Friday night was a BIG NIGHT for the Reading Fringe. Conversations with Trees was a unique musical collaboration specially curated by Fiona Talkington with Thomas Strønen, Hannah James and Jackie Oates. The group had only been brought together a few days before and delivered a thoughtful, tense and emotional piece which was rapturously received by the audience in St Mary’s Minster.
As the hottest day of the year so far cooled into the evening, there could have been few better places to be than in the garden of the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) on Redlands Road waiting for HARTMANNMUELLER‘s performance of In Danger [German title: in noT] to begin. Gradually, conversations in the audience halted as we realised that it had already started – what had we missed?
By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.
The prodigiously talented Progress Theatre Company are staging Shakespeare’s King Lear in the atmospheric surrounds of Reading Abbey this month. This harrowing tale of human folly is directed with shimmering insight by Dan Clarke, assisted by Louisa Cowell and Matt Urwin and produced by the inspirational Carole Brown.
The fabulously creative Reading Guild of Artists (RGA), headed by the inspirational Carole Stephens, have collaborated with Reading University’s final year BA primary education with art specialism (QTS) students in an energised exhibition of extraordinary elan and artistic diversity.
Last Saturday, on a glorious summer’s evening, the fabulous Trinity Concert Band raised the roof of the Michael Malnick Centre at Leighton Park with an evening of dazzling musical entertainment. The concert, under the supremely skilled baton of Paul Speed, celebrated the best of British, honouring the Queen’s birthday, with memorable musical highlights from every decade of her reign.
This week, Reading Borough Council (RBC) will again review the premises licence for the After Dark night club on London Street. At the last review in April, there had been complaints by local residents of loud music beyond licensed hours, alleged breaches of noise abatement notices, and concern from Thames Valley Police (TVP) about drug use and violence on the premises.
The Reading University School of Art has opened its degree show to the public this week. The ‘Error 404’ show is an eclectic vision of the sparkling imaginations of the University’s young artists; this year’s show was more upbeat and personable than the introspective emotional torment that seemed de rigueur in previous years.
By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.
The Shinfield Players are staging the charming Harvey, written by Mary Coyle Chase and deftly directed by Maggie Smith. Members of the audience may remember the original version, a huge Broadway success, and the 1950 film version starring James Stewart as the amiable Elwood P Dowd.
By Jack Taylor.
In September 1981, thirty-six women chained themselves to the perimeter fence of Greenham Common, protesting against the placement of nuclear weapons at the Berkshire RAF base. The act precipitated the Women’s Peace Camps that surrounded the compound for nearly twenty years. This month, OpenHand OpenSpace Artists’ Studio (OHOS) on the Oxford Road hosts an exhibition inspired by the creativity and dynamism of these women-led protests, inviting artists to interrogate the relationship between artistic practices and protest movements.
By Sue Beckett and Adam Harrington.
All human life in Reading is observed in One Million Tiny Plays About Reading at the Progress Theatre this week, a series of vignettes that includes pet funerals on Caversham bridge, chuggers competing for custom on Broad Street, a boy regretting his choice of barber, an awkward marriage proposal on the Oracle ‘beach’ and a touchingly sad picnic at Reading old Cemetery.
By Cathy Doberska, head teacher at English Martyrs’ Catholic Primary School.
On Tuesday 19 March, pupils from 11 Reading schools took part in the annual Children Helping Children concert at the Hexagon theatre. This included students from south Reading schools including John Madejski Academy, Whitley Park Primary, Christ the King Catholic Primary, Ridgeway Primary and Geoffrey Field Junior.
By Gillian Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.
The Shinfield Players Theatre are presenting John Buchan’s and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller The 39 Steps this week in a highly comedic adaptation by Patrick Barlow (from an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon) involving four stellar actors playing over 130 roles in over 50 locations, phew!