• Duration: 2 hours
  • Tickets: Standard: £13 | Pay more: £15 | Pay less: £11
  • Ages: All ages


Cantat Ergo Sumus combines Oxford philosophy professor Paul Lodge’s interests in philosophy and music. He is joined by leading lights of Oxford’s psychedelic/drone/experimental music scene Flights of Helios, with whom he has been working on the project with the aid of a Theatre Seed Fund Grant from TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities).  

Cantat Ergo Sumus is a play on Descartes’ famous ‘Cogito ergo sum’. It means: ‘It Sings Therefore We Are’, where the ‘It’ is the mysterious source which brings us to life through the gift of song. The show consists of settings of a number of philosophical poems from the writings of figures such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Margaret Cavendish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Hildegard von Bingen. The audience will also be treated to a selection of songs from Paul’s and Flights of Helios’ back catalogues.  

Paul Lodge is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University who has been writing and performing music on the side for 30 years or so. Among his recent projects is ‘Shakespeare in the Alley’, a set of original songs based on Shakespeare’s plays, which he performed at numerous venues, including the Old Fire Station, The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford, and Mansfield College Oxford. His most daunting performance to date was at a dinner for Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2018.  

Flights of Helios have charmed Glastonbury and Wilderness audiences with their possessed take on psychedelic folk and post-rock. Steve Lamacq and Don Letts selected recent single Magpie/Beast for BBC 6 Music, adding to previous airplay for debut album ‘Endings’ by Gideon Coe (BBC 6 Music), John Kennedy (Radio X) and Simon Raymonde of Bella Union Records (Amazing Radio). The band has also soundtracked landmark 1920s animated film ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’ under commission from University of Oxford, and contributed to Shakespeare-themed folk album ‘The Food Of Love Project’(2017). For fans of Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, Pink Floyd and Fairport Convention. 

“Anyone who has caught [Flights of Helios] live will know they can be truly transcendental… On this evidence, the sun moon and stars are well within reach.”  – Oxford’s Nightshift 

“Fantastic… drawn out, drenched in drone… worth keeping your ears peeled for.” –  Drowned in Sound (review of Flights of Helios’ Truck Festival set) 

Parking & Access


There are a number of Blue Badge parking spaces nearby on Beaumont Street, and more on New Inn Hall Street and St Giles.

The closest car park is Gloucester Green Car Park, accessed via Gloucester Street.

If you have any questions or concerns, the City Council’s Access Officer can be reached at 01865 249811.

Getting here

We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, but we need your help. Use ecoway, our sustainable travel planner, to see the most eco-friendly options for your journey to Old Fire Station, and plan a bespoke and flexible route. ecoway is easy to use and you’ll be kept up to date with any disruption or changes to your journey plan.

Car parks in Oxford Blue Badge information Public transport in Oxford


Disabled patrons are eligible for one free companion ticket with their booking. To book this, contact the ticket office: tickets@oldfirestation.org.uk or 01865 263990.

There are two entrances to the Old Fire Station: 40 George Street via the foyer, and on Gloucester Green via the shop. Both are step-free. If you are coming to a show, we ask that you use the George Street entrance, as the Gloucester Green entrance is not always open.

Events in the Theatre

There is level entry to the foyer of the Old Fire Station, and step-free access to the main Theatre (where most shows take place).

If you are a wheelchair user attending a sit-down show, space will be reserved for you. If you are attending a standing gig, please contact us (call the ticket office on 01865 263990 or e-mail tickets@oldfirestation.org.uk) and we will talk with you about your needs.

Events in the Studio

There is level entry into the foyer of the Old Fire Station, and step-free access to the Studio.

Events in the Loft

There are six steps leading up to the Loft space, with no lift. If you would like to discuss this to find out more, please get in touch.

The Gallery

There is step-free access to the Gallery – level entry through the George Street entrance, and via lift from the Gloucester Green entrance.


Accessible toilet
There is an accessible toilet on the ground floor, accessible via platform lift. Other toilets are in the basement (accessible via lift).

Hearing assistance system
The Theatre is equipped with a hearing assistance system. If you have any questions about using it, please e-mail us at tickets@oldfirestation.org.uk or phone 01865 263980.

Assistance dogs
All types of assistance and guide dogs are welcome at the Old Fire Station. It would be great if you could let us know in advance if you will be bringing a working dog to any performances – just e-mail tickets@oldfirestation.org.uk.

Strobe lighting
We will warn visitors on the website and in the foyer of the venue if a performance is going to contain strobe lighting. If lighting affects you, and you have any concerns, please call the ticket office on 01865 263990 or e-mail tickets@oldfirestation.org.uk.

Chairs in the theatre
Our chairs are a standard dining-chair size, measuring 40cm deep by 37cm wide, with a metal frame. Some have arms, and some do not. They are all joined together at the sides, to form rows. If this is likely to pose a problem for you, please email tickets@oldfirestation.org.uk and we can discuss how to make your visit more comfortable.