An ARENA for arts and culture this summer

Reading Business Improvement District (BID) has announced a new programme of towncentre arts and cultural events for summer 2016.  ARENA will celebrate the best work of Reading’s cultural scene through a diverse programme of outdoor arts and cultural events, starting in May.

RASPO IMG 5302 web

ARENA is part of Reading 2016, Reading’s Year of Culture, and has been fundedby the BID to enable local arts groups to bring their talent and creativity to the town centre in a programme of free events which will complement many of the tow centre’s annual showpieces such as Waterfest and Eat Reading. 

The programme will include music, dance, theatre, heritage, green Reaing, film and art and feature a street carnival, a weekend of walking tours, a day of film making, three days of pop-up theatre, a Brazilian samba procession, poetry readings and much more.  

Bobby Lonergan, Reading BID Manager, said; “We are thrilled that so many of Reading’scultural groups will be bringing their talent to the town centre this summer to create a fabulous free programme of events.  We have set out to fund an arts programme that will celebrate Reading’s creativity and diversity and which will bring arts and culture right into the heart of the town centre every weekend over the summer.”

ARENA programme listingsReadingUKBID delivering web

21 May  - Reading Revealed On Foot

A day of town centre walking tours from Two Rivers Press authors exploring Reading’s rich history and heritage

28 May - A Landscape of Charms and Machines – Broad Street

Spectacular arts and music procession in celebration of Reading’s history as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Rising Sun Arts Centre

30/31 May, 1 June - Re-Play – Broad Street

A mobile interactive theatre performance from the Annual Day Dream Harvest exploring how the people of Reading live, work and play

3/4 June - Eat Reading – across the town centre     

Reading’s annual celebration of all that is great about food and dining in the town centre

11 June - Reading Green Fest – Town Hall Square

Family activities, workshops and talks to showcase the town’s environmental and sustainable initiatives as part of Waterfest.

 25 June - Battle of Hastings family day – Town Hall Square

Family activities celebrating the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, from University of Reading and Reading Museum

16 & 17 July - Reading Fringe Festival town takeover

A weekend of music, theatre, magic and dance as Reading Fringe Festival previews this year’s programme across the town centre

23 July - Samba Parade – Broad Street

Readipop and Beatroots are bringing a touch of the summer samba rhythms from Rio 2016 to Reading as part of Beatroots 20th birthday!  If you want to be part of the parade as a drummer or dancer, contact Readipop and join Beatroots on a Tuesday evening.

30 July - ReMade in Reading (tbc)

Turning Reading town centre into a film set, Real Time will be re-making classic movie scenes in the location they should have been made in the first place, Reading…. with Reading people in front and behind the camera! Join in!

5 August - Dance Transport project

A modern dance performance telling the story of transport in Reading, with a secret performance on a bus and a procession of dancers leading a merry dance to Station Hill. Brought to Reading by Reading Rep

20 August  Carnival of the World – Broad Street

A celebration of Reading’s diversity through music and dance, from bhangra and dhol to Reading’s very own Notting Hill carnival procession with RASPO steel band, presented by Culture Mix.

17 September - Reading Scottish Pipe Band – Broad Street

The band will march and play in three locations in Broad Street from Oxford Road to Minster Street with two 1 hour performances at 11:00 and 14:00m, ahead of a major concert on 22 October in Reading Town Hall

2 November - Emotional health poetry readings by children from years 7,8 and 9 - Broad Street Mall

A poetry competition with the Samaritans involving secondary schools, where they will be writing poems around the themes of staying strong, being a good friend and how to reach out for help.  Hear the winning poems performed live.

Other town centre events this summer

In addition to the BID funded ARENA programme, there will be a dynamic programme of other town centre events including:-

  • Meadow Madness in Forbury Gardens – 14 May
  • Waterfest – 11 June
  • Reading Chilli Festival – 18 June (Market Place)
  • Armed Forces Day – 25 June (Broad Street)
  • Open for Art – 1 – 3 July (across the town centre)
  • Reading Buses Open Day – 3 July
  • Bastille Day - 16/17 July (Forbury Gardens)
  • Reading Pride – 3 September (Parade through Broad Street)
  • Heritage Open Days - 10 September (across Reading)

All the ARENA programme of events are free with the majority taking place in public spaces in the town centre.