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The view from Katesgrove Hill

Author: Gillie Tunley (page 1 of 4)

Get up on stage!

Calling  all local artists who have entertained and sustained us with your thrilling theatrical productions, right here in Reading and beyond – we miss you, the world is a drab place without you… But the fabulous Rabble Theatre Company, led by the inspirational Dani and Toby Davies, have devised an ingenious way of keeping theatre alive, online – and you can join for a free trial!  

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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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‘Who goes Bare?’ with the Shinfield Players Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

'Who goes Bare?' at the Shinfield Players Theatre

‘Who goes Bare?’ at the Shinfield Players Theatre. Photo (c) Susie Williamson

Shinfield Players are staging Who Goes Bare this week, a fast and furious farce by Richard Harris and Leslie Darbon; it is directed with pace and panache by Philippe Duquenoy, assisted ably by Stage Manager Graham Vockins with ingenious set design by Tim Howling, involving numerous durable doors, which open and close with split second precision.

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‘The Haunting of Hill House’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

'The Haunting of Hill House' at the Progress Theatre

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo © Richard Brown.

Progress Theatre are staging the suspenseful The Haunting of Hill House by F. Andrew Leslie, adapted from the novel by Shirley Jackson. It is directed with chilling panache by Matt Tully and polished production by Tony Wernham.

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Readiophonics fourth Birthday Bash

Readiophonics

Readiophonics

On this special celebration of their fourth birthday at South Street Arts Centre, Readiophonics, resplendent in cobalt blue and led by the sassy Sarah Sharp, Musical Director, welcomed us with a warmly soulful beep bop medley, Tonight… is going to be a good, good night.

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A joyful ‘Hansel and Gretel’ with RBL at South Street this December

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

Hansel and Gretel with RBL at South Street

Hansel and Gretel with RBL at South Street. Photo courtesy of Pieter Lawman.

Reading Between the Lines (RBL) are staging Hansel and Gretel at South Street Arts Centre in a joyous adaptation by Anna Wheatley during December. This enchanting production is deftly directed by Hal Chambers and set to a sassy soundscape by Benjamin Hudson, with exuberant movement by Rebecca Randall.

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‘Hangmen’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley & Brenda Sandilands.

'Hangmen' at the Progress Theatre

‘Hangmen’ at the Progress Theatre. Image (c) Aidan Moran

It’s 1965 and it’s the end of hanging. Or is it? The Progress Theatre are staging Martin McDonagh’s edgy and darkly comedic Hangmen this week, directed with passion and purpose by Steph Dewar.

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‘Macbeth’ with the RBL theatre company at Reading Minster

The brilliant Reading Between the Lines (RBL) theatre group are staging Macbeth in the atmospheric Reading Minster. Hal Chamber’s powerful and provocative production challenges convention with a female Macbeth in a post modernist setting.

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‘The Addams Family’ with the Shinfield Players Theatre

'The Addams Family' at the Shinfield Players Theatre

‘The Addams Family’ at the Shinfield Players Theatre. Photo courtesy of SPT

The Shinfield Players are staging the magnificently macabre Addams Family this week, directed with suitable graveyard humour by Simon Kingsnorth.

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‘The Children’ at the Progress Theatre

'The Children' at the Progress Theatre

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

This week, the Progress Theatre are staging Lucy Kirkwood’s perturbing post-apocalyptic play The Children. Insightfully directed by Ali Carroll, it raises profound questions about the poisoned legacy of the present.

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Hug the Gaol on Sunday 13 October

Oscar Wilde gates on Chestnut Walk

The atmospheric art exhibition inspired by Oscar Wilde‘s haunting Ballad of Reading Gaol at the Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock recently provides a compelling cultural backdrop to the Hug The Gaol Event on Sunday 13 October at 2pm. The emotive images evoked by the ‘Pit of Shame’ lead us to a feeling of redemption as we surround Reading Gaol in a mass hug to demonstrate our desire to have Reading Gaol at the heart of the community.

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‘The Herd’ with the Woodley Players

‘The Herd’ at the Woodley Theatre. Photo courtesy of Aidan Moran

Last week, the Woodley Players staged Rory Kinnear’s The Herd, a funny and profoundly poignant play, dealing with domestic realism and fraught with family tensions. It was directed with pace and panache by Frank Kaye and Kathy Reid, with skilful multi-door staging by Stuart Gentle.

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‘Godspell’ with the Reading Operatic Society

Godspell, with the ROS at the Kenton Theatre, Henley

Godspell, with the ROS. Photo (c) Michael Gribble.

My musical alma mater, Reading Operatic Society (ROS), have been on an extraordinary theatrical voyage since they were first founded in 1950 by Mr Archibald Lusty. Back then and more recently, under the tender tutelage of John and Jill Lawes, they favoured rousing Gilbert & Sullivan and operetta style productions which I have had the pleasure of participating in, my first show being Salad Days at the same theatre back in 1974!

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A smorgasbord of theatrical gems at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

WriteFest 2019 at the Progress Theatre. Image (c) Richard Brown

The Progress Theatre are staging their fourteenth annual WriteFest this week, featuring seven scintillating new short plays of dramatically contrasting genres, written, directed and performed by its multi-talented members.

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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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First view of ‘The Last Abbot’ at Reading Abbey

‘The Last Abbot’ preview at the Reading Abbey, June 2019. Image (c) Reading between the Lines

The fabulous Reading Between the Lines (RBL) theatre company, led by Dani and Toby Davies, and fresh from their Cultural Award for Henry II, are embarking on another historical drama to further develop the cultural identity of Reading, in collaboration with second year history students. The Last Abbot, penned by prodigious playwright Beth Flintoff, examines the intriguing tale of Hugh Faringdon, the bloodily executed last abbot of our newly re-opened abbey… was he true or treacherous?

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The Reading Guild of Artists’ sumptuous summer show

‘After the Rain’ by Calina Lefter

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.

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Trinity Concert Band sizzling summer concert at Leighton Park

Trinity Concert Band. Image (c) TCB

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.

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‘Top Girls’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

‘Top Girls’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Aidan Moran

Progress Theatre are staging the exuberant Top Girls by acclaimed author Caryl Churchill this week. It is directed with passionate verve by Rebecca Moir and explores the timeless theme of female empowerment.

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Rumpo Kidz Curry Klub II. A tribute to Matthew Farrall

Ah, c’est Nigel des Livres, le poète.

A fabulously riotous evening was held at the the warmly welcoming Namaste Kitchen (formerly the Hook and Tackle pub) on Saturday 18 May to remember our much missed and totally brilliant friend and colleague, Matthew Farrall.

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