• Duration: 2 hours approx.
  • Tickets: Standard: £18 | Pay more: £26 | Pay less: £10 | Or pay what you decide
  • Extras: Takes place at OVADA Warehouse Gallery


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Aeneas walks into a bar on his first night in Oxford: a refugee forced to leave his homeland. He finds himself in Dido’s Bar, where the House Band play jazz and folk influenced by their own cultures. Spotted by bar owner Venus, Aeneas is pulled onto the stage and so begins a story of love, jealousy and ambition.

Sit at a table and watch the story unfolding all around you as the OVADA Warehouse is transformed into Dido’s Bar: a cabaret-style venue at the edge of town. The international cast draw from their own heritage to inspire the music: the tar and tanbour of Persian classical and Kurdish folk music, Arabic and Berber singing styles, Finnish folk songs and a Western jazz trio of keys, drums and bass.

Dido’s Bar is an epic retelling of Virgil’s Aeneid, one of the world’s oldest myths of migration and the founding of Europe, Aeneas “made a refugee by fate” flees war-torn Troy (in modern day Turkey) to find a home in Italy. Facing resistance from humans and manipulation from Goddesses Juno and Venus, he ends up founding the Kingdom that would become Rome.

Retold for the 21st century through the eyes of refugees today, the show is inspired by Director Josephine Burton’s encounter with Kurdish Iranian refugee and now Finnish resident Composer, Marouf Majidi.


Conceived and Directed by Josephine Burton

Written by Hattie Naylor

Composed by Marouf Majidi with additional composition by Riku Kantola

Set and Costume Design by Bryan Woltjen

Music and Sound arranged, designed, and directed by Riku Kantola

Movement Direction by Ayse Tashkiran

Lighting Design by Peter Small

Produced by Charlie Bunker

Dido’s Bar is co-commissioned by Oxford Contemporary Music and co-produced in the UK with Royal Docks Team, Oxford Contemporary Music and Journeys Festival, with additional support from Arts Council England, Backstage Trust, The Foyle Foundation, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, The London Community Foundation, Genesis Foundation, Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, The Marchus Trust, Austin and Hope Pilkington, The Leche Trust and individual donors.

The Oxford production of Dido’s Bar is supported by Old Fire Station Oxford. 

Show times

  • Thurs 27 Oct, 7.15pm

  • Fri 28 Oct, 2.00pm

  • Fri 28 Oct, 7.15pm

  • Sat 29 Oct, 6.30pm

Doors open 30 mins before each show time.

This show is 2hrs approx, with a 30 min interval.

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.