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The Reading Thames Festival | 26th – 29th September 2019‎

Mesmerizing show featuring aerial acrobatics, water dives and special effects

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From revolutionary independent female musicians brought together by In Place of War, to Cirque Bijou’s mesmerising outdoor performances, the return of Reading Between The Lines for the next installment of Reading’s medieval history, a conversational meal, a midnight run/walk, classical music from the renowned London Mozart Players, film, history walks, photography exhibitions, promenade theatre from SITELINES and much more.

The Reading Thames Festival takes its inspiration from Reading’s majestic waterways and sets out to create a vibrant, broad appeal arts and cultural festival programme set in venues and unusual outdoor spaces across Reading. Between 6-16 September, Festival-audiences can expect to encounter exhilarating performances and unexpected encounters.
The Reading Thames Festival is back for its second year, bringing together a rich tapestry of artists and performers, venues and unusual outdoor sites across Reading to create exhilarating audience experiences and unexpected encounters. The Festival aims to be a catalyst for collaboration and partnership across Reading’s creative and cultural sector.

The festival aims to be a catalyst for a new spirit of collaboration and partnership across Reading’s creative and cultural sector. The festival brings together the rich tapestry of venues and unusual outdoor sites across Reading to create exhilarating audience experiences and unexpected encounters, illuminating Reading as a place of parks and rivers, culture and diversity.

From revolutionary independent female musicians brought together by In Place of War, to Cirque Bijou’s mesmerising outdoor performances, the return of Reading Between The Lines for the next installment of Reading’s medieval history, a conversational meal, a midnight run/walk, classical music from the renowned London Mozart Players, film, history walks, photography exhibitions, promenade theatre from SITELINES and much more.

The programme includes nationally-renowned performers and the finest Reading-based arts groups working in collaboration to create a unique experience for audiences. Highlights include In Place of War’s GRRRL featuring Charlotte Adigéry – a live music concert with performances from revolutionary independent female artists from Brazil, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Venezuela, Bangladesh and the UK, fusing music from ghetto base to electronica; fresh from their involvement in Lumière London, Cirque Bijou** will be bringing A Circus Soiree, an immersive evening of the most contemporary of circus, to the banks of the Thames at Caversham Court Gardens; renowned philosopher Theodore Zeldin will be hosting a conversational meal, Theodore Zeldin’s Feast of Strangers, on the top floor of Thames Tower; there will be a night-time arts-filled walk through Reading, The Reading Midnight Run; high-quality classical music from the London Mozart Players in the High Sheriff of Berkshire’s Concert; a film trail; film showings and photography.

Reading Between The Lines will be returning for the next theatrical instalment of Reading’s medieval history (dates tbc); there will be heritage walks linked to VOTE 100 and Reading’s Abbey heritage; a new contribution from the SITELINES theatre programme from Laura Mugridge along the Thames and the Flamingods live in the Abbey Ruins, complete with light installation.

Reading Thames Festival is a Reading UK production with support from the Great Place scheme funded by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. The Festival has also received generous funding from Two Forbury Place, The Oracle shopping centre, Graham and Joanna Barker, Savills, PRS Foundation and support from Reading Buses, Landid, VOTE 100 and Reading Borough Council.

Anna Doyle, Festival Director, said: “The festival this year is welcoming new artists from across the UK to respond to Reading’s communities, its locale and is a celebration of the area’s home-grown, world-class local cultural talent. We are proud to connect to Vote 100 nationwide celebrations in which 2018 marks 100 years since Parliament passed a law which allowed the first women, and all men, to vote for the first time. The festival programme is conceived to be developed across the next years with the local community, and this year there are plenty of ways for people living and working in Reading to get involved with shaping the festival. To find out more please visit the website.”

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK said: “After the success of the first Festival last year, we are really excited by the programme for 2018 which mixes many of our finest cultural groups with performers of international repute. Over 10 days in September, the Reading Thames Festival will showcase Reading, its vibrant cultural community and its growing stature as a cultural destination.”

The Reading Thames Festival was conceived by Reading UK as a legacy event from Reading’s Year of Culture in 2016. It aims to be a catalyst for collaboration and partnership across Reading’s creative and cultural sector, illuminating Reading as a place of culture, diversity, rivers and parks.

Tickets will be on sale for each individual event. Many of the events are free and where ticket prices apply, they have been set to make the Festival as accessible as possible.

Future Vision The festival, as a part of Reading Place of Culture Great Place, has funding secured for the next three years. The vision for the festival across the forthcoming years is to go beyond the traditional festival model to demonstrate its commitment to supporting the cultural and local economy. Through working in partnership, the festival will not only act as an advocate but as an instigator for new talent and cultural development.

The Festival is organised by Reading UK, but we couldn’t do it without the support of a great many other organisations, particularly the Reading Great Place scheme, funded by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England.

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Events

Reading’s Twilight Trail: Let the magic begin

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In a year that has been quite out-of-the-ordinary, Reading is set to see something pretty extra-ordinary this Christmas season. For the first time ever, Reading will have its very own Twilight Trail, a magical festive trail full of sparkles and illuminations, leading you through Reading’s iconic Forbury Gardens and Abbey Ruins.

Wander through a magical backdrop of illuminated trees, create your own light shows with interactive displays and watch the Abbey Ruins come alive with sound and light. Discover dazzling light orbs, floating mirror balls and enchanting shows of kaleidoscope patterns and colours as you experience Reading’s first Twilight Trail this Christmas.

The brand-new light trail, brought to you by Reading UK, Reading BID and Reading Borough Council, will launch in Forbury Gardens on Monday 8th December and will run throughout the festive season.

To keep everyone as safe as possible and comply with current Government Coronavirus Guidelines around social distancing, there will be a limited number of tickets available for the Twilight Trail, with allocated timeslots every 20 minutes.


All tickets must be pre-booked in advance via Reading Arts.
Please be aware that we don’t authorise or have any control over the sale of tickets via third-party websites.

So, book your ticket now and let the magic begin.

8th December 2020 – 3th January 2021
4pm – 10pm, with bookable timeslots every 20mins from 4pm to 8.40pm
Forbury Gardens, via Abbey Gate entrance

Twilight Trail accessible evening: 21 December
On Monday 21 December, we will be dimming the lighting, reducing the sound and limiting tickets per session to make the Twilight Trail as sensory friendly as possible.

To support the neurodiverse audiences, they are working with their lighting installation partner Yes Events to make the Twilight Trail as accessible as possible on 21 December. This includes lowering the brightness of the lights throughout the Trail, reducing the volume of the sound installations and including hearing loops for any installations that are accompanied with voiceovers. They will also reduce the number of bookable tickets for each time slot, so that families are given more space to enjoy the lighting installations comfortably.

These sessions are marked as “Relaxed Performance” in the list of available dates.

We are also working to make sure all sessions throughout the run of the Twilight Trail (8 December – 3 January) are as accessible as possible, providing wheelchair-accessible alternative routes wherever needed and bowls of water and treats for assistance dogs.

For general queries or for more information about this event, please see the Twilight Trail FAQ page.

If you have any queries about your booking, contact the Box Office – forburytwilighttrail@gmail.com

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Events

West Reading Window Wanderland 2020 | 29 Feb – 1 Mar 2020

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This will be the second Window Wanderland accross the whole of West Reading.

The idea is to cheer up otherwise dark and cold evenings with fun and light, in the form of decorated windows, and an opportunity for the community to come together. People can walk with neighbours and friends to follow the window trail and explore their neighbourhod in a new light.

Last year, over 40 houses decorated their windows and hundreds of school children decorated their school windows at Wilson Primary, Battle School and Oxford Road Community School. Over one thousand people downloaded the map to follow the magical trail with friends and neighbours.

2020 will be even bigger and brighter. If you would like to find out more, or get involved by decorating your windows at home, at work, at school, at a nursery, at a business or organisation please sign up here and encourage your neighbours to get involved. This works so well if a lots of people take part on a street and then get together to see eachother’s windows. See how one street had fun doing this last year here.

The organisers will again be holding free workshops where they’ll provide materials, tools and people can swap ideas, tips and skills.

West Reading Window Wanderland 2020 | 29 Feb – 1 Mar 2020 from 6pm to 9pm. Please register or sign in to make a window.

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Christmas Lights Switch On in Reading | Broad Street – 16 November

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The lead up to Christmas officially begins in Reading this weekend as the lights are switched on around the town.

Starting from Santa arriving on a motorised bed to light up the town and Broad Street Mall with thousands of Christmas lights, three new trees sparkle at the station, in Broad Street and The Forbury

Music in Broad Street to accompany the Christmas lights switch on:-

Jive Aces 12.30 -2.30 (X Factor finalists)

RASPO (Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra) 3.00 – 5.00

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