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Reading Fringe Festival 2020 is open for applications from performers

The Fringe team for In Danger

The Fringe team with Simon HARTMANN and Daniel Ernesto MUELLER (third and fourth from left)

The Reading Fringe Festival 2020 is open for applications from performers. This year’s festival will take place from Friday 17 July to Sunday 27 July.

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Reading Fringe Festival events in and around Katesgrove

The Reading Fringe Festival programme 2019 is out and there are lots of events south of the IDR, including those at the new-to-the-fringe venue, the After Dark club on London Street. Other local venues are the Rising Sun Arts Centre, South Street Arts Centre, Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) and the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).

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‘And then the rabbit died’ at the Reading Fringe Festival

By Gillie T and Brenda Sandilands.

And then the rabbit died, co-written by Atramental Theatre’s Kate Sullivan and Rory Devlin, was first performed in November last year and is still highly topical. This raw and funny play takes us through the confusing maze that is Ireland’s family planning system (or lack of, in the words of the playwrights).

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Reading Fringe Festival 2018

The deadline for performers to apply to participate at this year’s Reading Fringe Festival is 28 February, only a few days away. This year’s festival will take place from 25 to 29 July 2018.

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Opening night at the Reading Fringe Festival


We attended a very special launch of the Reading Fringe Festival in the glamorous Dome at Station Hill on the night of Tuesday 18 July.

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A smörgåsbord of dramatic delights from Düsseldorf

Fiona Talkington, Fiona Leonard, Nyani Quarmyne, Andrew Taylor and Arturo Castro Nigueras

Reading Fringe 2018 L to R: Fiona Talkington, Fiona Leonard, Nyani Quarmyne, Andrew Taylor and Arturo Castro Nigueras

In the sad absence of live theatre in these troubled times, the Blue Goat Theatre, Düsseldorf, led by the enterprising Fiona Leonard, has served us up a smorgasbord of dramatic delight with 12 short pre-recorded plays; this is a collaboration between nine countries, reaching across time zones, involving some 36 stellar artists, complete strangers, who have met online to write, create and record a play with the theme, The Thread.

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Reading Cultural Awards 2020

Reading Cultural Awards 2020 are now open for nominations for activities and events that took place between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020. Anyone can nominate an event or an organisation for one of the 13 awards. There is a new category this year, school of the year, for a school that has shown outstanding dedication to the arts.

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Review of 2019 at the Whitley Pump

The MERL’s new yarn bomb

Thank you to all our readers and regular and occasional contributors for making it a wonderful year on Katesgrove Hill. We hope that you continue to enjoy reading or contributing to the Whitley Pump in 2020.

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A lifetime of music in Reading, with Fiona Talkington

Fiona Talkington on New Road, Redlands, in January 2019

The BBC Radio 3 broadcaster, writer, Norwegian arts enthusiast and Reading Fringe Festival curator Fiona Talkington still lives near Christchurch Green, Reading, in the home in which she grew up. Her house was, as it should be for a music presenter, almost knee-deep in CDs, although Fiona did confide that the CDs also met an insulating role where they lined inside external walls.

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Reading Cultural Awards 2019

Winners of the Reading Cultural Awards were announced at the ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Whitley on the evening of Monday 24 June. Some of the winners have south Reading connections or have exhibited locally and others were events or performances which had been attended or reviewed by the Whitley Pump. It was a busy year!

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After Dark night club licence reviewed in advance of the ‘Reading Riot!’ event on 22 June

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.

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Reading Fringe 2019 open for applications

Reading Fringe 2018 L to R: Sir John Madejski, Fiona Talkington, Zsuzsi Lindsay, Matthew Williams and John Luther

The Reading Fringe Festival 2019 will take place from 20 until 28 July and is now open for applications from acts who would like to take part. This year’s theme is into the woods – and beyond…

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Boobs and other scenes at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

‘Scenes cut from other plays.’ Photo courtesy of the Progress Theatre.

The Progress Theatre scintillated with their Scenes Cut from Other Plays (superbly scripted by Emily Goode and the Cast and mercurially directed by Rik Eke) depicting madcap tableaux and musical mayhem.

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Friday’s ‘Reading Fringe’ Binge – Review

Whitley Pump had three Reading Fringe events in our calendar on Friday 27 July: morning ‘One the Couch’, afternoon ‘Climate Symposium’ and evening ‘The Government Inspector’.

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Reading Fringe – On the Couch – Thursday edition

The White Building

The second in a series of four On the Couch events from the Reading Fringe Festival at the White Building on King’s Road today (Thursday 25 July) had an unexpected Inner Distribution Road (IDR) theme. Alongside BBC Radio 3 presenter and fringe guest curator Fiona Talkington, the guests were Julie Simmonds, Jenny Halstead, Zsuzsi Lindsay (replacing Suzanne Stallard of Jelly who was unavailable) and Bobby Lonergan.

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Reading Fringe – On the Couch – Wednesday edition

From L to R: Sir John Madejski, Fiona Talkington, Zsuzsi Lindsay, Matthew Williams and John Luther

Reading Fringe Festival presented the first of a series of four ‘On the Couch‘ events today (Wednesday 25 July). BBC Radio 3 presenter and Fringe guest curator, Fiona Talkington navigated the panel of four of Reading’s cultural celebrities: Sir John Madejski, John Luther, Matthew Williams and Zsuzsi Lindsay through a lively and entertaining programme.

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Reading Fringe on our doorstep

With a theme of ‘Connect-Collaborate-Create’, the Reading Fringe Festival kicks off with a launch party on Station Hill on 24 July at 7.30pm and ends on 29 July. Many events are free, but booking is usually required as tickets are limited.

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A right Reading re-opening!

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Reading Abbey’s much anticipated big day re-opening was well celebrated by visitors yesterday, 16 June. The formal cutting of the crimson and gold ribbons was undertaken by Reading Mayor, councillor Debs Edwards, and HM Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire James Puxley.

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Fringe festival comes to Reading in July

Bicycle Boy (photo courtesy of the Reading Fringe Festival).

This year’s Reading Fringe festival runs from 24 until 29 July at venues across Reading town.

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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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