Newbury theatre guide
Find out about theatre events coming up in and around Newbury and West Berkshire, reaching out to Oxford, Basingstoke and Reading. This site is updated very frequently - see What's new below. Posters of forthcoming productions are here.
In the spotlight
With mince pies and Christmas puds in the shops, it must be time to start thinking about Christmas shows and pantos:
See What's on for a list of everything.
News and special events
We usually associate Newbury's Ace Space with live music, but they do have theatre productions there from time to time. Their AGM is on Wednesday 16th November, 20:00 in the AS bar (side entrance).
This is the 60th consecutive year that the church and community of Aldermaston have put on a medieval Nativity Play in the beautiful and atmospheric church of St Mary’s, Aldermaston. The York Nativity Play is on 5th, 8th and 9th December at 20:00 and 10th to 11th December at 19:00. Tickets are free: email There are reviews of previous years' productions here.
KruTalent International, an Entertainment and Talent agency offering bespoke services to event organisers, festivals, venues and marketing agencies in the UK and Europe, are currently working on the ultimate Christmas experience in Ascot and are looking for male actors aged 40 to 70 years old. The aim of the event is to keep the belief of Father Christmas going for children during the run up to Christmas. The event runs from 18th November to 24th December and you would need to be 100% free on the 24th December as well as being free for a training day which would take place on either the 15th, 16th or 17th of November. The rates that you would be paid are all inclusive of travel, and for the whole running time of the event, you would be paid just over £3000 for a month and a half's worth of work depending on your availability for the event. As well as this, you would have full costume and make up done everyday for this role by professional makeup and costume artists. Interested? Contact Maddy .
The Watermill is extending its outreach for young people. It's extending its Associate Youth Theatre this September and will now deliver drama activities all year round to those wanting to join. Taught by theatre professionals, The Associate Youth Theatre will focus on developing skills and working towards presentations. It will meet at North Thatcham Children’s Centre, and will share work it has developed in The Watermill theatre gardens as well as other locations. The Watermill’s three Junior Associate Youth Theatre groups will meet on Saturday mornings and cater for ages from Reception to Year 2, Years 3 and 4, and Years 5 and 6. For other children who would like to become a part of The Watermill community there will be a new group called Prologue on Monday evenings.
RBL Theatre Company's production after that is Henry I of England by Beth Flintoff at St James' Catholic Church, Abbots Walk, Reading, RG1 3HW from 2nd to 19th November. RBL are honoured to be performing the incredible story of King Henry's life within touching distance of his final resting place, Reading Abbey, and inside the stunning St James' Church. A son of William the Conqueror, father to over twenty bastard children, founder of a nearby zoo, a murderer, a man who imprisoned his own brother for 26 years allowing him to die in gaol, buried in Reading abbey (which he founded) having been sewn inside a bulls carcass and shipped back from France, Henry had an extraordinary life, as brave as it was tyrannical.
Compton Players' production last November of Seal Cove, written and directed by Dave Hawkins, has been awarded the Maurice Spillett Trophy for Best New Show in the NODA South East Region 2016 awards. Chris Horton, of NODA, said: "the award takes into consideration all aspects of the show". Dave Hawkins said: "the fact that it's for the show rather than the play means that the part every single one of the cast and crew played in the production counted towards this unexpectedly gobsmacking award!"
Berzerk Productions have started drama classes at Compton Village Hall every Tuesday evening for young people between 6 and 18 years.
Is pretending to like Beckett an example of The Emperor's New Clothes? See why Daniel Finkelstein of The Times described Happy Days as an "incomprehensible load of old gibberish" here.
Feeling guilty because you don't like (or can't understand) Antigone or Medea? Don't be - read Catherine Nixey's article.
The Oxfordshire Drama Wardrobe has a stock of over 5,000 costume and prop items available for hire to drama groups, schools and colleges. They have costumes from almost every period, from Ancient Rome, through Elizabethan to Georgian. They also have a good range for the Victorian/Edwardian eras, and for the 1920s-1950s, with a large choice of WW2 allied uniforms. They're happy to discuss your needs with you and to see how they can help you to stage a visually striking play without having to break your budget. www.oxondramawardrobe.co.uk
There's an interesting article by the Watermill's Tei Williams about the process in staging a Watermill production, from choosing the play through to the opening night. It's here.
If you're under 25, you can get Watermill tickets for £10 from the box office. This is for performances from Monday to Thursday. You can also get Student Standby tickets on the day for £5.
You can get the latest updates via RSS or Twitter (@NewburyTheatre). If you don't know what RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is, this may not be for you (find out more here), but if you're using an RSS reader already, this is a good way to keep up to date with the changes to this site.
|24 Oct||Aldermaston's York Nativity Play is on for the 60th consecutive year from 5th to 11th December. Tickets are free.|
|19 Oct||Review of Community of Hungerford Theatre Company's Love Triangle 2 ("a thoroughly entertaining evening with a most impressive youth theatre production" - NWN).|
|19 Oct||Review of Nomads' Oklahoma! ("a humdinger of a show... director Jeanette Maskell and her team are to be congratulated" - NWN).|
|11 Oct||Faringdon Dramatic Society's production of Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders is from 10th to 12th November.|
|4 Oct||Hook Players' next production is Who's in Bed with the Butler from 24th to 26th November.|
|3 Oct||The Chiltern Players are presenting Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings from 10th to 12th November in Peppard.|
|3 Oct||Oxford Theatre Guild's production from 6th to 10th December is Arthur Miller's All My Sons.|
|28 Sep||Reviews of The Wipers Times at the Watermill ("a well-written, very funny and entertaining show" - Newbury Theatre; "the plot drags... missed opportunity" - The Times (2 stars); "the prolonged enthusiastic applause on press night was richly deserved" - British Theatre Guide; "elegantly structured, wonderfully theatrical and perfectly paced" - What's On Stage (5 stars); "entertaining tribute to the maverick team behind the First World War trench newspaper" - The Stage (3 stars); "a quite magnificent stage play... it is, in short, very very good" - TheatreCat).|
|25 Sep||Review of New Era's The Importance of Being Earnest ("a first-class production, extremely well acted and paced... a very professional approach by everybody" - NWN).|
Mortimer Dramatic Society's next production is The Small Hours by Francis Durbridge between 21st and 29th Ocotber. What do a koala, a devious chef and an emerald necklace have in common? A Sussex hotelier nearly loses his life finding out in this thriller of international intrigue which bears all the Durbridge hallmarks of suspense, mystery and murder. This tense, fast paced thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Boundary Players' next production from 26th to 29th October in Tadley is Two and Two Make Sex. George is getting into his fifties, his sexual virility nagging at him. He is having an affair with twenty year old Jane. His wife, Clare fixes up a way of dealing with the situation. Jane has a boy friend, Nick. The cross antics are seen separately and simultaneously.
Newbury Musical Theatre Society invite you to Return to the Forbidden Planet from 27th to 29th October at Trinity School. Blast off on a routine flight and crash into the planet D'Illyria, inhabited by a sinister scientist, Dr Prospero; his delightful daughter Miranda; Ariel, a faithful robot; and an uncontrollable monster, the product of Prospero's Id.
From 2nd to 5th November, AmEgos present Jim Cartwright's Two in Faringdon. Set over one eventful night in a pub in the North of England, Two is a play about people. People in their extraordinary, and ordinary, everyday lives, and the strength of the human spirit - stronger than anything on offer behind the bar.
After years apart, two families come together to rediscover their lost friendship. As they try to move forward they are plunged into a terrifying encounter with the past. Set against the economic crisis of the 1930s, it is a chilling tale of grief, denial and suspense. Compton Players' Bracken Moor is on from 9th to 12th November.
Kennet Opera's big production from 9th to 12th November at Arlington Arts is La Cenerentola, Rossini's comic take on the Cinderella story with exhilarating music from start to finish. Principal roles will be sung by three leading young professionals. Kennet Opera have never played La Cenerentola before, and they'll be singing it, as always, in English.
Agatha Crusty is a crime novelist. She's also pretty adept at solving crimes. And when her sister-in-law invites her to spend a few days with her, it's not long before she gets caught up in a series of murders. Faringdon Dramatic Society's production of Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders is from 10th to 12th November.
TADS' panto is The Doctor Saves Christmas in Tilehurst on 9th and 10th December. The Evil Destroyer, with the aid of his Dalek, tries to stop Father Christmas from leaving Planet Presents hoping the Doctor will come to the rescue so he can overthrow him and become Ruler of the World... hopefully Christmas will be saved.
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