Hopefully the questions below should answer any questions you have about OULES. If not, please E-mail our president, Joe.
So, what is OULES then?
OULES is the Oxford University Light Entertainment Society. Our official blurb always says something like:|
OULES is a non-profit making group dedicated to putting on shows for those who cannot normally travel to the theatre, taking
plays to special needs schools, hospitals and retirement homes. We are a small, informal group and aim to encourage first time actors, directors and
How long have you been about then?
Surely something like this is a pretty new idea?
The origins of OULES are lost in the mists of space and time. Also they are lost since the society folded some time in the mid-90s, but before
that legend has it that a band of nutters flourished and performed wonderful comedy of the genuinely amusing variety, and some people (well, Noga
and C) believe that Rowan Atkinson and Oscar Wilde were members.
OULES was refounded in Michaelmas term 1999 by one James Needham who is also wanted in connection with similar deeds in Cambridge. Auditions for our
first production, Dick Whittington, were duly held and we managed to cobble together a cast in time for our dress rehearsal.
So you're quite a small group then?
We've now grown to the extent that we need to write new parts into plays so everyone who wants can have one. Somehow we still always achieve
that last-minute panic, though, when a fairy has the flu, we lose our venue at the last minute, half the cast can't find the school, the king
doesn't get up in time, etc etc. But the show must, and always does, go on. I'd say they are always brilliant, but I'm probably biased!
Do you need to be able to act to join?
No! We take anyone, whatever their experience or ability. We pride ourselves on being the least serious drama group in Oxford, and we spend far
more time eating biscuits and having a laugh than concentrating on dramatic motivation.
But that doesn't mean our plays aren't worth seeing: We have great scripts and a collection of very talented actors who accidentally found
their way in. Besides, it's loads of fun watching a play when everyone on-stage is clearly enjoying themselves!
So you don't perform Serious Drama then?
No. You want OUDS for that. Everything we do is Lightly Entertaining. See?
What do you do then?
We normally do a pantomime in Michaelmas term, and take it to special needs schools. We also do a "student" version which we perform
in 8th week.
In Hilary we usually take a comedy to old people's homes - usually a cut version of an oldish play or story so they'll recognise it. As these tend
to have smaller casts, we tend to do two shows in Hilary. We also do a student performance of these shows in 8th week.
In Trinity we do a charity performance, just for the general public. As the Michaelmas and Hilary plays can't be more than an hour long, due to our
special audiences, we try to do something massive in Trinity, like The Three Musketeers.
See past shows for a list of what we've done so far.
Oooh, Can I read your old scripts?
I'm afraid not, unless you're already a member - the scriptwriters don't want them to be generally available. If you are a member, we have a few
online but you'll need to know the password... If you think you should know the password and you've forgotten it, please E-mail
If you aren't a member but really desperately want one of our scripts, please also E-mail
the webmaster and I'll pass your details on to the person who wrote the script and it'll be
up to them if they'll let you have a copy.
So how do I join then?
Get in touch! Email the president, or sign up to our
Announcement mailing list. You could also Check the news page to see if there are any auditions
coming up. These will generally be at the beginning of every term, but contact us any time; we'll usually be able to fit you in as an extra
I've missed the auditions - can I still have a part?
It's not normally a problem, but E-mail the president.
Do you need to be a member of Oxford University to join?
No. Proctor's rules say that 4/5 of our members have to be in the university, but that's not a problem at the moment.
However, you do need to be able to get to most rehearsals, and be able to make performances at schools, hospitals and old people's homes. These will
almost certainly be in office hours.
What's an OULES cocktail?
It's when you lie someone on their back and pour cheap fizzy wine straight down their throat. See
Do you need to be an alcoholic to join?
ASOLUTELY NOT! None of us are alcoholic, honest! If there's a certain amount about alcohol on these pages, well, um, some of us drink, and then
we do silly things worth writing about. But the majority aren't pissheads, there's even some teetotallers.
What are Flosscars?
Our annual award ceremony/AGM/party, normally taking place after the final show in Trinity Term. See
"Vacation of Light Entertainment Societies" It's our summer holiday, complete with rehearsals, performances and people from other
Light Entertainment Societies! See VOLES
Is that the same as Two Shades of Blue?
No. Two Shades of Blue is a group who produce shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, composed mostly of Light Entertainers. See
"Alumni Light Entertainment Society" for those who have grown old but not up. It's not strictly Alumni-only, just those of that
generation. See ALES.
What about OODLES?
"Oxford Old Duffers Light Entertainment Society" A group for people who should have left Oxford but haven't and still want to do Light
Entertainment, or people of that generation. We normally do shows on a weekend so our cast can get there!
Anything else I can do to help?
Well, if you happen to be a hospital, school, retirement home or anyone else who would be deserving of our attention, situated in the Oxford
area (i.e. within easy bus ride or are able to come and fetch us), and have an area suitable for a bunch of students to prance around in, then let
us know, and we'll do our very best to get to you. Please contact our Homes and Schools Liaison Officer
That all seems pretty cool, just one more question:
How on earth do you have a Varsity Match?
Well, the way it worked back in 2003 was like this:
We performed the much-shortened three-act OULES version of Charley's Aunt.
Act 1: the Cambridge cast (playing the spurious word game)
Act 2: the Oxford cast (playing the suprious word game)(with far more style and panache)
Act 3: half the Oxford cast, half the Cambridge cast, trying to make each other forget their lines or corpse.
It's all for the honour of Light Entertainment Everywhere... Just like the Boat Race or something. There have been more varsity matches since, and
now both societies compete to win the "Cinders" (a Gin bottle containing the remains of Gerald (a 6ft saxophone playing pidgeon - star of
Dracula), ceremonially burnt at VOLES 2005 in Cornwall).