READING REP THEATRE SHORTLISTED FOR FRINGE THEATRE OF THE YEAR AT THE STAGE AWARDS 2024
Reading Rep has today been announced as shortlisted for the Fringe Theatre of the Year Award at The Stage Awards 2024.
Founding Artistic Director Paul Stacey said of today’s news, “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, participants, and valued supporters. I want to extend my congratulations to the two other nominees, The Orange Tree Theatre and The Little Angel Theatre.”
This year, like so many theatres around the country we have faced an existential threat due to rising costs and took decisive steps to safeguard our future and help sustain our creative community. Our 10th season combined bold new work, fresh takes on classics and family favourites.
We have grown our audience by 62%, attracting 13,000 people, with outreach and work-experience projects running alongside our work with youth theatres and associate companies. This was achieved with an offering of £5 tickets for under-30s, family discounts of up to 50% and ticket price reductions for theatregoers who would otherwise miss out – an example of a theatre genuinely walking the walk in making theatre accessible for people on lower incomes.
We champion new talent notably: Annie Kershaw, artistic director of our associate company A Girl Called Stephen, made her professional debut in Hedda Gabler and in our adaptation of Peter Pan, half the cast was made up of young performers from the community, many earning their first professional credit.
This Christmas we embarked on our repertory season, with It’s a Wonderful Life running alongside Potted Panto – a landmark in the theatre’s history. It also took work for children into 23 schools, libraries and community hubs in Reading. Other stand-out projects included a transfer and tour of Gary McNair’s adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde, directed by Michael Fentiman, and a revival of Shakespeare’s R&J, a queer retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Off stage, Reading Rep launched ENGAGE:10 – a celebration of 10 years of our flagship outreach programme ENGAGE, which is set to reach 30,000 people throughout 2023/24.
The theatre has cemented itself as a hub of Reading’s creative community, working in partnership with more than 50 other theatres, artists, educational providers and community services. These award-winning programmes are delivered in partnership with Reading Libraries, Reading Borough Council, Reading College, the University of Reading and the NHS.
The Stage Awards launched in 2010 by media publication The Stage to highlight the achievements of theatre companies and individuals across the UK and globally. Now entering its fourteenth year, The Stage has awarded over 100 winners with its prestigious accolades, from national theatres and large-scale organisations to small theatres above pubs and individual unsung heroes behind the scenes.
The winner of the category will be announced at the awards ceremony on Monday, January 29, 2024 at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London.