• Tickets: Standard: £5 | Pay more: £10 | Pay less: £1


Join JC Niala and special guests for an afternoon of talks discussing her project recreating a 1918 allotment in Oxford – exploring relations between the Spanish Flu (1918/19) and COVID-19 pandemics, World War One, and the role of outdoor space and allotments within them. Invited guests will speak to a range of topics, including the history of allotments, gardening in the trenches, and growing practices during the pandemic.

A collection of poetry by Niala inspired by the project will also be launched at the event and brought to life in an exhibition in the OFS galleries, 11 March – 16 April.

Invited speakers include:

· JC Niala is an anthropologist, historian and poet. She is a final year doctoral researcher at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford. Her thesis is entitled ‘Banal Utopia: urban gardening as a practice for materialising utopic spaces in cities.’

· Alex Mayhew is a historian based at the London School of Economics and researches the cultural, military, and social history of war, recently writing on ‘British Expeditionary Force Vegetable Shows, Allotment Culture, and Life Behind the Lines during the First World War’.

· Claire Ratinon is an organic food grower and writer based in East Sussex, and author of ‘How to Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving the House’ (2020) and ‘Unearthed: On Race and Roots, and How the Soil Taught Me I Belong’ (2022).

· Jeremy Burchardt is Associate Professor at the University of Reading and author of ‘The Allotment Movement in England’ and ‘Paradise Lost: Rural Idyll and Social Change Since 1800’.

· Elizabeth Ewart is Associate Professor in the Anthropology at Linacre College and a specialist in Indigenous peoples of the Americas, including garden design and culture.

A collection of poetry by Niala inspired by the project will also be launched at the event and brought to life in an exhibition in the OFS galleries, 11 March – 16 April.

A livestream will also be available of the event via TORCHS Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQgYTbouUQw

Project supported by TORCH as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, andby Arts Council England. Commissioned by Fig.studio

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.

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.