To most people, … theatre at Oxford means the theatre outdoors, beside the lake at Worcester, on the great shabby lawn at Trinity, or beneath the noble purple beech of Wadham. I am not myself irresistibly attracted by the prospect of an evening with Beaumont, Fletcher and the midges, but I admit the magic of those occasions if the evening is fine and you can watch them from an independent distance. I was once loitering around Magdalen on a classic May evening when I saw a company of players making their way through the Grove for a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They were moving swiftly in their cowls, ruffs and velvets, all among the elms, and a few shy deer watched them pass between the tree trunks. Their footfalls were silent on the turf, their voices reached me faintly on the warm air, and they disappeared into the shadows merrily, with Puck occasionally practicing his jumps, and Titania lifting her crimson skirts, and a few lumpish fairies skirmishing in the flanks. I never caught the spell of the theatre more hauntingly, as I watched them across the fence, and felt rather like Hamlet when the players came to Elsinore — ‘You are welcome, masters, welcome all.’

Jan Morris, Oxford. (I do not like to think about what I would give to be able to write half as well as Jan Morris.)