensemble, will return to north London’s Tricycle Theatre, where it ran last spring as part of a UK tour (See News, 29 Dec 2003). It will now have a limited six-week season from 25 May 2005.

Finally, in the autumn, OSC will present new productions of Ena Lamont’s Men Should Weep and Sarah Kane’s Cleansed.

- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock