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Reading Cultural Awards 2017 Thursday 29 June 2017 The Olympia Ballroom, Reading

Arts and culture are at the heart of what makes Reading such a great place to live, work and do business

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Arts and culture are at the heart of what makes Reading such a great place to live, work and do business. The Reading Cultural Awards were conceived to build on last year’s Reading Year of Culture which gave Reading such a great platform to showcase the talent based here, brought increased confidence in its artistic credentials and provided momentum for the future. Our wonderful judges have selected 13 great winners that Reading can be proud of, but with over 350 nominations and 50 high-quality finalists in the awards’ very first year, it is the breadth and depth, as well as the quality of the arts and cultural sector in Reading, that stands out.

We would also like to thank our media partner, The Reading Chronicle, and all the businesses who have got involved with us in supporting the arts over the last 18 months. It is an investment in the future prosperity of Reading’s people and economy. Special thanks to Ady Williams of BBC Radio Berkshire for hosting the awards, Zsuzsi Lindsay for organising the awards evening, all our judges and presenters, and artists Annual Daydream Harvest, Bulmershe Ensemble and Alex Nemmy.

Nigel Horton-Baker Executive Director, Reading UK CIC

We would like to thank The Olympia Ballroom for their amazing support for the Reading Cultural Awards, without which the awards ceremony couldn’t have happened.

The Olympia Ballroom

The Reading Chronicle

Located in the heart of Reading town centre on London Street, The Olympia Ballroom is one of the largest indoor venue hire locations in Berkshire. The conveniently central location, exquisite architecture and interior lends itself to corporate and private venue hire events.

Reading’s only weekly newspaper providing all the latest news, sport, jobs and announcements about Reading in print every Thursday and online. The Chronicle also publishes a weekly free paper, The Reading Midweek, and the monthly glossy free lifestyle magazine #Reading.

The Made in Reading Award A ‘piece’ made by a Reading artist or artists. This could be a performance, visual arts piece or project created within Reading.

Henry I of England – Reading Between The Lines A great production by a local group, about a local theme in a truly local venue with the local historical thread running throughout the whole production. What other criteria would you need for nomination in this category? Amazing and powerful new play written about a famous Reading King and performed within metres of his buried body. It was great theatre – powerful emotive and informative. Not only was it home-grown theatre of the highest standard, moving and astonishingly evocative but it also represented the culmination of a longer process which engaged the people of Reading with both the evolution of the drama and the history of their town. I can still remember the power of the drama very vividly and I feel that this was heightened by the sense that this was a story that belonged so strongly to the place where I live. It was something exceptional that happened here.

Finalists Pictures at our Exhibition – Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra / Jelly / Creative People Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire Walking Words – Jelly Other nominations Ben Hur – Reading Rep Cathy Newell Price, Jeweller Feastival – Blue Collar Street Food Fractures Entwined – University of Reading Off the Block – Reading Between The Lines Oscar Wilde on Trial – Reading Between The Lines POD/Colony – Hogarth Productions SEN Dance Club The Engine Room Two Rivers Press

Reading Place of Culture Ambassador Award An artistic endeavour that has promoted Reading’s talent or Reading as a cultural destination to a wider audience.

Inside at Reading Prison – Artangel An outstanding exhibition of artists and writers of global significance creating works inspired by the theme Inside and responding to the space at Reading Gaol. Globally-respected artists reading such an emotional letter from Wilde in the prison chapel is a performance I will never forget, and I suspect that is the same for the artists too. Simple, yet effective, staging. The exhibition overall and the readings brought together performance, history, politics and humanity. To even have thought about doing it required inspired imagination. Artangel’s Inside opened Reading Prison for just over two months in late 2016. The exhibition attracted over 50,000 visitors, attracted artists of the calibre of AiWeiWei and Steve McQueen. The readings of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis brought renowned artists such as Patti Smith, Ralph Fiennes and Colm Toibin to Reading. Media coverage of the event went around the world.

Finalists Bulmershe Ensemble Henry I of England – Reading Between The Lines Other Nominees Beatroots – Readipop Jelly Junction Music Open for Art – Jelly Oscar Wilde on Trial – Reading Between The Lines Reading 2016 volunteers at Reading Station Reading Abbey Revealed – Reading Museum Suzanne Stallard

Young Talent – under 25 An artist or group of artists that are displaying real talent and potential at a relatively young age.

Photo: Bill Hiskett

Alice Knight – Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra Alice Knight’s musical contribution to the Reading arts scene through her hard work, creative brilliance and the impact of her music deserves recognition. Working with her (when she was aged 12) as a young composer on ’Pictures at Our Exhibition’ was a joy. The number of positive comments about her composition, along with the obvious enthusiasm of the players towards her work, indicates that perhaps it was the most successful of all the new compositions. Alice demonstrated her versatility playing her French Horn in the huge sound of Mahler’s Symphony No.2. There are not many 12 year olds who are mature enough to cope with the demands of these works. Alice is busy composing another piece for APO’s ‘Route to the River’ project. Undoubtedly, Alice’s future is incredibly bright. It’s not just that she’s ‘one to watch’; what she’s doing right now is exciting in itself!

Finalists Bulmershe Ensemble Georgia Knight – John Madejski Academy apprentice drama teacher Hospital Food – Berzerk Productions Queer Fish – Reading Rep Other Nominees Blue Collar Street Food Fractures Entwined – University of Reading (Romaisa Waheed Bahatti) Jak Ford Lane Off the Block – Reading Between The Lines Performed sound sculptures – University of Reading (Holly) Pet NI & pet NZ – desperate for humanness – University of Reading (Oleksandra Radchenko) Rock Academy Foundation Starmaker Theatre Company Taming of The Shrew – Reading Between The Lines The Wedding Singer – Berkshire Theatre Co

Celebrating Reading’s Heritage Award A project or organisation that has raised the profile of Reading’s heritage.

Hidden Abbey Project The purpose of the Hidden Abbey Project is to use ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to locate the boundaries and extent of Reading Abbey and to survey the site with a view to interpret better the Abbey Ruins and locate possible sites of archaeological interest for future investigation, with a particular interest in locating the burial site of Henry I and other burials. Reading Borough Council is coordinating the project, with the other landowners and partners. In 2016, the GPR archaeological survey created huge media interest in the Abbey and Henry I, with blanket broadsheet media, radio and TV coverage in the UK, as well as much interest in the international media, putting Reading on the map as a royal location and burial place of a lost King of England. It was also filmed for a future Channel 4 programme on the project.

Finalists Forward in Time – Real Time From Barbados to Reading – Barbados Association Reading Prison tours – National Trust Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire Other Nominees Henry I – BBC Radio Berkshire Henry I of England – Reading Between The Lines Inside – Artangel Kalakunj On Track – Reading Museum Oscar Wilde on Trial – Reading Between The Lines Reading Abbey Revealed project Waterfest Whitley Community Museum

Cultural Space of the Year Dedicated arts venues, unusual spaces used for art – this award recognises the diversity of great places to enjoy and perform art and cultural activities in Reading.

Photo: Ludo Des Cognets

SITELINES – Theatre in Unusual Spaces The whole SITELINES series is great. In particular, I want to call out Handle with Care in Lok ‘n’ Store which was great theatre. I loved the movement, the music and the moving story. My friend, who works with the elderly and unwell, was very upset by it - really impactful! My daughter found it so good she returned with a friend to see it again the next day. The use of the storage centre was inspired. The Final Whistle at the Madjeski Stadium was fast, energetic and funny. It is a privilege to be able to go into places that are usually closed off to us and to be involved in theatre so intimately. SITELINES - Theatre in Unusual Spaces, is a programme of off-site work curated by South Street Arts Centre, encompassing everything that doesn’t fit a traditional theatre space.

Finalists Caversham Court Gardens Open Hand Open Space Reading Prison Rising Sun Arts Centre Other Nominees Jelly Oakford Social Club Reading Film Theatre Reading Libraries South Street Arts Centre Station Hill St James Church

Visual Arts Event of the Year Fine art, film, etc – the event will have been well regarded in Reading when it took place here but does not necessarily need to have been conceived in Reading.

Inside at Reading Prison – Artangel An outstanding exhibition of artists and writers of global significance creating works inspired by the theme Inside and responding to the space at Reading Gaol. Significant number of international artists never seen before in Reading and to curate these works in an exhibition that had so much community engagement is important, some of these people may never have seen these artists before or go to national galleries to experience them. I particularly loved seeing the responses to Robert Gober and Felix Gonzalez-Torres and that so many people now ‘own’ a piece of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s work. Artangel’s Inside opened Reading Prison for just over two months in late 2016. The exhibition attracted over 50,000 visitors, attracted artists of the calibre of AiWeiWei and Steve McQueen. The readings of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis brought renowned artists such as Patti Smith, Ralph Fiennes and Colm Toibin to Reading. Media coverage of the event went around the world.

Finalists Open for Art – Jelly Ray Atkins – Reading Museum Unfinished Conversations – The Engine Room Whiteknights Studio Trail Other Nominees Fired Terracotta – Studio > I < Reading Bricks (part of Whiteknights Studio Trail) – James Birtwhistle Photography Reading Contemporary Art Fair Reading Foundation for Art Spore exhibition – Jelly Visit My Mosque – History Portal

Best Education Project A project that shows the power of art and culture to engage young people and create high-quality artistic outputs.

Infamous – Berzerk Productions I wanted to say how absolutely haunted we were by the whole Infamous experience. The acting was incredible and to be achieved in such a short period of time is staggering. Not only did the promenade theatre piece work phenomenally well, the whole production will stay with both the audience and actors for years to come. I’ve seen a fair few Berzerk performances now and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so many emotions in such a short space of time. The stories the actors were telling were sensitive and required a lot of maturity and the cast did themselves proud. Infamous was a project that was run as part of the Artangel project at Reading Prison. Four of Berzerk’s senior drama factory classes created work based on the notable infamous inmates at the prison, which were performed to the audience as they were taken around the cells.

Finalists Bulmershe Ensemble ROOM – Jelly University of Reading Art Lab Other Nominees Beautiful Creatures Diversity – Reading Fringe Festival Düsseldorf Link – John Madejski Academy Great Art Quest – Reading Museum Highdown School – Back to the 80s Jelly Progress Youth Theatre Reading Rep / Red Balloon Readipop Festival Arts Award Tales of the Deep – Becci Louise Taming of The Shrew – Reading Between The Lines The Wedding Singer – Berkshire Theatre Company University of Reading Universal Voices

Cultural Organisation of the Year This organisation will have demonstrated consistently high standards in terms of output and engagement.

Photos: Salvo Photo: Toscano Kit

Jelly What is Jelly? It’s an invitation to create and delight in art that is open to everyone. Jelly’s role in Reading seems to be to strive for excellence while enabling participation and creativity across the population. Suzanne Stallard brings together an outstanding sense of cultural organisation alongside her own, and her team’s inspiring creativity. In June 2017, Jelly were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for volunteer groups. Bridget Long, Jelly Chair of Trustees, said; ‘Jelly is made by volunteers, from day to day activities to special events and without this time and commitment there would be no Jelly. We are all extremely proud how a small idea has grown to become the organisation that Jelly is with the input of so many through activities, ideas and the generosity of others.’

Finalists Beautiful Creatures Reading Museum and Art Gallery Real Time Other Nominees Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra All Jazzed Up Bastille Day Culture Mix Arts Dolly and the Clothes Pegs John Madejski Academy Performing Arts Museum of English Rural Life Poets Café READ College Reading Bach Choir Reading Between The Lines Reading Fringe Festival Reading Rep Tamesis Chamber Choir Whiteknights Studio Trail

Performance of the Year Music, theatre, dance – this performance will have caused ripples in Reading and been widely acclaimed. The performance must have taken place in Reading but does not necessarily need to have been made in Reading.

Henry I of England – Reading Between The Lines The best theatre production to be shown in Reading for many a year and should go on to national acclaim. This was a play written in Reading, performed in Reading, and about a key event in Reading’s history. It was innovative, engaging, made use of a remarkable space and was quite frankly one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. Large-scale historical drama is hard to make personal and relevant and this production did it. To watch the performance which had London West End theatre production values but in the unique space of St James Church in Reading was a privilege for the town.

Finalists Patti Smith reading De Profundis – Inside at Reading Prison by Artangel Pictures at our Exhibition – Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra / Jelly / Creative People Sundara Karma – Reading University Students Union The Final Whistle at Madejski Stadium – SITELINES Other Nominees George The Poet Handle with Care – Dante or Die / SITELINES His Dark Materials – Progress Theatre Oscar Wilde on Trial – Reading Between The Lines Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire The Flint Giant – Rising Sun Arts Centre Time to Sing choir Walking Holding – SITELINES

Festival of the Year A festival that engaged a broad community and raised Reading’s profile with high-quality content and a great festival experience.

Photo: Kit

Reading Fringe Festival A dedicated and hard-working team of volunteers works through the year to bring some of the best theatre, music and performances to Reading each summer. They provide a range of acts to suit all tastes and ages. The increase in the number of acts applying and being showcased, the number of participating venues, local and regional sponsors and a high engagement from the Reading population is absolute testament to the success of this organisation. Every year gets better and better and the 2017 programme looks just phenomenal, and with the ties to the Düsseldorf fringe they really are building amazing connections and on the up and up.

Finalists Are You Listening? Oxjam Other Nominees An Audience With… (Reading 2016) Bastille Day 2016 Double Dot Bash East Reading Festival Open for Art Reading in Reading Reading Pride Waterfest

Business Innovation in the Arts

Reading Arts and Business in Partnership

A Reading arts or cultural project in which business has played a creative and innovative role.

Demonstrating excellence in partnership working between business and arts organisation(s).

Photos: Stewart Turkington


Light Up Reading The culmination of Reading 2016 saw many of Reading’s landmark buildings illuminated in a unique trail of light around the town, including the Thames Tower High Striker, illumination of the Abbey Ruins, the Oracle Beacon, Three Forbury Place and Reading Station. Light Up Reading was a collaborative project featuring local and national artists such as Stuart Melrose and Xavier Fulbright and Reading-based businesses and organisations, led by Peter Brett Associates with major support from The Oracle Shopping Centre, Landid, UTC Reading, Network Rail, M&G Forbury Place and many others. Finalists Great British Bump Off – Hexagon & South Street with Warings Bakery Interface – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Haslams has been an enthusiastic and consistent supporter of many local arts organisations for a number of years, including providing sponsorship, business mentoring and promotion. Highlights include hosting a Walking Words event, supporting The Reading Foundation for Art, which acquires works of art for the people of Reading, hosting a pop-up exhibition, raising funds for the creation of the Trooper Potts bronze sculpture and displaying works from the Art Scope Gallery at their offices. Finalists I Do – SITELINES / Dante or Die with Jacobs the Jewellers & Malmaison Hotel On Track – Reading Museum with Resourcing Solutions Other Nominees Coralie Bickford Smith – Waterstones Light Up Reading Reading Fringe Festival Reading Living Advent Calendar – Stanhope / Reading Rep Reading Year of Culture Revault – Annual Day Dream Harvest Walking Words – Jelly

Judges Award


This special award has been awarded by the judging panel to recognize an outstanding contribution to Reading’s cultural scene in 2016.

Bridgitte Tetteh – BBC Radio Berkshire (The Made in Reading Award) Paul Newman – Reading College Activate Learning (Best Education Project) Sam Butler – Fevered Sleep (Young Talent – under 25) Sir David Bell – University of Reading (Visual Arts Event of the Year) Andy Briggs – Oracle Shopping Centre / Hammerson (Reading Arts and Business in Partnership) Melvin Benn – Festival Republic (Festival of the Year) Sir John Madejski (Cultural Space of the Year) Prianka Dillon – The Olympia Ballroom (Celebrating Reading’s Heritage Award) Fiona Talkington – BBC Radio 3 (Business Innovation in the Arts) Hedley Swain – Arts Council England (Performance of the Year) Adam Jacobs – Reading UK CIC (Reading Place of Culture Ambassador Award) Samantha Harman – Reading Chronicle (Cultural Organisation of the Year) Cllr Sarah Hacker – Reading Borough Council (Judges Award)

Bulmershe Ensemble Finalists in the Reading Cultural Awards in three categories – Best Education Project, Cultural Ambassador and Young Talent, the Bulmershe Ensemble have had a remarkable last 12 months. Made up of 20 students from the Bulmershe School ranging in age between 14–18, the choir was set up in 2014 to motivate students to become involved in the Arts.


The choir has had a major social impact helping improve students self-confidence, attendance at school and well-being. It has also helped provide strong role models for younger children within the school and the local community.

Suzanne Stallard – Jelly Tim Harding – Haslams Zsuzsi Lindsay – Reading UK CIC Emma Wilson – The Olympia Ballroom Irene Cameron – Former Grants Officer Cheryl Dibden – Waterstones Cllr Sarah Hacker – Reading Borough Council Samantha Harman – Reading Chronicle Kirsti Wilson – Connect Reading Suzanne Clausen – University of Reading Shelley Taylor – Hammerson Kayleigh Hodges – Reading Borough Council Mary Genis – Culture Mix Arts Annette Howarth – RG Spaces

Since then, it has gone from strength to strength including beating thousands of choirs to win third place in Gareth Malone’s Best Choir in Britain TV programme, watched by seven million people, and winning the Youth Choir Award at the 2016 Hexagon Let’s Sing competition.

Impressive Corporate Event Space in Reading Located in the heart of Reading town centre, The Olympia Ballroom is one of the largest indoor venue hire location in the Berkshire, seating from 10 to 650 delegates, banquet style. Conveniently situated in a central location, close to extensive transport links reaching London Paddington in 25minutes and connections to M4, M3 & M40 Motorways. The Olympia Ballroom was built in the 1700s

and has a historic listed frontage. The Olympia Ballroom continues to attract the corporate market with the most impressive event hire space in Berkshire, available for Corporate Seminars & Conferencing, Award Ceremonies, Product Launches / Press Events, Private Parties & End of Year Celebrations Allow us to cater for your delegates with a choice of menus ranging from canapes & finger foods to buffet and sit down dinners.

T | 0118 957 6666 E |

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A new festival for Reading putting the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s waterways back at the heart of Reading with a programme of river-inspired arts and cultural events. Heritage | Theatre | Talks | Walks | Family activities River spectaculars | Music | Leisure | Art | LEGO

Reading Cultural Awards 2017 - winners special brochure  

Profile of all the winners of the Reading Cultural Awards 2017 as well as all the finalists and nominees.

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