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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First night of Henry II at Reading Minster

The first night of Henry II, the pay what you want night, on 8 October was booked with much anticipation as soon as tickets came out in June. There are 17 more days and 24 more performances to come until Reading collapses exhausted with the last night of the last part of the Conquerors trilogy.

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‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at the Progress Theatre

Jesus Christ Superstar at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown.

The Progress Theatre dazzled on 12 September with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by the inspirational Andy Camichel with wonderful musical direction by Jane Southern and fabulous Band, and choral coaching by the versatile Stuart McCubbin.

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‘Much Ado About Nothing’ with the Progress Theatre at Reading abbey ruins

By Brenda Sandilands.

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at Reading Abbey ruins. Photo courtesy of Richard Brown.

The Progress Theatre‘s delightful production of ‘Much Ado’ transports us to an English country house in May 1945, with most of the action taking place on the veranda and gardens. This clever choice allows the cast to make the most of the glorious outdoor setting – the magnificent Reading abbey ruins. It also means that a simple stage and few props are sufficient (a wireless and a patio table with chairs).

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How Whitley Pump featured finalists did on the night at Reading Cultural Awards 2018

The big surprise on the night of 27 June was the special award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Arts’ which was won by the Rising Sun Arts Centre on Silver Street (pictured above). For the expected awards, the Whitley Pump had featured at least one of the finalists in each of the twelve categories of this year’s Reading Cultural Awards.

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Reading Cultural Awards 2018 finalists featured in the Whitley Pump

The Whitley Pump has featured at least one of the finalists in each of the twelve categories of this year’s Reading Cultural Awards, some on more than one occasion. This shows how much is going on in, or linked with, our little patch of Reading!

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Book Review: The Lime Tree by César Aria

Town Hall (Palacio Municipal)

‘The Lime Tree’ by César Aira is a recent arrival in the World Shop at the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) on London Street. The short novel is set in Coronel Pringles in Argentina, a real place named after a real person, Juan Pascual Pringles, a hero of the wars of independence against Spain in the early nineteenth century. It is also where author César Aira really grew up.

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Craft Theory at South Street

By Zoe Andrews.

Chaats Indian Street Food at the Craft Theory Festival, South Street

I missed out on the first Craft Theory festival at Katesgrove’s South Street Arts Centre last year, but I read the reviews with excitement and suffered a major case of FOMO [note 1]. I was in a unique position for the festival on 13 and 14 April this year; not only did I volunteer for Friday behind the jump [note 2], pouring drinks and loving it, but I also arrived bright-eyed on Saturday to spend the afternoon getting merry with my pals.

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‘Little Gem’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

Alison Hill as ‘Kay’ in ‘Little Gem’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown.

The Progress Theatre are performing Elaine Murphy’s tenderly crafted Little Gem next week. Steph Dewar’s warmly funny and moving production, intimately staged, employs seamlessly interwoven monologues that are delivered by three generations of working-class Irish women.

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Melodic anxiety and tuneful paranoia with Harroland

I caught up with “Reading’s best new band” Harroland at their third ever gig, at Readipop in Milford Road in March, and they kindly granted me a very public interview in the car park. It was a freezing cold night, but I was ably assisted with questions by Whitley and Katesgrove aristocracy, music gurus Trevor Absolom and Michael Wyatt, as well as a very pleasant passer-by. When they become big and global in the years to come, you can boast about seeing Harroland early on at Reading venues.

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The John Madejski Academy triumphs at the Let’s Sing choral festival

by Matthew Farrall and Stephanie Chard.

JMA performing arts teacher Tommy Robinson accepting a Lets Sing 2018 award from Mayor Rose Williams at the Hexagon, Reading. Photo courtesy of Reading Borough Council.

Crisply compèred by Breeze FM‘s Robert Kenny, the Let’s Sing 2018 charity choir concert on Monday 26 March was of such a high standard that the trio of independent judges had a very difficult task indeed. Every choir received rapturous applause on merit from a lively audience.

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