THOUSANDS of schoolchildren and families have had a free taste of the theatre as the Oxford Playhouse's pop-up tent toured the county.

More than 100 people were delighted to see the tent 'pop-up' in Florence Park, in East Oxford, for two days last week.

It was the latest public show of a short tour round community sites and schools in the county, following a £7,000 grant from Oxford Mail parent company the Gannett Foundation.

Oxford Playhouse producer Hannah Groombridge said: "The Playhouse originally set up the Tent in 2012, as we wanted to take our work to postcodes and communities that don’t often get the chance to visit us in central Oxford.

"We decided to revive the Tent this year in order to carry on that work and to bring theatre to people in the county that don’t often have the opportunity to experience theatre."

The Oxford Playhouse was among four community groups and organisations to win a slice of grants totalling almost £22,000 in December.

Each year The Gannett Foundation invites local charities and organisations to apply for a funding before choosing a bunch of worthy winners supporting local causes.

Ms Groombridge said: "We were given £7,000 to buy the Tent and transport it around schools and communities in Oxfordshire; without this grant, the Tent literally wouldn’t be here so we are so grateful for the generous support from the Foundation."

She added: "The reaction to the Tent has been really wonderful.

"Our comments book is full of lovely reactions from the audience about the show and the tent.

"People love the idea of a theatre coming to them, and the show being in a more relaxed setting with lots of related activities to do around it – parents and children love the show, and love finding out even more after it."

The travelling tent has been performing a show called 'One Small Step' and visited places such as Charlgrove Community Primary, Little Milton CofE School, St Francis CofE Primary, Woodstock CofE Primary and Pegasus School.

It also staged pop-up shows at Blenheim Palace, Common People Festival and its recent two-day event in Florence Park, Oxford, which attracted more than 100 people for its final performance.

Overall the touring tent has entertained roughly 3,500 people.

Ms Groombridge added: "Florence Park is the Tent’s last public outing, but we are taking ‘One Small Step’ to Manchester, Bath and Southampton at theatre venues over the next two weeks.

"If all goes well we have our fingers crossed that we can bring it back for another tour around Oxfordshire in summer 2019."