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
Open air productions
We've got 15 open air productions so far listed for this year, including an early start with The Wizard of Oz at the Hawk Conservancy, Andover in May. They're all here.
See What's on for a list of everything.
News and special events
The organisers of Greenham: War and Peace are looking for a large cast of community performers to perform alongside a small professional cast. It's a large scale outdoor community event on the Common on 8th and 9th September. Details here.
This year's ODN Drama Festival at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon is from Monday 5th to Saturday 10th June. There are two one-act plays each evening Monday to Friday, with three plays called back for Saturday Gala night. The adjudicator for 2017 is Jennifer Scott-Reid, a GODA member. This is a friendly festival and the main aim is to bring people together, both in a celebration of theatre and as a learning experience. A rare feature of the ODN drama festival is that after each adjudication, the adjudicator runs a short workshop with the cast. At the end of the Friday night performances and workshops, the adjudicator will announce her choice of three plays to be repeated on the Saturday Gala night. Details here.
Tom Rooney is offering to any drama and/or musical
groups a FREE Comedy Stage Play to perform throughout 2017.
Tom says,"Whilst written as a Comedy Stage Play there are lots of opportunities for other types of creativity, music, song, choreography and even puppetry. In fact it is an ideal vehicle for any group to put their own stamp on the work. There are even songs available if groups wanted to write and produce their own music. As recently featured in both the AM DRAM Newsletter as well as the Portsmouth Amateur Diary, I am hoping to offer all sorts of communities and groups the opportunity to raise much needed funds for their own worthy causes throughout 2017. To this end I would like to offer my newest and original Comedy Stage Play - The House of Von Rimmer - free of royalties and performing rights, or any other monetary payment, and wondered if you, or any group you know, would consider it for production."
You can see all the details here.
Mikron Theatre Co are back again this summer with shows at The Rowbarge, Woolhampton; Forbury Gardens, Reading; and The Riverside Tea Garden at Sonning Lock. The shows are Best Foot Forward, a hike through the history of hostelling, and In at the Deep End, the history of the RNLI. Details here.
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.
|28 Apr||The organisers of Greenham: War and Peace are looking for a large cast of community performers to perform alongside a small professional cast. It's a large scale outdoor community event on the Common on 8th and 9th September.|
|26 Apr||Russell Players' next production is Trussed from 19th to 21st May in Swallowfield.|
|26 Apr||Review of Newbury Musical Theatre Society's My Fair Lady ("director Tony Randall and producer Justine Fry must be very proud of their team" - NWN).|
|21 Apr||TADS' next production from 23rd to 24th June in Tilehurst is This Business of Murder.|
|21 Apr||15 open air productions so far for 2017. See the details here.|
|21 Apr||New Era's summer open-air production is The Importance of Being Earnest at Shaw House, Newbury, from 6th to 8th July.|
|17 Apr||Boundary Players' next production is Murder on the Nile from 10th to 13th May in Tadley.|
|14 Apr||Reviews of the Watermill's Twelfth Night ("the music is exciting and well done, and there are some very funny scenes" - Newbury Theatre; "an absolute winner... tremendous fun... richly deserved the standing ovation on press night and it should not be missed" - British Theatre Guide; "the audience is begging the brass to 'play on' long after the last curtain call" - WhatsOnStage (4 stars); "a fun and energetic production" - The Reviews Hub (4 stars)).|
|7 Apr||Interakt's next production is Divided Kingdoms at Ace Space, Newbury on 3rd May.|
|7 Apr||Sinodun Players' final production before the Wallingford Corn Exchange closes until the autumn is Return to the Forbidden Planet from 17th to 20th May.|
|3 Apr||This year's ODN Drama Festival at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon is from Monday 5th to Saturday 10th June. There are two one-act plays each evening Monday to Friday, with three plays called back for Saturday Gala night.|
|30 Mar||Review of New Era's The Kitchen Sink ("very good comedy with serious undertones, very well acted... a very good production all round" - NWN).|
|30 Mar||Review of Newbury Nomads' Showtime Bohème ("so many young talented people... the audience's enjoyment was evident... lively, cohesive singing" - NWN).|
|30 Mar||Review of The Mill at Sonning's Improbable Fiction ("hilarious farce... vintage Ayckbourn... neatly-paced and choreographed... played to the hilt for laughs" - NWN).|
Peter Knight, a mystery writer, is grinding out a murder story in a Gothic mansion in Vermont when it is hit by lightning. His characters seem to come to life and create the perfect murder plot for him. Mayhem ensues as the stunned author struggles to regain control of his own creations. Loddon Players' Out of Sight... Out of Murder is from 27th to 29th April.
Boundary Players' next production is Murder on the Nile, a murder mystery play by crime writer Agatha Christie, based on her 1937 novel Death on the Nile. Fatal circumstances await a newlywed couple when the idyllic surroundings are shattered by a shocking and brutal murder as they embark on their honeymoon voyage down the Nile. It's on from 10th to 13th May in Tadley.
WSMC are touring their production of Magical Musicals between 12th and 20th May to Grove, East Hagbourne and Steventon, featuring hits from Grease, Chicago, The Sound of Music and Blood Brothers plus family favourites like The Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid and more modern shows including The Commitments, American Idiot and Rock of Ages.
Fasten your seat belts, Sinodun Players are about to blast off into the cosmos in possibly the greatest jukebox musical ever: Return to the Forbidden Planet, from 17th to 20th May in Wallingford. This powerful and thrilling spectacular is a heady mix of sci-fi and Shakespeare with a backbone of rock ‘n’ roll music plus a six-piece band of pro and non-pro musicians.
Russell Players' next production is Trussed from 19th to 21st May in Swallowfield. The victim of a burglary and “trussed up like a chicken”, Graham is astounded to find a general apathy to his pleas for help. The police are reluctant to investigate and his insurance company are reluctant to meet his claim. Is the answer to stage another burglary in an attempt to be taken seriously?
On Bank Holiday Monday, 29th May, there's a free outdoor event: Ring Out, in Newbury's Market Place. Mounted on large industrial towers, giant cone-shaped speakers will be activated by a group of bell ringers, gradually swinging higher and higher until each arm soars up over the heads of the audience. 13:00, 16:00, 18:00 and 21:30.
TADS' next production from 23rd to 24th June in Tilehurst is This Business of Murder, a Murder Mystery Supper Evening with Fish and Chip Supper plus sweet and coffee. Sir Alan Sweetener is not a very nice boss, so when he announces he is going to sell the family confectionary business to a company of asset-strippers, everyone has a motive for murder!
New Era Players are presenting The Importance of Being Earnest from 6th to 8th July on the Great Lawn at Shaw House. First produced in 1895, it is a comedy where serious things are treated with triviality and trivial things are taken seriously culminating in a hilarious series of mistaken identities, when everyone learns the vital importance of being earnest!
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