‘Wyrd Sisters’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo courtesy of (c) Aidan Moran
We are greeted at the Progress Theatre by a smiley and welcoming Chris Moran, director of this production, Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters. Chris is a Progress veteran. The director’s notes in the programme are in tune with how she is in person: full of enthusiasm and love for theatre and up for a challenge. As we are talking I realise that I recognise her voice and my other half kindly points out that she played Joyce in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls. Of course she did, and she was excellent in it.
‘The Children’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown
This week, the Progress Theatre are staging Lucy Kirkwood’s perturbing post-apocalyptic play The Children. Insightfully directed by Ali Carroll, it raises profound questions about the poisoned legacy of the present.
WriteFest 2019 at the Progress Theatre. Image (c) Richard Brown
The Progress Theatre are staging their fourteenth annual WriteFest this week, featuring seven scintillating new short plays of dramatically contrasting genres, written, directed and performed by its multi-talented members.
King Lear at Reading Abbey (2019). Photo (c) Richard Brown.
The prodigiously talented Progress Theatre Company are staging Shakespeare’s King Lear in the atmospheric surrounds of Reading Abbey this month. This harrowing tale of human folly is directed with shimmering insight by Dan Clarke, assisted by Louisa Cowell and Matt Urwin and produced by the inspirational Carole Brown.
‘Top Girls’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Aidan Moran
Progress Theatre are staging the exuberant Top Girls by acclaimed author Caryl Churchill this week. It is directed with passionate verve by Rebecca Moir and explores the timeless theme of female empowerment.
“Peter’s Wife” at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Aidan Moran
Reading’s Progress Theatre are staging two new plays as part of their Progress Premieres this month: Dan Clarke’s fascinatingly ambiguous Equivocators and the compelling Peter’s Wife, by Christine Moran.
One Million Tiny Plays About Reading. Photo (c) Aidan Moran.
All human life in Reading is observed in One Million Tiny Plays About Reading at the Progress Theatre this week, a series of vignettes that includes pet funerals on Caversham bridge, chuggers competing for custom on Broad Street, a boy regretting his choice of barber, an awkward marriage proposal on the Oracle ‘beach’ and a touchingly sad picnic at Reading old Cemetery.
Nora (Tara O’Connor) and Torvald Helmer (Chris Pett)
Progress Theatre are staging Ibsen’s timeless classic, ‘A Doll’s House’, in a lovingly crafted production by Adrian Tang. It is a play about domestic revolution and a woman’s place in society and these powerful themes resonate still today.
‘Jerusalem’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo courtesy of the Progress Theatre.
The inspired Progress Theatre Company are staging Jerusalem, the acclaimed and award-winning play by Jez Butterworth. Tautly directed by the insightful John Goodman, it is a savagely funny and anarchic masterpiece of life in our green and pleasant land whose themes of disaffection, poverty and homelessness resonate still now.
The accomplished Progress Youth Theatre are presenting their bold interpretation of the ancient Greek canon The Oresteia (ingeniously adapted and delicately directed by Rhys Lawton). Its themes of justice and gender equality still resonate today.
‘Birdsong’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown
We will remember them…
The Progress Theatre are performing Sebastian Faulks’ poignant Birdsong this week. Cleverly condensed for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff, this story of love and loss alternates between the war torn horror of 1916 and the tranquil peacetime of Amiens and is directed with great emotional insight by Steph Dewar.
Jesus Christ Superstar at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown.
The Progress Theatre dazzled on 12 September with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by the inspirational Andy Camichel with wonderful musical direction by Jane Southern and fabulous Band, and choral coaching by the versatile Stuart McCubbin.
‘Scenes cut from other plays.’ Photo courtesy of the Progress Theatre.
The Progress Theatre scintillated with their Scenes Cut from Other Plays (superbly scripted by Emily Goode and the Cast and mercurially directed by Rik Eke) depicting madcap tableaux and musical mayhem.
‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at Reading Abbey ruins. Photo courtesy of Richard Brown.
The Progress Theatre‘s delightful production of ‘Much Ado’ transports us to an English country house in May 1945, with most of the action taking place on the veranda and gardens. This clever choice allows the cast to make the most of the glorious outdoor setting – the magnificent Reading abbey ruins. It also means that a simple stage and few props are sufficient (a wireless and a patio table with chairs).