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Oxford University Theatre Technicians and Designers

O'Reilly Theatre

Theatre Keble O’Reilly
Location Keble College, Blackhall Road, OX13PG
Capacity End-on: 174 (Fire regulations maximum 220)
Hire charge £350 + £250 deposit
Specification Email TAFF Hires & Venues rep or O'Reilly Technician (See below). Vectorworks and AutoCAD plans of the space, as well as full audio and video block diagrams, are available from TAFF.


The O'Reilly Theatre is a studio theatre based in Keble College. It is run by the College as a theatre and conference venue. The management of the theatre is run through the college's drama society (the Martin Esslin Society) and the theatre has its own technician. As of TT2017, this is currently Ran Michaelis: he and the MES student committee can be contacted through the theatre's website linked above.


The O'Reilly Theatre's manual/specification, given out to each production company containing information and regulations for working in the O'Reilly, is the primary guide to working in the space, and can be obtained either from the Theatre Technician or by emailing the TAFF Hires and Venues rep. The current version of the theatre manual is 2017.


The capacity of the theatre is variable depending on the seating formation, and can vary between as much as 130 and 200 (the maximum capacity of the theatre is 220 including the audience, cast and crew, set by fire regulations.) It is a logical step up from working in the BT but do not, however, think that it is an easy step to make, as all the jobs suddenly get a lot bigger when you move up there. The seating formations can take on many formats, from standard end-on, and various thrust, in the round and traverse formations. The extra seating is built out of rostra, and is positioned generally during the get in.



The O'Reilly has a fixed grid structure, and also a set of 11 fly bars suspended just under the grid at the stage end. The fixed grids are in 5 sections from right at the back of the auditorium to over the stage. The fly bars (which are operated from the balcony by hemp ropes) are over the stage area when in end-on configuration, although note that the theatre does not have a fly tower and so the bars cannot fly things out of sight entirely. They are double purchase, non-counterweighted bars and as such are limited to 100kg evenly distributed load, and for safety, only those fly trained by the Theatre Technician can operate the bars. They can be used for hanging lanterns, and also your masking and some set items/flats if required.


All the sockets on the grid are 16A connections, which should be noted if you are bringing in any of your own equipment. There are a limited number of 15A to 16A adaptors. There are DMX outputs at regular positions in the grid if you require them.

There are four tank traps, scaffolding poles, boom arms and eight stage-level sockets for making side lighting positions.


The lantern collection is excellent for the space. Refer to the technical specifications for quantities, but broadly speaking the theatre stocks 24 ADB F101 (1.2kW) fresnels, which provide excellent general cover, 18 Source 4 Pars (575W) and 24 Thomas Par 64s (1000W) and 24 profiles are provided by the efficient, long throwing Source 4 Zoom (25-50˚, 750W). House lights are provided by a set of Par 16 ‘birdies’, dimmable from the control board. 8 Coda floods are also available, which may be used, amongst other applications, for creating a cyc or supplementing the house lights

Dimming is by three ADB Eurorack 60 wall mounted dimmers, offering 96 dimmable channels (60 of which are hardwired to the sockets on the grids, the other 36 being patchable in the control room – see the Technical Specifications for more details). There are also four non-dims per phase, controlled by switches in the control room.

The lighting console is an ETC Ion with 2x20 fader wing and dual screens. The Ion is a very powerful computerised console, and very good at handling all the generic fixtures of the theatre. It also has a comprehensive moving light section, allowing these to be plotted in with ease. You will also find ETC Eos series consoles in the Oxford Playhouse (Eos and Ion), OFS(Ion) and BT Studio(Element) and so working in the O'Reilly is excellent training for using the same type of consoles elsewhere. The old lighting desk, a Strand 520i, is stored in the theatre should it be required, but is no longer maintained.



The O'Reilly has extensive sound equipment. The mixer is an Allen & Heath GL2400 24 channel desk, with the option of using a Yamaha 01V96 digital console if required. There are facilities for playback of all common sources (MD, CD, CDR and cassette) and there is also an FX unit. There are many possible speaker configurations (FoH, subs and powered and non-powered monitors) and a stock of cables. There are 4 d&b E-PAC and 3 stereo Crest Amplifiers, which can be patched to the speaker outputs around the theatre from the control room. The speaker stock is 8x d&b E3, 6x Martin F10, 2x Martin S12 and 8 unbranded conference speakers.


The venue has a very small number of wired mics, and 2 EMO passive DI boxes. It also has some basic radio mics, which are really intended for conference use, but could be used for some simple applications. The mixer has sufficient capacity to control extra radio mics you may wish to hire in (e.g. for musicals). There are sound tie-lines running between the control box and the stage, and also between the control box and the balcony. These allow the sound board to be taken out of the control box if a better sound monitoring position is required, although this is a time-consuming procedure, and must be done during your get-in, as should swapping the consoles.


There is also an Apple Mac Mini based playback system based on QLab and a MOTU Ultralite soundcard, which is located in the control room however can be controlled from anywhere in the theatre using an installed KVM system. You are recommended to use this system for your production's sound effects and playbacks.


Video & Projection

The O'Reilly has an extensive video and projection system, with dual projectors and a video patching system. The Mac Mini also has a TripleHead2Go unit attached which gives up to 3 seperate VGA outputs from QLab. This system can be very complex to manage, however the complexity should not be offputting, as high quality results have been obtained on several occasions - the projectors in particular are of very high quality. However, if you wish to use projection as an element in your production, in particular if you are not in end-on configuration, you would be advised to discuss this well in advance of the get-in and obtain advice from the Theatre Technician on the best way to set up and use the system.



The O'Reilly was built with many different seating and staging layouts in mind, and so all of the seating can be folded away to leave a clear stage. The main seating stand is retractable into the wall, and can be locked in any postition in between to modify the number of rows of seats. Extra seating can be provided using portable sets of seats that are kept in the main store, as well as conference chairs that can be borrowed from Keble College. These seats can be placed either on the floor or on rostra. The rostra comes in 1m square sections, and there are single( 25cm) and double height( 50cm) frames, as well as some clips to lock adjacent units together and stack them. The rostra can also be used as staging, and the top panels can be flipped to either have a green felt cover or a matt black rubber surface.

The floor of the venue is wooden, and so rolls of stage flooring (harlequin) is provided and must be used by the companies. The companies must provide good quality matt gaffa tape, or dance floor tape to secure the floor in place. Please note, painting or flameproofing is not permitted inside the theatre.

There is a set of full blacks to mask the back wall and cyc, and there are 6 legs provided for masking. There are also 2 short borders for masking at the top, and two masks for the flybar cleat rail.

For large set items, there is a large goods lift from street level on Blackhall Road to stage level. There is also a ramp down from Blackhall Road to balcony level, for trolleys etc.


The Theatre Technician:

The Theatre Technician is appointed by the College, and you are required to pay their fee for the duration of the time they are working on your show. There are rules as to when the technician must be present during your get-in and get-out, and you should consult the theatre regulations for full details of this.

As a guide, they must be present when any flying is being done, and also any work is being performed at height. They must also supervise the laying of the stage flooring, and inspect any equipment that you may bring into the theatre. Note that any electrical equipment brought into the theatre should have a valid PAT test. They must also be present if you are moving the sound desk out of the control room and onto the balcony, or swapping in the digital console.

During the get-out, it is the responsibility of the company to re-set the space to its “default conference setting”; the theatre technician will advise of any cross-rigging for lighting or sound.


Typical Schedule

The production team takes responsibility for the theatre at 10:30am on Friday, starting with the get in. A suggested schedule is below: Performances are permitted Tuesday-Saturday evenings, with a Saturday matinee and a Sunday matinee also permitted for a total of 7 possible performances. No weekday matinees are permitted. Productions may perform in as many or as few of these slots as they see fit - for example a simple show with little to tech may choose to dress on the Tuesday and open on Wednesday, but a more complex show such as a musical may dress on Wednesday and open on Thursday. The get out must take place on Sunday and Monday. All work at height requiring the scaffolding tower (de-rigging of lanterns, speakers, or set) must be done on Monday under the supervision of the theatre technician. The theatre will then be subject to an inspection by college staff on Monday afternoon before the next show begins their get in.

Production week:

Friday 10:30am Get-in starts – construction of scaffolding tower; rigging; set construction; focusing and plotting
Saturday 9:00am Continue plotting and set construction; begin technical rehearsal
Sunday-Tuesday Technical rehearsals
Tuesday 7.30pm Dress rehearsal if opening Wednesday
Wednesday 9:00am Any additional work for creative and technical teams, or more technical rehersal 
Wednesday 7.30pm First performance
Thursday-Saturday, 7.30pm

Performances (Saturday matinee optional, no weekday matinees permitted)

Sunday, 9:00am Get out - everything other than work at height (derigging lanterns, speakers, etc.) should be done on Sunday
Monday, 9:00am Continue get-out - construction of scaffolding tower, de-rigging, work at height. Followed by inspection by college staff.




The O'Reilly is a really nice medium sized studio space in Oxford, especially being such a modern and well equipped venue, but it is quite a step up from the BT. It is worth getting some experience in there before you take on a major role (especially PMing) at the O'Reilly. It is very important to create good schedules and stick to them, as time has a habit of disappearing very quickly. It is also very well equiped technically and the control room can be overwhelming at first sight! It is, however, very rewarding to work in this slightly larger scale venue, and you should definitely take the chance if you can.

PK 10/4/03

Updated by AJB 25/9/12, JE 22/08/13, JE 28/02/15, JE 12/02/16, JH 11/05/17, JH 1/10/17