‘One Million Tiny Plays About Reading’ at the Progress Theatre

By Sue Beckett and Adam Harrington.

One Million Tiny Plays About Reading. Photo (c) Aidan Moran.

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.

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Children helping children at the Hexagon

By Cathy Doberska, head teacher at English Martyrs’ Catholic Primary School.

Children helping children concert 2019. Photo: James Denny

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.

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‘The 39 Steps’ with the Shinfield Players

By Gillian Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

Photo (c) Lizzy Lam

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!

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‘Jerusalem’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

‘Jerusalem’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo courtesy of the Progress Theatre.

The inspired Progress Theatre Company are staging Jerusalem, the acclaimed and award-winning play by Jez Butterworth. Tautly directed by the insightful John Goodman, it is a savagely funny and anarchic masterpiece of life in our green and pleasant land whose themes of disaffection, poverty and homelessness resonate still now.

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How Reading MPs Matt Rodda and Alok Sharma voted on the 29 January Brexit amendments

The House of Commons voted on seven amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Act yesterday evening. Reading MPs, Matt Rodda (Labour MP for Reading East) and Alok Sharma (Conservative MP for Reading West), voted opposite ways on six of the seven amendments.

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‘A Christmas Carol’ at the South Street Arts Centre

The ghost of Christmas present from RBL’s ‘A Christmas Carol’. Photo: VIVA photography.

The Reading Between the Lines theatre group is performing Anna Wheatley’s version of A Christmas Carol at Katesgrove’s South Street Arts Centre throughout December. Charles Dickens’ classic novel about a diligent entrepreneur driven to emotional collapse by the health problems of his employee’s children now includes some blindingly good puppetry, several terrific song-and-dance numbers, and a lot more comedy.

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Ventriloquising the silence in the Great Hall

Hampus Lindwall playing the organ in Reading University’s Great Hall. Photo: Sue Beckett

Every time I hear the excited phrase on BBC Radio 3 ”and now, the world premiere of…” I suspect there’s a good reason the piece had never been previously broadcast. So, I was a little nervous at spending 70 minutes at an experimental organ recital at Reading University’s Great Hall called Redundant as eyelids in absence of light on 15 November. But Sue Beckett and I rather enjoyed it, in a baffled, we’re-only-from-Reading-what-the-hell-is-going-on sort of way.

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‘Birdsong’ at the Progress Theatre

‘Birdsong’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown

We will remember them…

The Progress Theatre are performing Sebastian Faulks’ poignant Birdsong this week. Cleverly condensed for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff, this story of love and loss alternates between the war torn horror of 1916 and the tranquil peacetime of Amiens and is directed with great emotional insight by Steph Dewar.

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Henry II at St Mary’s Minster, with Reading Between the Lines

By Gillie Tunley and Adam Harrington.

Mark Middleton as Henry II. Photo: Pieter Lawman Photography.

The theatre company Reading Between the Lines (RBL) present the final instalment of their Conquerors trilogy, Henry II, in the thrillingly atmospheric St Mary’s Minster, Reading, until Saturday October 27. It is the story of love and power; love between a husband and wife, a King and his former drinking buddy, and a Welsh monk and a beaver.

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