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Reading Rep Theatre to Open Permanent Home in Spring 2021

Artist's impression of the developed Reading Rep Theatre, designed by David Hughes.
Artist’s impression of the developed Reading Rep Theatre, designed by David Hughes.

Due to their ongoing fundraising campaign, Reading Rep Theatre has now raised over £500,000 towards the company’s first permanent home in Reading, meaning the new cultural arts hub will open in Spring 2021. The new space will house the multi-award-winning Reading Rep Theatre, led by Founder and Artistic Director Paul Stacey and Executive Director Nick Thompson, and provide the facilities for the company to continue producing critically acclaimed and increasingly ambitious work as Reading’s only year-round professional producing theatre, as well as delivering outreach opportunities to those with least access to the arts.

Alongside generous support from trusts, foundations and the public, Reading Rep Theatre is being supported by Arts Council England.

Paul Stacey today said, “We can’t wait to open the doors of our new venue for the first time and give the communities we serve the opportunity to experience live theatre again. The Covid-19 pandemic has been monumentally challenging for the arts, but as we emerge from isolation, Reading Rep’s mission to contribute to and strengthen the local community will be more urgent than ever. Theatre brings people together in a shared space to tell a collective narrative: these stories will be essential as our community comes together again and I can’t wait to share them with our audiences.

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading Borough Council (Lead for Culture), added, “Reading Rep has clearly shown itself to be a top-quality leader in Reading’s theatrical landscape; and a group that is always ensuring theatre is accessible to all. Their rapid re-invention and creativity with on-line workshops and performance during the current Covid-19 crisis is typical of their “can do” attitude. Their quick rise in recent years to a major player in Reading’s ever-expanding theatrical scene is commendable and I urge others to continue to “watch this space!” for more from Reading Rep.

Hedley Swain, South East Area Director for Arts Council England, also commented, “This is an exciting time for culture in Reading and Arts Council England is really pleased to be able to support this initiative, which will provide a much-needed venue for some of the town’s excellent theatrical work”.

Moving from a basic 60 seat studio, the new Reading Rep Theatre arts hub will include a 168-seat theatre, a permanent education and learning centre, backstage areas, new front of house facilities, and a café/bar. The building is being converted from a 1927 Salvation Army building by Total Projects, and is designed by David Hughes, the architect of the award-winning Park Theatre.

About Reading Rep Theatre
Reading Rep Theatre was founded from scratch in 2012 by Paul Stacey, operating out of a sixty seat venue. It has since grown into Reading’s multi-award-winning resident professional producing theatre.

As Reading’s only year-round producing theatre, the company provides support to some of the UK’s leading emerging artists, ensuring that everyone in Reading, but especially those with least opportunity, can access high-quality theatre and culture.

In 2018 nearly 15,000 children and young people were reached through Reading Rep’s award-winning ENGAGE programme providing year-round youth theatres, school workshops, and a work experience scheme.

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