The OUDS New Writing Festival is one of the highlights of the theatrical year in Oxford. If you like your theatre big-budget or tried and tested then this probably won't be your thing, but it does have spirit, and you can feel part of a frenetic week of new ideas and new playwrights on the up.
A normal week at the Burton Taylor is busy enough - with two plays per night the productions have to dovetail tightly - agreeing on seating/staging, swapping sets (which have to pack small enough to store in the broom cupboard), and I can only imagine how the two casts fight for space in the dressing room.
During the Festival this goes up to four plays, which are already a shortlist of the competition entries. First of all scripts are submitted, and the four best are put forward to be produced. Teams are assembled, often with directors or actors new to the OUDS scene. At the end of the week prizes are awarded for best production and best script. I'd recommend seeing at least two plays (easy to do in one evening and with time to eat in between them) so you can hold heartfelt opinions about who should win.
I've seen a lot of new writing, from town and gown, and the productions that live longest in the memory have been from this festival. If the stories are ones that have been told before, then they're done in a new way. They're good solid pieces of drama. They may not be polished, but they're rich, and they're an excellent introduction to how busy and exciting the student drama scene can be.