• Duration: 70 mins
  • Tickets: £10
  • Company: Divija Melally & Monica Tolia
  • Ages: 14+


A double bill of dance for Offbeat 2023. Divija Melally and Monica Tolia invite you to experience performances on themes of diaspora, gender, generational trauma and more.

Divija Melally: MIRAGE

“Mirage” experiments with combining the movement languages of Indian Classical dance (Bharatnatyam) with contemporary. The topic that inspired the creation of this work was the high rates of female feticide and infanticide in many countries, including India. The work grapples with the irony of worshipping the goddess and killing the girl child, both of whom are female.

The work aims to make the audience aware of the various happenings in the world, and open their eyes to the gender inequality that begins at birth, where a child is snatched of a future just because she was born as a girl. A saree (long piece of cloth) and bells around the feet are used to portray the female life in various forms, and as a symbol of the burden and disappointment that is associated with the birth of a girl. The work is continually evolving as the artist experiments with the various interactions between the theme and the two different dance movement styles.

“Melally has managed to encapsulate an overwhelmingly huge topic into something beautiful, powerful and cool.” – Quaere Living on previous performance by Divija Melally


a snake in the house means the family will never want 屋內怕有 is a multi-sensory performance blending visual art/sculptural costuming, dance and live electronica. The title of the work is based on an old Chinese proverb, and is the departure point for articulating lived experiences and intimacies as Asian diaspora with cultural misunderstandings, intergenerational healing and transformation at its core.

Opening with a voicenote of the artist’s mother reflecting on overwork, xenophobia and cultural invisibility, the performance explores the semiotics of the snake and the ingrained tendency of Hek Fu 吃苦 (transl.: eating bitterness), while the song of the declining dialect of Toisanese forms the background to which the duo onstage perform a repetitious choreography suspended between work and ritual.

Movement eventually departs into sensuous animalism, exploring what liberatory potential is there when we learn from and embody more than being human. Wearing sculptural costuming illuminated by light, and shifting form with the dancer’s movements, the performance projects transformational imaginings of cultural and futuristic hybridity.

“Through beautifully composed soundscapes that feature Tolia’s mother speaking and singing in her native Toisanese, A Snake in the house asks what truths are revealed when our cultural and spiritual impulses guide us toward both old and new ways of being.” – The Place blog

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.