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Culture, Theatre

Reading Rep Theatre Celebrate Success of 10th Anniversary Season

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The Reading Rep Theatre are celebrating the success of their 10th Anniversary Season by releasing key statistics from the past season and year’s work.

While companies and buildings continue to close around the country, and stories emerge from the sector about this being the hardest period in memory to keep theatres alive, Reading Rep Theatre (RRT) has been forced to reassess their ways of working to ensure a future not just for them but for the creative community of Reading.

In light of this, their 10th season championed a new frontier of creatives and reimagined RRT’s role within their community. By combining bold new work, reimagined classics, and family favourites, their audience grew by 62%, reaching 27,000 people including outreach and work experience participants, youth theatres, associate companies, and 13,000 audience members.

Highly competitive prices kept theatre accessible and sustainable for Readingites, including £5 tickets for under 30s, family discounts of up to 50% off, and 10% of tickets given for free to people who otherwise couldn’t attend.

The theatre has today released the below statistics from their past year:

  • The theatre has delivered over 4,000 hours of free workshops to 1,000 people around Reading who were among those least likely to engage with arts and culture.
  • The theatre has employed over 250 freelance staff including early-career creatives and artists, 120 volunteers, 10 full time staff, 10 part time and casual staff.
  • The theatre has delivered a year-round work-experience scheme with 60 Reading College students aged 16-19.
  • The theatre has ran ran 5 year-round workshop programmes for high-need participants, including offenders, adults with learning disabilities, and a year-round early years programme in partnership with Reading Libraries.
  • The theatre ran 4 year-round youth theatres including one for people with disabilities and 1 summer school, for people who find it hardest to access their work.
  • They supported three associate companies which specialise in making work with and by underrepresented and underserved communities in Reading. These communities include LGBTQIA+, South- East Asian and the neurodiverse community.
  • They have worked with 15 primary schools, 12 secondary schools, 3 colleges and 1 university, including schools within the Whitley Excellence Cluster, a partnership made up of schools from the Whitley area of Reading (one of the most deprived 5% of local authority areas in the UK).
  • This year the theatre recruited nine staff at a variety of levels across the organisation. Alongside this, they have rolled out an organisation-wide training programme to ensure they have the requisite skills within the organisation to maintain a happy and healthy workforce. This includes, amongst other things: introducing a second Level 3 Safeguarding Officer, 1 and 3 day First Aid training, Mental Health First Aid awareness and other more specialist training.
  • The theatre’s work achieved national recognition with the venue receiving a nomination for The Stage Awards’ Fringe Theatre of the Year Award and eight nominations for the BroadwayWorld UK/West End Awards, including a nomination from Reading Rep Theatre’s Founding Artistic Director Paul Stacey for his direction of Shakespeare’s R&J.
  • The theatre’s production of a new adaptation of Peter Pan featured a cast of 12 including the theatre’s first community chorus comprising of 6 young performers from the community, giving many their first professional credit, experience in a professional rehearsal room, and relationships with professional artists.
  • The theatre’s production of The Rumble Under The Rug, written and directed by Helen Eastman, brought theatre into 23 schools, libraries and community hubs in Reading, providing over 700 under 6s with their first taste of theatre.
  • With Hedda Gabler, Annie Kershaw - Artistic Director of Associate Company A Girl Called Stephen - made her full-length professional debut. Annie has been involved with RRT for many years, and her journey from volunteer to director exemplifies the theatre’s commitment to nurturing talent, particularly from underrepresented communities.

In 2024 the theatre will be remounting their world premiere production Jekyll and Hyde - written by Gary McNair and directed by Michael Fentiman – which will play at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh from 13-27 January, starring Forbes Masson, ahead of a tour.

The theatre’s in-person 2024 productions include a remounting of The Rumble Under The Rug in April and the world premiere of Henry Filloux-Bennett’s adaptation based on E.H. Gobrich’s international bestseller A Little History of the World in May.

Offstage, the theatre’s commitment to building the artistic community and workforce of Reading extended to successful youth theatre groups, a secondary schools’ tour co-produced with Guildford Shakespeare Company, and recently launching ENGAGE:10 - a celebration of 10 years of our award-winning outreach programme, through which the theatre is expecting to reach 30,000 people throughout 2023/24.

Reading Rep Founding Artistic Director Paul Stacey said of the the theatre’s recent nomination for Fringe Theatre of the Year, “We are really thrilled to be short-listed for The Stage Awards for the second time in three years. Being recognised on a national level really puts Reading on the cultural map, and we hope the whole town can be proud of what we've achieved. This is all made possible by our wonderful and dedicated staff team, all the cast and creative teams, incredible workshop facilitators and freelancers and of course... our audience and participants.

www.readingrep.com

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