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.
In the spotlight
It's time to think about booking your panto (oh
yes it is) - and it's a good season for Cinderellas.
And around Christmas, don't forget the Mummers in your local pub.
See What's on for a list of everything.
News and special events
The Search facility on this site (top right of the page) hasn't been working (for some time - oops!) because the search provider went out of business. I'm now using another search provider (FreeFind), which produces equally good results. The downside is that there's advertising on the search results page, but it's not too intrusive.
The Mummers are back! On 12th December, you can see the Cold Ash and Hermitage Mummers in Curridge and Hermitage, and on 19th December you can see them at Ashmore Green and Cold Ash. The Wantage Mummbers are out and about on 26th December.
The Tragedy on Enborne Road, written by Ros Clow and produced by the Resurrection Players, will be re-enacted at the Phoenix Centre, Newtown Road, Newbury RG14 7EB on Saturday 29th November. One May evening in 1892 a young couple went for a walk from Newbury along Enborne Road. Neither returned. This is the story of the inquest into the murder, held at the Blackboy Inn on Bartholomew Street. The verdict is challenged by the local Newbury Weekly News reporter. A modern perspective tries to analyse the cause of this tragedy. The play is based on historical documents and performed by members of the Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery, where the murderer is buried. There are two performances: 16:15 and 19:15. Tickets available from the Corn Exchange, Newbury.
Aldermaston's York Nativity Play takes place in St Mary's Church for the 58th year, on 4th and 5th December (20:00) and 6th and 7th December (19:00). It has been directed by Pat Eastop every year since its first performance at Aldermaston in 1957; this will be the first production since Pat's recent death. Tickets are free, but must be ordered in advance from R Fowler, 40a The Street, Aldermaston, RG7 4LW (please send an SAE). You can see reviews of previous years' productions here.
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
Congratulations to the Watermill's Hedda Beeby for getting the UK Theatre Awards' Theatre Employee/Manager of the year award.
Digital Theatre have now got downloads or online rentals of Globe Theatre productions of Henry VIII, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor for sale.
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 £3.
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.
|26 Nov||Review of Kennet Opera's Nabucco ("some of the finest moments in the production were the textured ensembles, the chorus singing with real commitment as the soloists' voices soared above and weaved between the layers of sound" - NWN).|
|26 Nov||Review of The Watermill Young Company's Twelfth Night ("gusto and professionalism in what is a highly-polished hilarious performance" - NWN).|
|25 Nov||Site search is now working again.|
|18 Nov||The Mummers are back! On 12th December, you can see the Cold Ash and Hermitage Mummers in Curridge and Hermitage, and on 19th December you can see them at Ashmore Green and Cold Ash. The Wantage Mummbers are out and about on 26th December.|
|12 Nov||Review of NMTS's Pirates of Penzance ("I am always pleased when a society chooses G&S and to see it performed with good young actor/singers obviously enjoying themselves is satisfying. Overall, however, NMTS can do better and I look forward to their next production" - NWN).|
|11 Nov||The Tragedy on Enborne Road, written by Ros Clow and produced by Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery, will be re-enacted at the Phoenix Centre, Newtown Road, Newbury RG14 7EB on Saturday 29th November.|
|7 Nov||LOTS of new listings for the new year, both amateur and professional.|
|6 Nov||Another review of the Watermill's But First This ("a cleverly-written play providing an uproarious evening's entertainment" - NWN).|
|5 Nov||Reviews of Mortimer Dramatic Society's Deathtrap ("needs a lot of hard work to emphasise all the twists and turns of the plot" - NWN) and Boundary Players' Copenhagen ("a real test for the actors" - NWN).|
|2 Nov||Compton Players present Scaramouche Jones, performed by professional actor Mike Long, on 6th December.|
|29 Oct||Another But First This review: ("it’s silly, it’s inward-looking and it’s often very funny... odd, imaginative and fun" - The Times (3 stars)).|
|28 Oct||Reviews of the Watermill's But First This ("a funny, frenetic production... an exciting, fast-paced romp" - Newbury Theatre; "Clugston’s strength is in big numbers, and some of them are lyrically brilliant... I was won right round" - TheatreCat; "glints of promise amid a sea of static... the quick-changing company can’t be faulted" - Telegraph).|
AmEgos' production from 26th to 28th November at Buscot Park Theatre, Faringdon, is Alan Ayckbourn's comedy Improbable Fiction. On a cold winter's night, Arnold Hassock and his disparate bunch of friends in the Pendon Writers' circle struggle with writer's block. As the evening rolls on and a storm begins the friends disperse and Arnold witnesses some very creative writing indeed!
The local theatre group are in production for a murder mystery written by a local author who keeps changing the plot and the script. The director can’t hold rehearsals together, lines have not been learnt, the set isn’t finished and people are missing pages of their scripts. Loddon Players' production of Play On! is from 27th to 29th November.
On 29th November at Phoenix Centre Newbury, the Resurrection Players present The Tragedy on Enborne Road, the reconstruction of an event that occurred in Newbury in 1892. One May evening a young couple went for a walk along Enborne Road. Neither returned. This is the story of the inquest into the murder, and a modern analysis of the cause of this tragedy.
Aldermaston's York Nativity Play takes place in St Mary's Church for the 58th year, from 4th to 7th December.
T.A.D.S's next production is Panto Murder on 5th and 6th December in Tilehurst. The Frampton Leigh Operatic & Pantomime Society - “FLOPS” - are in the last stages of rehearsal for their Annual Pantomime when disaster strikes at their Dress Rehearsal. This is the fourth production from T.A.D.S - a new group that launched this year.
During the last hour of 1999, Scaramouche Jones, an aged circus clown prepares to meet his destiny, and recounts the story of his life. Having played the mime for fifty years, he chooses to break his silence and share his extraordinary story in a beguiling, beautiful, heartbreaking 90 minutes of storytelling. Compton Players present Scaramouche Jones on 6th December.
Sinodun Players' panto from 16th to 31st January is Beauty and the Beast, at the Corn Exchange, Wallingford. A brilliant adaptation of a story full of action, humour and magic. It's a truly traditional panto with a script by Alan Frayn that offers more comedy and originality than any other version of this famous folktale.
Stagelights' production from 29th to 31st January in Grove is Par for the Course by Peter Gordon. Although set in the Seven Lakes Golf Club on Captain's Day, this very funny play is really taking a gentle but perceptive look at people and their foibles. Love or loathe golf, it will never seem quite the same again!
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