BOATMAN. Nick Osmond & Ailsa Joy

In an exciting twist, Oxford’s Creation Theatre Company‘s latest production Boatman Town can be enjoyed from the comfort of some of Oxford’s best watering holes.

Acclaimed poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell‘s new adaption of Everyman is set in a pub, so it only seemed fitting to tour it at Summertown Wine Cafe, Tap Social’s White House, The Isis River Farmhouse, James Street Tavern, The Lamb Inn in Bicester and The Seven Stars in Marsh Baldon.

Creation’s Boatman Town cast. Pics by Geraint Lewis

“Travelling theatres in the 15th century would always be packing up and moving on, so performing Boatman Town in a pub really works,” Glyn says, “and Creation is the perfect fit because it’s not site specific.”

Enamoured from a young age by Everyman’s morality tale (written by an anonymous English author), Glyn has wrestled with an adaption suitable for contemporary audiences for years.

‘It helped writing this in lockdown – the first time theatres have closed since Cromwell was in power’

But having been commissioned by Creation, Covid provided Glyn with the sanctity needed to finally complete this life-long project, and Oxfordshire’s audiences are first in.

‘It helped writing this in lockdown, the first time theatres have closed since Cromwell was in power, and seems right to stage Boatman Town in Oxford where there is such an erudite audience, so I’m really excited about this project,” Glyn says.

Glyn Maxwell

And with Creation CEO Helen Eastman directing, it looks set to be a stunning evening of theatre. Set on a Mediterranean island, a group of English holiday-makers find themselves stranded and take shelter in an English pub where they have time to get to know each other better.

Set on a Mediterranean island, a group of English holiday-makers find themselves stranded, and take shelter in an English pub

But when they hear a girl crying in the next room they have to decide what to do. Is she their responsibility and should they help her? For Yvonn, the hero of Boatman Town, it means certain death, but they all have to go on that journey with her.

Boatman Town. Pics by Geraint Lewis

“It’s about a group of people who are really out of their depth on an island miles from home, that sense of being trapped, so it doesn’t matter if the audience hasn’t seen or read the original because it’s not in archaic verse,” Glyn adds.

“Instead I transpose the lens of heaven and hell to somewhere more contemporary – my Everyman is a woman – and yet the wrangle between good and evil continues.

“So I hope Boatman Town is clever, entertaining and witty and that people will enjoy it with a pint in their hand!”

Performance dates and venues

Feb 20 – Summertown Wine Bar

Feb 21-23 – The White House by Tap Social

Feb 24 & 28 – Isis Farmhouse

Feb 26 – The Lamb Inn, Bicester

Feb 27 – The Seven Stars, Marsh Baldon

March 8-10 – James Street Tavern

Boatman Town runs from February 20- March 10. Book here: