About us in Oxford and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

“OTR resists being clique-y and elitist because it’s open to everyone – every opinion is important, which I think is what makes OTR stand out.” Natalya Din-Kariuki, 3rd year English undergraduate, Oxford University

At the start of our second year at Oxford (in October 2009), we took up positions as co-editors of Oxford Theatre Review, a web-based university society that had all but been forgotten about by the student body, with an outdated mail-list, sporadic reviews (without star ratings), and a website that was extremely difficult to navigate. We completely re-designed the website, re-branded it oxfordtheatrereview.com, and came up with the idea that publishing two reviews of each show, as well as encouraging comment, is a far more constructive approach to a piece of theatre than a single review. We launched the new site at Oxford’s Freshers’ fair in October 2009 where we started a new mail-list and sought to re-establish Oxford Theatre Review as the place to go for first night reviews of student, amateur and professional plays in Oxford. Since our launch in 2009 we have amassed a mail-list of over 1,500 students, 350 keen student reviewers, 26 editorial team members, 57,000 unique visitors, 270,000 page views and Credit Suisse’s sponsorship. We have played an extremely important role in raising the profile of New Writing plays (publishing rehearsal blogs, interviews and the author’s favourite extract from his script), the New Writing Festival and Cuppers Drama Festival, using radio and films to extend our reach.

After graduating from Oxford this summer, we launched our second sub-site edfringereview.com at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August 2011), where we took a team of nearly fifty student reviewers from Bristol, Cambridge, Durham and Oxford. Thanks to RBS’s generous sponsorship we were able to promote our new site by flyering on the Royal Mile and sporting EFR jumpers to every show reviewed. We worked hard to promote an extremely stimulating part of the Fringe that is often marginalised and under-publicised by the established publications, covering primarily student and Free Fringe theatre. We sent two reviewers to 251 productions across the month and gained nearly 10,000 unique visitors and 72,000 page impressions. The success of edfringereview.com proved to us that OTR fills a vitally important niche in the theatre world by celebrating young talent and publicising those hidden gems – small-scale projects worthy of full auditoriums that are overlooked by larger national publications.

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