The Progress Theatre launches two projects for aspiring playwrights

The Progress Theatre will be launching two projects for new writers this autumn. Reading Playwrights is a set of workshops for new playwrights and Scratch Reading is an opportunity for playwrights to see their work staged.

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A spellbinding ‘King Lear’ at Reading Abbey

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

King Lear at Reading Abbey (2019). Photo (c) Richard Brown.

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.

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‘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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‘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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‘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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‘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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