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
Open air theatre 2016
As usual, there's lots of open air theatre this year and, as usual, most of it is Shakespeare. There's Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost (2 productions), Much Ado (2 productions), Midsummer Night's Dream (4 productions), Hamlet, Tempest, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen and Macbeth. The others are Canterbury Tales (2 productions), Furious Folly, Wind in the Willows, Pride and Prejudice and Danny the Champion of the World. All the details are here.
See What's on for a list of everything.
News and special events
Newbury Theatre is off for a short holiday - no updates for a few days, but I'll deal with any emails on my return.
Drama Festival time again. The ODN Drama Festival in Abingdon is from 5th to 10th June (adjudicator Ben Humphrey) and the Wallingford Drama Festival is from 13th to 17th June (adjudicator Colin Dolley).
Berzerk Productions have started drama classes at Compton Village Hall every Tuesday evening for young people between 6 and 18 years.
Proteus Theatre started their nationwide tour of Becoming Hattie
on 3rd March. Thoughtful, funny, warm and nostalgic, this is an affectionate
look at the life and career of a remarkable woman, Hattie Jacques, and a
witty, caustic look at modern life in show business and its cultural
attitudes toward larger women. They return to Proteus Creation Space,
Basingstoke from 27th to 28th June.
"a delightful, moving homage to the late Hattie Jacques... a funny, witty and poignant production" - NWN.
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 £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.
|20 May||T.A.D.S' next production in Tilehurst from 1st to 2nd July is the comedy Tiger Tiger.|
|19 May||Review of Boundary Players' The Vicar of Dibley ("well staged and extremely well-acted" - NWN).|
|13 May||HADCAF and StockFest are coming up, and they've both got theatre productions.|
|13 May||Details of 19 open-air theatre productions between June and September.|
|12 May||Progress Theatre are holding open auditions on 22nd and 26th May for their September production of The Long and the Short and the Tall by Willis Hall.|
|11 May||Review of Box Theatre Company's The Sea ("an impressive performance, skilfully directed by Gavin Slaughter, with a splendid cast... with this excellent production they have certainly raised the bar" - NWN).|
|10 May||Reviews of the Watermill's Untold Stories ("a fascinating, gripping trawl through Bennett’s home life" - Newbury Theatre; "the evening casts a spell, its subject, wryly and tenderly treated, being that inaccessible country ‘yesterday’" - Telegraph (3 stars); "a well-calibrated ensemble piece" - The Stage (4 stars)).|
|9 May||New season at the Watermill, Oxford Playhouse, BT Studio, The Mill at Sonning and Pegasus Theatre.|
|5 May||Reviews of Compton Players' Blue Remembered Hills ("an evening of dark nostalgia of the highest possible standard" - NODA; "well cast and enjoyed by all" - ODN; "a whirlwind, yet haunting show" - NWN).|
|5 May||Review of Newbury Dramatic Society's The Interview ("the play was the real star, written and directed by Nick Card, a local playwright" - NWN).|
|25 Apr||Details of the Offbeat festival in Oxford at the Old Fire Station and BT Studio between 20th and 26th June.|
|25 Apr||Summer workshops for young people are booking now in Newbury and Oxford, with the Watermill, the Corn Exchange and Creation Theatre Company.|
|21 Apr||Review of the Watermill's One Million Tiny Plays About Britain ("don't miss the chance to see this extraordinarily perceptive look at the folk who inhabit Great Britain... unusual, compelling, alternately funny and moving, but always entertaining" - NWN).|
|21 Apr||Review of Watermill Senior Youth Theatre's The Railway Children ("an entirely enjoyable and memorable evening" - NWN).|
|21 Apr||Review of Newbury Musical Theatre's Wizard of Oz ("inspired... NMTS demonstrated the considerable talent within their ranks" - NWN).|
The ODN Drama Festival is on from 5th to 10th June at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon. There are ten one-act plays performed by local amateur groups between Sunday and Thursday, including plays by Jimmie Chinn, Noel Coward and Neil Simon, with a Gala Night on the Friday featuring three of the plays selected by the adjudicator Ben Humphrey.
New Era's next production is Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage between 8th and 18th June. What happens when two sets of parents meet up to deal with the unruly behaviour of their children? A calm and rational debate between grown-ups or a hysterical night of name-calling, tantrums and tears before bedtime? Boys will be boys, but the adults are usually worse – much worse.
T.A.D.S' next production in Tilehurst from 1st to 2nd July is the comedy Tiger Tiger. Sir Maynard Bullivant plans a quiet and peaceful weekend for himself and Mrs Dorothy Tranter at Beacon Tor Lodge. With the arrival of a Civil Service minder, an armed Protection Officer, an old flame, an ex-con, a reporter and an escaped tiger, it seems unlikely.
If you want your group's poster to be on the front page, then email it to the