PAST EVENTS 2013–2018

On LiveFridays the Ashmolean opened its doors 7–10.30pm giving you the opportunity to experience the Museum and see the collections after hours. Interactive events including theatrical performances, creative workshops and lively talks were also on offer, with drinks and food available in the rooftop Dining Room on Level 4 and a bar in the café on the Lower Ground Floor.


Friday 26 October 2018, 7–10.30pm

At this late night LiveFriday we conjured up an evening of wizardry, witchcraft and wonderment.

To celebrate our 2018 exhibition Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, we discovered magicians, illusionists and astrolabe demonstrations, heard about magic and medicine, star-gazed with astronomers, experimented with face distortion, and much more.

The Ashmolean would like to thank the exhibition sponsors for their generous support.

Bagri Foundation
University of East Anglia








The Bagri Foundation  |  The Wellcome Trust  |  University of East Anglia

The Spellbound Magic Circle: Philip & Jude Pullman; Dasha Shenkman OBE, HonRCM; and others who wish to remain anonymous

The Patrons of the Ashmolean

The research on this subject under the title “Inner Lives: Emotions, Identity and the Supernatural, 1300 -1900” was generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the University of East Anglia.

Friday 25 May 2018, 7–10.30pm

Immerse yourself in 1930s America at this evening event tracing America from the Roaring Twenties through to the end of the Great Depression.

Explore our America’s Cool Modernism Exhibition, discover the glamour of 1930s Hollywood alongside the American rural farmstead, and be inspired by The Machine Age, The Great Gatsby and the effects of Prohibition.

Dress code: All-American vintage. Think cowboys, flapper girls, prairie farmers, Bugsy Malone and Hollywood starlets

  • Discover hidden Speakeasy Bars from clues scattered around the museum.
  • Live music from American Swing and Cabaret in the cafe, to cool jazz in the Rooftop Restaurant. 
  • Watch as the authentic Gatsby Girls show off their fancy footwork.
  • Laugh and learn at the Probhibition's a Drag event where Katie Gardner gives short talk on American legal restrictions placed on artists and their work and a hilarious performance from LiveFriday veterans The Dragprov Revue
  • Try out a 1930s Reading Machine invented by the modernist visual poet Bob Brown, updated using Augmented Reality by the AGAST Project at Oxford Brookes, and featuring words-in-motion by Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Brown himself!
  • Photobooth and Decadent Times Lounge @ The Rooftop Restaurant
  • 20s Fashion show edit by the stylists from the Westgate Centre’s John Lewis
  • Talk on Consuelo Vanderbilt- Blenheim Palace’s Dollar Princess by Blenheim Curator Antonia Keaney
  • Learn about the Medium of Modernism, African American Literature, The Little Black Dress, A Secret History of Cool and much more in the enaging talks available on the night. 
  • Meet modernist writers like James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemmingway as they explore the museum. 
  • Watch the 1930's classic talkie 'Anna Christie' starring Greta Garbo with Prof Alex Goody introducing the film and highlighting key points in this iconic film.
  • Try on and buy 1930's styled clothing from The Retro Room Vintage Shop.  
  • Explore our America’s Cool Modernism exhibition in an after-hours private view


For this late night LiveFriday event the Ashmolean worked with Blackwell’s Books, Curzon Cinema, the Oxford Playhouse & the Rothermere American Institute. 

This event was part part of our American Cool Arts Festival.

Friday 27 October 2017, 7–10.30pm

An evening event kicking off a weekend of activity celebrating the Museum's founding collections.

Heritage Lottery Fund

We are celebrating Elias Ashmole’s 400th birthday year in 17th-century style. We were transported back to the 1600s during the festival weekend with period theatre, talks, quizzes and music.

This event was part of our Founder's Festival which ran from Friday 27 until Sunday 29 October 2017.

Supported by The Linbury Trust and the the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Here are just a few of the activities and performances planned:

  • Basketry Workshop with Native Hands
  • Tradescant collection slideshow & Tanya Bentham 17th-century Stories and Spinning
  • Boldwood ‘Glory of the West’ 
  • Living history Characters- Elias Ashmole, John Tradescant Jr. (includes walking around the museum)
  • The Garden of Antiquities with Dr Alison Pollard (Talk)
  • Handling table of leathers & quills.
  • Baroque 17th-century DJs with Decadent Times
  • Passamezzo dancers and music
  • Stargazing with Abingdon Astronomy Group on the forecourt
  • Masquerade Mask Making
  • Founding Objects Trail
  • 17th-century Lightning Talks:
    • 7.30 - Dennis Duncan “Index Wars:Nit-pickers vs Windbags“ 
    • 8.00 - Matthew Craske  “Garden of Antiquities”
    • 8.30 - William Poole “History of Science”
  • 17th-century Gaming Tables Whist 
  • Photo booth and make-up station- 17th century yourself
  • Palm reading and Tarot Cards with Dee Vyner 
  • Kings Head Band
  • Swinging Molly folk band
  • Living Painting by William Dobson with Past Pleasures
  • Robert Hooke workshop on his microscopes and published 'Micrographia' (1665) with what he observed, and first observation and description of cells
  • Eaton Messe 1680s bawdy theatre performances 

Friday 19 May 2017, 6.30–10.30pm

Party like it’s the 1600s! We celebrated with Elias Ashmole, founder of the Ashmolean Museum, as well as King Charles I and a parade of Civil War Cavaliers & Courtesans.

The night started at 6.30pm when King Charles I led, on horseback, a parade from Broad Street to the Ashmolean Museum.

We found out more about the fascinating history of Oxford during the English Civil War, learnt how to address the King correctly, met the townspeople, and much more. With period dancing, music and quizzes, we immersed ourselves in the 1600s.

There were prizes for the best dressed.


Mr Ashmole’s 400th Birthday was supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to host this event for free and work with groups such as Past Pleasures, The Earl of Manchester’s Regiment of Foote and celebrate the Ashmolean’s founder, Elias Ashmole.

Heritage Lottery Fund
Supported by Oxford City Countil


Friday 3 March 2017, 7–10.30 pm

With Oxford Contemporary Music

A sonic and musical extravaganza as Oxford Contemporary Music takes over the Ashmolean! We experienced sound on multiple levels of the museum and enjoyed live music performances, sound installations, film, instrumental workshops, interactive talks and soundscapes.


Oxford Contemporary Music is a unique producer that works to develop and present the highest quality and most innovative new music and sound-based live events, to engage diverse local and national audiences with its work, and to deepen understanding and appreciation of musical cultures from within the UK and worldwide.

Friday 27 January 2017, 7–10.30 pm

We immersed ourselves in a multilingual world and experienced music, theatre, language tasters and curator talks. We also dressed up to express our identities and awaken our inner linguists. 

The Oxford-led research programme Creative Multilingualism teamed up with the Ashmolean Museum for LinguaMania, a special late night opening that brought alive the museum’s multicultural world through the art and science of language. 

We enjoyed live performances of music and theatre, stories from different parts of the world, and a Japanese Tea Ceremony. We learnt some Russian or Old Norse, had a go at cracking hieroglyphic codes on objects, and got an insight into the workings of our linguistic brains.

This diverse and dynamic evening was supported by the Open World Research Initiative funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Creative Multilingualism, led by Oxford’s Modern Languages Faculty, investigates the interconnection between linguistic diversity and creativity. It involves researchers from the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences at Oxford, Birmingham City University, Cambridge, Pittsburgh, Reading and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

We helped map the world in the main atrium of the Museum and joined researchers, language practitioners, and cultural and community groups for around 30 activities and events throughout the museum.

Friday 25 November 2016, 7–10.30 pm

We Dressed up in our spookiest costumes and explored ghosts and ghouls after dark at the Ashmolean, with music, dance, film, workshops, performance and more.

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) teamed up with the Ashmolean Museum for FrightFriday, a special late night opening of the museum exploring the art and science of Hope and Fear. 

The Ashmolean opened its doors 7–10.30 pm, giving the visitor the opportunity to experience the Museum and see the collections after hours. Interactive events included theatrical performances, creative workshops and lively talks.


With exciting live performances of dance and music, digital installations, film, workshops and interactive talks and exhibits, the Ashmolean came alive for a whole evening with Humanities researchers converging on the themes of Hope and Fear and the Ashmolean collections.

This diverse and dynamic evening was supported by the Wellcome Trust and was the national Festival Finale for the Being Human Festival, which was led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London in partnership with the AHRC and the British Academy.

The evening was made up of several large performances in the main atrium of the Museum (orchestra, performances, processions etc) and around 30 activities and events throughout the museum, which included researchers from across all of the Oxford Humanities Faculties, and also from all of the other Divisions of the University (Social Sciences, Material, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS), and Medical Sciences).

Friday 9 September 2016, 7–10.30 pm

We climbed aboard the Ashmolean and explored the high seas with Creation Theatre! With 2016 marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and Creation Theatre's 20th birthday, the event involved live performances of famous storms in the bard’s plays. We discovered the treasures of the Ashmolean, and enjoyed live performances, music, hands on creative workshops, and behind-the-scenes talks.

'It Came From The Sea' fancy dress theme, with prizes for the best costume!

Supported by the Arts Council England.

Performances of Shakespearean shipwrecks, storms and wars from The Tempest, King Lear and many more – a shipwrecked ceilidh – tales from the sea – Flights of Helios – Short Drag Roger sea-shanties – an immersive storm room – a new ‘tour’ by guest theatre company The Factory – tornado demonstrations – sea-life collage – jellyfish puppet-making – pirate mask-making – nautical face-painting – talks, tours and more.

Arts Council England

13 May 2016, 7.00-10.30pm

Bringing the final weekend of our Andy Warhol exhibition to a grand finale, our May LiveFriday focused on portraits across the Museum and beyond. From gargoyles to pop-art, self-portraits to caricatures, face-swaps to selfies.

With blockbuster live performances, hands-on creative workshops, behind-the-scenes talks, and bars in the rooftop Dining Room and the Café.

We joined in with the creative communities at The Oxford Old Fire Station, danced the evening away at a Warhol Factory Party with DJs from Decadent Times in the café, and listened to expert talks with the Oxford Research Centre for Humanities (TORCH). Artist partnership brook & black revealed the community exhibition "Beyond the Balcony," with a series of responses to the portrait of Fanny Claus by Edouard Manet. The Ashmolean presented an exploration of portraiture from mummies to Manet and from sculpture to portraiture, with hands on workshops in the galleries alongside live performances and music inspired by the portraits in the museum.


Old Fire Station artists – Pianist Sholto Kynoch – DJs and bands with Decadent Times – “High as Sugar” with UnderConstruction Theatre – NOVA music – Dr Frankenstein – Disco Shed – Tom Peacock – Playground – brook & black – Oxford Research Centre for Humanities (TORCH) talks – “Framed” with The Dead Secrets – Self Portraits with Dr Weiman He & the Ashmolean’s Eastern Art Collections – Oxford Brookes Portraiture Trail – Screen Testing with Angelsharp – Pop-Art Me – Gargoyle Making – Caricatures – Old Fire Station local band hub – Face Swap – The Balcony – Art Classes – Projections – Films by Grove Street Media – Collages

Friday 29 January 2016, 7–10.30 pm

Are you a superhero or a supervillain? We found out at our special late night of action-packed adventure, exploring heroes and villains across cultures and through time. With blockbuster live performances, hands-on creative workshops, behind-the-scenes talks, and bars in the rooftop Dining Room and the Café. We discovered our secret superpowers at Oxford’s favourite cultural night out.

Are you a Superhero or a Supervillain? We found out at our special late night of action-packed adventure, exploring heroes across cultures and through time with Oxford Comic Con (OxCon).

Blockbuster live performances, games, hands on creative workshops, behind-the-scenes talks, and bars in the Wayne Enterprise Dining Room and the Mos Eisley Cafe. We watched out for the storm troopers at Oxford’s favourite popular culture night out. 

The LiveFriday line-up included:

  • Live Comic Jam with Phoenix Comic
  • A Cosplay Superhero/villain competition with special guest judges (judging will be at 8pm kids, 9pm adults) with special Cosplay judges supplied by OxCon: Oxford’s Comic Convention

There was also the chance to purchase tickets for OxCon during the event. 


  • Anime Films and Projections
  • Assyrian Evil doers
  • Babylonian Battle Stories
  • Bands and DJs with Decadent Times
  • Board Games with Thirsty Meeples
  • Don't Hate the Players Theatre Company
  • Draw your own Superhero
  • Egyptian Demon Creation Station
  • Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes music
  • Genghis Khan in Coins and Medals
  • Graphic Novel Artists
  • Heroes and Villains in the Contemporary China Collections
  • Horus vs Seth
  • Immunity Heroes
  • Medieval Encounters in Game of Thrones
  • Mermaids with the Silver Finned Blues
  • Myths & Heroes of Greece and Rome with Living Historian Tanya Bentham
  • Oxford Comic Con OxCon
  • Oxford Lindy Hoppers
  • Shimmy Shimmy Bang Bang Bellydancers
  • Special Guests
  • Storm Troopers
  • Taruithorn Tolkien tengwar Writing Workshop
  • The Oxford Gargoyles
  • UnderConstruction Theatre
  • Villainous bugs and weevils with conservation staff
  • Heroes & Villains Dress Up

Costume and Cosplay were permitted, but are optional. A cosplay superhero/villain costume competition, with special guest judges, took place during the event.

Friday 30 October 2015, 7–10.30 pm

In the run up to Halloween, the Ashmolean created a night for a spooktacular edition of the LiveFriday series, exploring ghouls and spirits accross cultures and through time.

  • Death Drawing workshop with Art Macabre
  • Avid for Ovid, Roman Pantomime
  • Silent Horror films accompanied by live piano music
  • Vampire DJ in the crypt
  • Make a Mummy Workshop
  • Shadow Puppetry with Danse Macabre
  • Origami Bats and Skulls Workshop
  • Rome’s Walking Dead
  • The Dead Funny Oxford IMPS
  • Sound Installation "In Loving Memory"
  • Schola Cantorum Choir
  • Make your own Latin Headstone
  • The Pharaoh’s Bucket List
  • What became of Harley Warren? Murder Mystery in the Museum
  • Gravediggers
  • Wandering Ghosts

And much more!

Halloween Dress Up
Dressing up for DeadFriday was encouraged but optional.

Instagram ‘Pharaoh’s Bucket List’ Competition

Friday 15 May 2015, 7–10.30 pm 

What is it that makes people and societies tick? We found out at the Ashmolean LiveFriday, Social Animals, in collaboration with the Social Sciences Division at Oxford University.

The Ashmolean once again opened its doors 7–10.30 pm, giving you the opportunity to experience the Museum and see the collections after hours. Interactive events included theatrical performances, creative workshops and lively talks. The Rooftop Dining Room and Crypt Café were open all evening.

Our exhibitions was open late.

Friday 30 January 2015, 7–10.30 pm 

Inspired by William Blake’s epic and revolutionary text 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell', this special LiveFriday brought the visionary artist and writer to life through a programme of live music, performances, illusions, workshops and talks.

William Blake was a true visionary whose work has inspired music, art, literature, graphic novels and film. We met angels and demons, took a trip from the hellish museum crypts to the heavenly rooftop bar, and discovered more about this extraordinary and mysterious man.

Our William Blake: Apprentice & Master exhibition was open late (last entry 9pm), and the Rooftop Dining Room and Crypt Café was open all evening.



‘Schola Cantorum’ sang choral arrangements of Blake’s poems by composers ranging from Vaughan Williams to Tavener and Parry.
‘Sofar Sounds’ presented us with an intimate gig, with local bands including ‘Balloon Ascents’ and ‘The Balkan Wanderers’ premiering their unique arrangements of Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ and ‘London’.
The Beatroots’ provided some heavenly jazz a cappella
Elsewhere visitors discovered how Blake has inspired modern musicians such as Bob Dylan and Patti Smith from a silent radio station played through wireless headphones.

Illusions, Visions & Perception

We visited a special ‘LottoLab’ installation and discovered the limits of human perception through a series of multi-sensory illusions. A wandering magician demonstrated the boundaries between reality and imagination!

Theatre & Performance

The museum’s underworldly crypts played host to a shadow puppetry theatre, in an exploration of Blake’s assertion that ‘imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow’. ‘Armchair Puppets’ were on hand to teach visitors how to design puppets inspired by monsters in Blake’s art. And a shadow-cutting artist provided on-the-spot silhouette portraits for you to take home.

The Oxford Imps’ presented demonically funny improvised comedy, actress Ruth Rosen performed her Blake inspired monologue ‘Man Without a Mask’. The Oxford University Dramatic Society offered recitals of Blake’s poems in the exhibition, as well as a performance of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’.


We illustrated poetry and learnt how to mirror-write, a skill Blake developed for his revolutionary printing method. A Blake treasure hunt took families on a trip through the collections, and a range of games such as William Blake Top Trumps offered entertainment for all ages.

Talks and Tours

John Dunning, curator of the graphic novel exhibition at the British Library, provided insight into Blake’s crucial influence on the genre, alongside short introductions to Blake in film, Blake and the Gothic, and the neuroscience behind hallucinations, presented by Oxford’s finest academics. ‘The Architectural Association’ also showcased a series of designs inspired by Blake’s mythical city of Golgonooza.


Late night opening of the William Blake: Apprentice & Master exhibition

Friday 31 October 2014, 7–10.30pm

When the doors to Tutankhamun’s tomb were opened in 1922, Egypt fever swept the world. On 31 October 2014, LiveFriday brought Egyptomania to the Ashmolean Museum, as 1920s glamour meets Egyptology.

We invited you all to don a fez, put on your flapper dress, or make an Egyptian outfit for the best Halloween fancy-dress party in town! The evening was an opportunity to explore the extraordinary fascination with Egyptology during the 1920s.

Music and Performance

Free live performances, including: opera from the Elia Ensemble; comedy from the Oxford Imps; theatre; live jazz and ragtime; belly dancing and lots more.

Fancy Dress Competition

Halloween, Egyptomania or Jazz-Age 1920s – the choice is yours! We also had a photo booth, and a 1920s catwalk display from the Oxford Fashion Society.

Halloween Fun

Spooky Victorian Lantern Slide show, and we discovered the exploration of mummies in the horror stories of Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker.


Hands-on workshopsgave you the chance to create your own 1920s accessories and learn to write hieroglyphs.

Talks and Tours

Leading academics talked in the galleries about Tut-mania in the 1920s, the process of mummification, and the Ashmolean’s collections from Egypt and Nubia.


Late night opening of the Discovering Tutankhamun exhibition

Friday 27 June 2014, 7–10.30 pm

LoveFriday welcomed the summer LiveFriday to the Ashmolean for an evening dedicated to Love. Visitors were invited to seek out love in the museum’s collection; through musical and theatrical performances and interactive workshops. Offering a shared journey, whether as a pre-existing couple or about to be acquainted, the vistors explored the Museum and met like-minded people.

The programme included:

Speed Dating
Speed dating in the Cast Gallery

Vox Steady performance, from Oxford's rock, pop, soul and jazz choir for adults
Folk Duo Lizzie Nunnery & Vidar Morheim perform a love-themed programme
Out Of The Blue, Oxford University's all-male acapella heartthrobs who recently appeared on Britain's Got Talent
Opera Anywhere pop-up performances
Babylove Bar DJs in the Cafe

16|22 Young Company from Oxford Playhouse will perform a site-specific piece in the Italian Renaissance Gallery
Oxford Imps will perform comedy
Characters from Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors will be roaming the Museum all evening
Mesopotamian storytelling from Zipang
Medieval storytelling

With the Oxford University Salsa Society

Classes from The School of Life:

  • Brennan Jacoby - How to Make Love Last
  • Susan Quilliam - Online Dating and Moving on from a Relationship
  • David Waters - How Necessary is a Relationship?

Vox Steady song workshop - learn how to sing a popular love song in harmony
The Ashmolean's Eastern Art Department will open their Study Room up with a special display
Craft workshop from Oxford University Museums and Collections' HLF Trainees

Special gallery talks and tours all evening

Specially-designed Ashmolean love trail
TalkAbout conversation trails, including a session on how to use them

Friday 14 March 2014, 7–10.30 pm

In collaboration with Oxford Brookes University

LiveFriday returned to the Ashmolean on 14 March 2014 in a special collaboration with Oxford Brookes University. In 1865, in a single room at the Taylorian Institute, beside the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Brookes was established as the Oxford School of Art. To launch a programme of celebrations for the 150th anniversary, the LiveFriday team and Brookes curated an evening of performance and interactive events. Drawing on the expertise of Oxford Brookes’ Faculties of Health and Life Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Business, and Technology, Design and Environment, the evening explored the rich educational opportunities provided by Brookes over the course of its history.

Visitors were able to interact with ‘Artie’ the Robothespian robot and view a number of ‘widgets’, including racing cars built by students and a pair of mountain bikes made from bamboo. Pioneering eye tracking technology showed visitors how the human eye looks at paintings. Indian drummers Dhol2Dhol livened the forecourt whilst those enjoying drinks in the vaulted café were accompanied by performances by local bands Traps, The Sea The Sea and Toliesel. Individual performances by Sharmayne Hensley (Shampers), Oxford Ambient Collective, Sian Magill, Corrina Connor and Latin Tuned were showcased throughout the museum’s unique spaces. Brookes drama students re-enacted the period of Brookes’ foundations whilst roaming the Galleries in Victorian guise. Alongside these thespian performers, student-run Brookes TV station hosted a pop-up studio conducting interviews with VIP visitors, performers and LiveFriday supporters.

Friday 22 November 2013, 7.00 – 10.30pm

In association with Folk Weekend Oxford

Oxford Folk LiveFriday was inspired by Oxford’s rich folk heritage and was organised in association with Folk Arts Oxford (organisers of the annual festival Folk Weekend: Oxford). Visitors encountered Folk, traditional and contemporary, like never before; from workshops, morris dancing, and yarn bombing, to a rousing performance from the Combined Choirs of Oxford.

Oxford Folk LiveFriday was on the same evening as Oxford's Christmas Light Night and formed part of the city’s annual seasonal celebrations.

LiveFriday showcases contemporary culture alongside historic masterpieces within the Ashmolean. The unique mix between old and new; historic and contemporary; traditional and cutting-edge was never been more apparent than in the Oxford Folk LiveFriday programme for Friday 22nd November.

Organised in association with Folk Weekend Oxford, November LiveFriday was inspired by Oxford’s rich folk heritage and included workshops, morris dancing, ceilidh dancing, film, and live music performances throughout the museum spaces. With traditional carols from Rising Voices Community Choir, the evening of festive infused folk also formed part of the city’s annual Christmas Light Night celebrations.



  • Family Ceilidh by Red Ceilidh
  • Ceilidh by Red Ceilidh 
  • Bate Collection Sound Snap
  • Bate Collection Instrument Handling
  • Rising Voices performance and Combined Performance of Christmas Songs
  • Mass Sing-a-long Christmas Songs


  • Tim Healey Green Man talk
  • Jigs by a Duo from the National Youth Folklore Troupe of England 
  • Music in the Family Film
  • The Way of the Morris film
  • Yarn Bombing by The Fibre Works
  • Morris Dancing
  • Giant Puppets 
  • Folk Weekend Oxford Information Station
  • Mummers, Michaelmas and the Empress Matilda by UnderConstruction Theatre Company
  • Lorna Marrison's Oxfordshire Folk Art 
  • Folk Weekend Oxford in Pictures


  • Boldwood
  • Oxford Country Folk Songwriters Circle
  • Swindlestock
  • Olly Wills
  • Steven Adams
  • Tamara Parsons-Baker
  • Ragdoll
  • The Black Feathers
  • Oxford Fiddle Group
  • Will Pound & Henry Webster
  • Nick Tingay from Water Pageant
  • Steph West
  • James Bell
  • Jackie Oates
  • Seasonal Folk by Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing
  • Oxford Contemporary Music Oxford Folk Soundscape


  • Folk-Inspired Craft Workshops
  • Rag-Rug Demonstrations by The Fibre Works
  • Song Workshops

Friday 25 October 2013, 7.00 – 10.30pm

In collaboration with Oxford University Dramatic Society

As students returned to Oxford for another year, the Ashmolean LiveFriday presented The Art of Theatre in collaboration with the Oxford University Dramatic Society. The night was a celebration of the worlds of art and theatre with live music, set design and puppetry workshops alongside the inaugural showing of innovatively staged new plays. Live music performances included extracts from popular musicals as well as an oratorio performed by The Elia Ensemble.



The programme included:

  • short plays by young writers including several from the Royal Court Young Writers Programme
  • an audio play performed on individual headphones
  • scenes from the musical The Producers
  • Handel’s opera The Choice of Hercules performed by the Elia Ensemble
  • funk band the Donut Kings
  • The Paper Cinema perform a unique blend of live animation and music
  • The Oxford Imps perform live improvised comedy
  • a creative butterfly puppet workshop
  • a costume and set design workshop by Anna Lewis
  • talks by leading experts
  • tour guides creatively illuminating items which have a connection with the theatre
  • a dress-up photo-booth

Friday 27th September 2013, 7.00 – 10.30pm

In association with The Oxford Times

A day in the life of The Oxford Times was brought to life among the galleries of the Ashmolean Museum. Hold the front page for live music, drama, discussion, curiosities, hands-on fun and a reflection of the life and culture of Oxford through the prism of an award-winning newspaper, celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Visitors encountered live music, theatre, comedy, poetry, art, lively debate and silly sports from some of the best and most interesting acts and organisations that Oxford has to offer.

The programme included:

  • UnderConstruction Theatre Company
  • Catweazle Club
  • Poetry Workshops
  • Ballad readings by Fraser Prince
  • Letterpress and Typesetting Information Station
  • Photos from The Oxford Times archive by Marc West
  • OCM Soundscape
  • Hold the front page - Headline workshops
  • Short Stories Aloud
  • Protect Port Meadow by photographer Rory Carnegie
  • Photographs from Oxford's music scene by Dean Ryan
  • Entering King Tut's Tomb coordinated by Richard Kidd
  • Oxford Playhouse
  • Creation Theatre Company
  • Sam Strange magician
  • Live Column Reading by Richard O Smith
  • Castaways by Sylvia Vetta
  • Truck Store presents: Reichenbach Falls, Salvation Bill and The August List
  • PinDrop Performances presents: After The Thought, Huck & The Xander Band, Flights of Helios and Grudle Bay with PinDrop Djs between the acts

Friday 30 August 2013, 7.00 – 10.30pm

In association with Oxford Fashion Week

We invited visitors to put on their finery and explore summer chic through the ages. Receiving a passport on arrival, visitors set off around the world in style on an alluring voyage through the museum featuring live photo shoots, runway shows, express fashion sketching and more.



  • OCM Fashion-Infused Soundscape
  • Echo Boomer
  • The Busketeers
  • The April Maze


Dress-Up Piney Gir lock-in gig

Kansas born, London-based art school graduate and sassy, indie pop scenester Piney Gir stroke a pose as part of the Dress Up LiveFriday brining her summery style and sunny disposition to the stage in Ashmolean’s vaulted café.



  • Live Fashion Sketching with Dee Andrews
  • Fashion Design Inspired by East and West with the Oxford Asian Textile Group



  • Vogue! Concept Fashion Designs
  • Phoenix Magazine Fashion Shoot
  • Clare Farrell from TRAID transforms fabrics and old garments into new garments
  • Get a Head, Get a Hat with Louise Pocock
  • Advice & Aspiration: Getting Dressed with Women’s Magazines by Rae Ritchie
  • Window Installation by Exclusive Roots and Indigo
  • Mannequins, photography by Rory Carnegie
  • Clothes and Textiles recycling with Bag It Up
  • The Peace Tent by Textiles for All
  • A Shirty Pair of Knickers by Maria Skoyles of Make Do Mend
  • The Goddess Dress – Classical Style and the Bias Cut by Julia Mallaby
  • Pinworks present the No–Sew Drape Dress
  • A display of classic tailoring from Clements & Church
  • A display of sartorial elegance Pimpernel Clothing
  • Fashion Portfolios from Oxford and Cherwell Valley College
  • Accessorise with Shop at the Old Fire Station
  • Catwalk Show


  • Ethical Fashion Symposium
  • The Ultimate in Fashion and Luxury – The Kashmir Shawl in the Nineteenth Century by Sue Stanton
  • Democracy and Dancing: Dressing Up in the Twentieth Century by Rae Ritchie
  • Best Dressed – presented by fashion bloggers
  • Smocks and Drawers presented by Barbara Allison
  • What’s Hot? Presented by fashion bloggers



Dress-Up LiveFriday was organised in association with Oxford Fashion Week and co-curated by Cultural Events Coordination & Communication Consultant, Sarah Mayhew Craddock, and Director of Oxford Fashion Week Carl Anglim.

Friday 26 July 2013, 7.00 – 10.30pm

Focussing on analogue photography, The Ashmolean enticed you to join the LomoCaterpillar a continuous photochain, strike a pose in a gallery and try out some innovative analogue techniques. From sun prints to SLRs, Lomos to instant photographs, we shared the fascination of old school colour and composition in an evening of creative photographic fun.

The evening also featured a late night ticketed performance by Chad Valley in the Ashmolean’s vaulted café.

Friday 28 June 2013, 7.00 – 10.30pm

During the 'Master Drawings' exhibition, for one night only the galleries at the Ashmolean became drawing studios filled with artists ready to help you start drawing or develop your skills.

Throughout the museum spaces, artists invited you to leave your mark with large scale drawings recording Come Draw with Me.

Workshops and demonstrations gave the opportunity to take up drawing or perfect a technique. With some of the greatest names in the history of art on the walls in the museum, this was the opportunity to learn from Old Masters and contemporary artists.

Come Draw with Me was curated in association with The Campaign for Drawing.

Workshops and Events

Chichi Parish inspired LiveFriday visitors to create cartoon strips taking inspiration from the collection.

Weimin He worked with dancer Aimeé Payton and groups of visitors to explore an artist’s ability to draw movement in the Chinese cursive calligraphy style. His workshop brought calligraphy, drawing, dance and music together.

Steven Follen worked with visitors in the Forecourt to produce a large scale chalk drawing inspired by patterns from the Islamic Middle East gallery.

Cathy Miles demonstrated how to draw with wire. Building on her special interest in European ceramics, Cathy used the Ashmolean's ceramics collections as her inspiration for the evening’s workshops.

Adrian Brooks invited groups to try their hand at drawing on graphic pads.

Artist Tamarin Norwood hosted a workshop combining writing and drawing. A film projection of her work Keeping Time was accompanied by poetry readings.

For those wanting to leave their mark, artist Miranda Creswell invited people to sketch small landscape scenes which were linked together by their horizon lines to create one large panorama.

Friday 31st May 2013, 7.00 – 10.30pm

The award-winning Wilderness Festival stepped out of the wilds to create an enchanting evening of musical performances, theatrical spectacles, literary symposiums, workshops, magic and games at the Ashmolean. Wilderness programmed activities drawing from ancient arts inspired by nature and a love of adventure central to their ethos. We immersed ourselves in the barefoot freedom of Wilderness in the heart of Oxford and enjoyed an unforgettable journey through the arts in the Ashmolean.

Petersham Playhouse displayed their Jabberwocky relics and conducted a hunt around the museum for the forthcoming LiveFriday, whilst Temple Theatre took over the Cast Gallery with theatrical antics culminating in grand classical style festivities. Visitors learnt to expect the unexpected from The Village Hall, a committee of eccentrics and eclectics who brought a touch of lunacy and jest to the evening's proceedings. There were also the opportunity to pontificate over a Philosophy Slam with Robert Rowland Smith and Mark Vernon, aka The School of Life.

Visitors were able to discover ancient British Shamanism and a different way of interacting with the world whilst experiencing archaeology up-close and personal with the Shamanic Street Preachers. As Wilderness weawed its way in and around the Ashmolean's galleries visitors were offered the chance to get wild, creating their own personal 'Shaman style', discovering their iTribe, reaching an altered state of consciousness, and exploring the link between one's minds inner eye and ancient art. This is Guerilla Archaeology inviting visitors to get down and dirty with the past in one of the world's oldest museums!

Yes, Merry England really did exist! Tom Hodgkinson (editor) and Michael Tyack (musician) of the Idler Academy presented an informal musical lecture on Merry-Making transporting visitors back in time to the Middle Ages exploring the festive culture of pre-Reformation Britain. In another gallery Siobhan Davies Dance presented a work entitled Songbook 2010, composed by Matteo Fargion. Originally made for Siobhan Davies Dance as part of Rotor, this new composition reflects Fargion's love of rhythm, counterpoint and the absurd. It is a fast and illogical score performed by four dancers, featuring too many words, sounds and movements, that the feat seems virtually impossible.

Performing a wide range of genres from revitalised classics to exciting new writing, from comedy to drama, The Baroque Theatre Company have a mission to generate a "renaissance" in local theatre. For this LiveFriday they played the harpsichord in full Baroque period dress, whilst elsewhere in the museum local man, George Chopping, of George's Jamboree of Music, Poetry & Comedy...Possibly, recited poetry; there were  performances by Oxford University Dramatic Society, and BBC Oxford Introducing presents Rainbow Reservoir, an Oxford-based band founded by American ex-pat and saxophonist Angela Space. Rainbow Reservoir's musical influences include Silver Jews, Eels and Magnetic Fields as well as the timeless dulcet sounds of the Kinks and the Beatles.

In short, there was something titillating for each and everyone's celebratory taste buds at the Ashmolean's extraordinary exploration of festivals through the ages!

Friday 26 April 2013, 7.00 – 11.30pm
  • Karaoke
  • Xu Bing's Forest Project – Art Workshop by Emma Titcombe of The Project Room
  • Ancient Chinese Scripts as Images – Art, Language and Imagination Workshop – by Dr Weimin He
  • Chinese Chess, Hakka Bridge and Mah Jong – with members of Oxfordshire Chinese Community & Advice Centre
  • Discover Chinese Knife Money from the Ashmolean's collection
  • Sweet n Sour Swing – Live Music
  • Chinese Influenced DJ Set – by Tim Hand of Oxford Contemporary Music
  • Introducing Acupuncture, Cupping, and Chinese Medicine – by Jess Buck of Eau de Vie
  • Chinese Medicine practitioner, Jess Buck, will introduce visitors to Chinese medicine, and the disciplines that she practices, acupuncture and cupping.
  • Participatory Tai Chi on the Terrace – by Dave Baker of Oxford Tai Chi Chuan
  • Chinese Lion Dance Demonstrations – by members of Oxfordshire Chinese Community & Advice Centre
  • Tui Na (Chinese massage) Taster – by Alan Baker of Eau de Vie
  • Eight Things You Didn't Know About Chinese Contemporary Art – by Philip Dodd
  • Translating China – Transcultural Curatorial Practice – by Rachel Marsden of the Chinese Arts Centre
  • An Introduction to Mandarin Language
  • The Jasmine Moon Duo – Live Music
  • Dynasties Win Prizes – by Professor Craig Clunas
  • An Introduction to The Selden Map – by David Helliwell
  • Chinese Online Games – by Dr Hongping Annie Nie
  • The Scream – by Cai Yuan and JJ Xi of Mad For Real
  • How China's Wartime Past is Changing its Present – and Future – by Professor Rana Mitter
  • Tai Chi Demonstrations – by Alan Baker
  • Should we be worried about China? by Dr Karl Gerth
  • Dim Sum and Drinks on sale

22 February 2013, 7-10:30pm

Following the inaugural event in January, the second LiveFriday in the series of free late night events at the Ashmolean was Musical Technologies: Old and New on Friday 22 February. Working in partnership with the University of Oxford's Faculty of Music the evening explored the relationship between music and technology over the last century through free workshops, demonstrations, and performances.

We encountered a range of performances and demonstrations from members of the Music Faculty including:

  • Live improvisation by Dr David Maw to the silent film, Un Chien Andalou by Luis Bunuel, as it is projected onto the walls and ceiling in the Ashmolean's vaulted subterranean café.
  • Professor Eric Clarke, and Dr Roger Allen demonstrating gramophones in the Cast Gallery and the Music and Tapestry Gallery.
  • M@SH ensemble (Music at St Hilda's), centre for experimental music at St Hilda's College, will perform in the Ashmolean's Atrium.
  • The ambient sounds of OxLOrk (Oxford University Laptop Orchestra)
  • A presentation on the research project Music, Digitization, Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies (MusDig)

In addition the Ashmolean and the Faculty of Music played host to special guests and acts:

  • Performances and workshops from world-renowned theremin artist, Lydia Kavina.
  • The Ethometric Music created by British Composer of the Year 2012 for Sonic Art, Ray Lee.
  • Interactive DJs, led by Dr Lisa Busby, demonstrating and encouraging participation around the galleries with sets composed using bespoke instruments.
  • Fixers band-member, Jack Goldstein, and Gloria Lin performing John Cage's Indeterminacy: New Aspect of form in Instrumental and Electronic Music.
  • Numerous other activities across the museum from collectors demonstrating contemporary tracks cut to wax cylinders played on a 1905 Edison Phonograph, to an accordionist making impromptu appearances in the rooftop dining room and on the Ashmolean's forecourt.

As the doors to the main museum closed at 10.30pm, there was a ticketed late-night performance in the vaulted café from Oxford's infamous seven-piece jazz band, The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band, and a special performance from members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the Ashmolean Dining Room and Bar.

Most events on the night were free, however, some were ticketed.

Since the invention of sound recording at the end of the 19th century, the way we encounter, listen to and make music has been revolutionized. Now at a time where smartphones have the power of a small recording studio and mobile listening devices are carried in pockets, people are more aware than ever of the powerful relationship between music and technology. This LiveFriday took visitors on a tour of technical advances from the invention of the gramophone to the digital age. The evening was a unique opportunity to explore a century where technology brought access to more music across a wider diversity of cultures and epochs than ever before.

We had the pleasure of listing to:

  • The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band
  • Purcell & a Pint with musicians from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
  • The Ethometric Museum by Ray Lee
  • John Cage's Indeterminacy: New Aspect of form in Instrumental and Electronic Music performed by Jack Goldstein and Gloria Lin

25 January 2013, 7-22:30pm

For one night only, the Ashmolean was transformed into Mount Olympus. We encountered the Classical world of myths and legends like never before at the country's oldest public museum.

Free Performances

  • Odysseus' Sailors - Interactive theatre sketches
  • Hades Inferno Bar - Interactive theatre sketches in the Ashmolean's vaulted café
  • Ptolemy's Rhapsodes and Amoebaean singers - Storytelling
  • Roman Pantomime - Theatrical performances
  • Greek Choir
  • Greek Dancing
  • Roman Food Facts - Quiz

Free Activities

  • Persian and Greek Language Workshops
  • A brief introduction to the history of the Persian and Greek languages from a member of the University of Oxford Faculty of Linguistics
  • Roman Board Games
  • Gladiator Station
  • Toga Station

Ticketed Performances and Activities

  • The Judgement of Paris - Operetta
  • The Latin Play -Theatrical excerpts from Plautus' Miles Gloriosus
  • Treasure Hunt