Reading Rep Theatre today announces it will be launching a new cultural arts hub as its first permanent home in Reading, allowing the company to continue to expand as the town’s only year-round professional producing theatre. The new space will house the multi-award-winning Reading Rep Theatre, led by Artistic Director Paul Stacey, and provide the facilities for the company to continue producing critically acclaimed and increasingly ambitious work, as well as delivering outreach opportunities to those with least access to the arts.
The new Reading Rep Theatre arts hub will open in 2020, and will include a 158-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, and is designed by David Hughes, the architect of the award-winning Park Theatre.
Paul Stacey, Artistic Director of Reading Rep Theatre, today said “We are thrilled to finally be setting up a permanent home, and opening a new theatre, arts centre and cultural hub for Reading. Having grown up here I am so excited to continue creating the highest quality theatre for Reading and the South East, and I am extremely grateful for the continued support of our partners and audiences.”
Reading Rep Theatre was founded just over seven years ago by Artistic Director Paul Stacey and Chairman of the Board Alan Stacey, with a gift of £1000, and has grown into a multi-award-winning resident professional producing theatre. As Reading’s only year-round producing theatre, the company provides support to emerging artists, and opportunities for the community to engage and participate in high quality theatre. Over the last twelve months, Reading Rep’s productions have sold at an average of 100% capacity, and all its outreach programmes are oversubscribed.
Reading Rep has produced work by some of the UK’s most promising emerging writers and directors, including Barney Norris, Jemma Kennedy, and Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre, and has co-produced with leading theatres such as Nuffield Southampton Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, and Orange Tree Theatre. Work produced by the company has also toured nationally, playing at venues such as Sheffield Crucible and Birmingham Rep. In the last twelve months, Reading Rep’s work reached nearly 20,000 people.
Outreach work with young people and the local community is an integral part of Reading Rep Theatre, which has been recognised with a Reading Cultural Organisation Award. Approximately 15,000 young people were reached in the past twelve months through Reading Rep’s year-round youth theatre programme, comprehensive programme of school workshops, and year-round work experience scheme. The flagship outreach programme ENGAGE also seeks to strengthen cohesion in Reading’s most at risk communities, and Paul Stacey was the recipient of a Local Hero Award from Reading Place of Culture (supported by Reading Borough Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England) for the programme’s work.