A THEATRICAL couple who fell in love on an Oxford stage 56 years ago have returned to the city where their romance blossomed.

Delena and Gary Raymond hit it off over a steamy modern adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata at the Oxford Playhouse.

Now 78, they returned to the Playhouse’s neighbouring theatre, the Burton Taylor Studio, this week for a production of Dear Liar.

They both recall how the magic of theatre has served as a backdrop to their 55-year-long union.

Mrs Raymond, who is known by the stage name Delena Kidd, said: “I had heard about this extremely handsome young man and indeed he was.

“All he had heard about me was that I had a car, which in those days was pretty unusual.”

Her husband said: “I saw an extraordinarily attractive woman. She seemed incredibly sophisticated.”

Lysistrata, which also featured Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales in a production which was a hit with critics, including the Oxford Mail and its sister paper The Oxford Times.

The couple married the following year and have since acted together and apart around the world, from Jakarta to Colorado.

The couple, from Hammersmith, London, took to the stage on Tuesday and Wednesday for George Bernard Shaw’s Dear Liar.

It tells the true story of his affair with his mistress of 40 years, married Stella Campbell.

Mrs Raymond said: “It's a love story with ups and downs.

“And we have both had ups and downs and we have both kept on working.”

She said: “I think it would be terrible to be in a relationship with anyone other than an actor.

“We have the same interests, we both love acting, and you know exactly what it’s like.

“It certainly is more dramatic, you are separated quite a lot by tours and it is quite unstable — you can be making a lot of money one minute and none the next.”

The setting is another blast from the past as the studio theatre is named after legendary film stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who starred at the Playhouse.