The Wokingham Paper

Pedal power for bringing live theatre back

LIVE THEATRE is returning to Reading this month, thanks to Reading Arts’ SITELINES strand.

Produced in conjunction with the Arts Council, the two shows attempt to address issues raised by the coronavirus pandemic.

One had been planned to be performed not in a theatre, but outdoors at Palmer Park Stadium and Velodrome in Reading, however it has been postponed for now.

On Track was to explore the effects of Covid-19 on mental health and shows how a simple bicycle can be a vehicle to freedom once again.

Reading Arts says it is really excited about how the show is developing and believe it is something very special. However, due to set-backs while rehearsing in these very challenging times, the creative process has taken longer than anticipated. The result is that the show is delayed.

The second play, Behind Closed Doors, is going ahead and focuses on what happens as people begin to emerge from a long period of enforced isolation, and will be performed at South Street Arts Centre.

From a hillwalking father to the plague village priest, the show leads audiences through an anthology of isolation tales, shedding light and empathy on personal and shared histories of being alone.

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading Council’s Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I am so excited by the much-anticipated return of live theatre to Reading.

“Reading is a buzzing centre for cutting edge culture and I’m not surprised we are one of the first to bring back live theatre – and what an offer.

“These shows explore topics so deeply relevant to our current circumstances as we all grapple with life during a pandemic – but are also timeless interrogations of the human condition – storytelling at its absolute best.”

Both shows will be limited to 20 people and use Covid-secure safety measures.

Some performances have already sold out, and the intention is to stream the shows online next month.

Behind Closed Doors is performed at South Street arts centre from Wednesday, October 28 to Friday, October 30, at 7pm, at 3pm and 7pm on Saturday, October 31, and at noon and 4pm on Sunday, November 1.

Tickets for the shows are £15, or £13 South Street members


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