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Performance and Activity Timetable

We’re celebrating 29 wonderful Water Fest years with a programme full of fun, music, dance and activities.

Water Fest is Reading’s way of celebrating and showing off the Kennet Canal in all its glory, along with the gorgeous and historic spots on its towpath.

Forbury Gardens

Saturday 16 June 11am – 5pm Forbury Gardens, Abbey Ruins and along the Kennet, Reading Town Centre Enjoy live music and performances and admire the flotilla of boats, family activities, an avenue of stalls and refreshments

FREE!

Discover more at: reading.gov.uk/waterfest

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It’s family fun at Forbury Gardens with lots to do for children of all ages. There’s dance, food, entertainment and workshops along with performances from a host of groups who’ve proved such a hit with Water Fest fans over the years. Watch the Kennet Morris Men at 1pm and then the women’s Morris dance troupe the Shinfield Shambles at 1.15pm. At 1.30pm the Aldbrickham Clog Step and Dance Group take to the stage and they’re followed at 1.45pm by Reading Morreys. During the afternoon there will be a special masked parade winding its way through the gardens to the abbey. The young children taking part will be wearing animal masks they have made with the art team from Jelly or historical masks made on the day with Reading Museum.

On the Water 12noon 2pm 3pm 4pm

Abbey Ruins Visitors can take in the sights and sounds as they wander through Chestnut and Riverside Walk, Forbury Gardens, the newly restored Abbey Ruins, Blake’s Lock and the Riverside Museum.

Riverside Walk 12noon – 4pm

En route you’ll see some beautifully painted boats and meet some of the friendly boaters keen to chat about life on board.

Please see local press and event signage for further details regarding water activities on the day.

Youngsters still have time to make an animal mask and join the fun. Simply go to jelly.org.uk and check out the ‘how to’ guide. Jelly will also be holding a workshop from 11am to 2pm for youngsters keen to make a willow streamer and join the masked parade which will start assembling at 2.30pm for a 2.45pm start. You can register an interest on maskprocession.eventbrite.co.uk

Forbury Gardens 11am 12noon

Kennet Morris Men

1.15pm

Shinfield Shambles

FREE!

Discover more at: readingabbeyquarter.org.uk

Don’t miss the historic workshops in the Forbury Gardens where you can see demonstrations or even have a go yourself. The workshops include tile-making, a scriptorium, candle-making, grain-grinding and more!

1.30pm

Aldbrickham Clog and Step Dancers

1.45pm

Reading Morreys

2pm

Archery demonstration

2.30pm

Children’s medieval drill

2.45pm

Procession leaves the park

3.30pm

Civil War demonstration

4pm

Children’s Civil War pike drill

Abbey Ruins Main Stage Official re-opening of the Abbey Ruins

11.30am Kennet Morris Men: Celebrating their 61st year, the Morris Men perform dances in the distinctive style developed in Cotswold villages. They are a familiar sight at events across the region. kennetmorrismen.co.uk

Call of the Bells

Reading Fringe Festival presents the House of Sound in the Abbey Ruins. This multi-layered radiophonic composition conjures up sounds and conversations from four slices of time: animals living alongside people in the medieval era; the diverse sounds of bells and carts throughout Tudor England; through to the industrial revolution, the introduction of motorised traffic, and women’s role in the workplace during wartime.

Chestnut Walk

Here you’ll find the craft avenue featuring hand-made items like jewellery, artwork, jams and toys. And when you’ve finished browsing you could hop on the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust’s narrowboat for a water ride. These trips will run through the day at around 30 minute intervals.

The Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock

The Museum is based in two former industrial buildings and tells the story of Reading’s two rivers, the Kennet and the Thames. During Water Fest a new photo exhibition ‘Hung, drawn and quartered’ will be officially unveiled in the Turbine House. It’s by Chris Forsey, official photographer for the Abbey Quarter Project, who’s recorded restoration work at the site from day one. His stunning images cover the years of painstaking work and include many previously unseen panoramic shots of the site. Why not take part in a very special game of ‘I Spy’ suitable for all the family?

There will also be free face-painting and balloon modelling taking place on the day.

11.55am Adlbrickham Clog Step and Dance Group: A welcome return to this Reading based troupe who perform dances from across the British Isles and also create their own routines based on archive descriptions and traditional steps. aldbrickhamclog.org 12.15pm Shinfield Shambles: A very popular Ladies Morris Dance group performing Welsh Border style dancing with musical accompaniment. Welcome regulars to Water Fest. 12.35pm Reading Morreys: Set up in 2013 to mark the 500th anniversary of the oldest record of Morris dancing in Reading, the Morreys recreate the music, dances and instruments of the 1513s. 1pm

House of Sound

Celebrate the re-opening of Reading Abbey. Meet historic characters from Reading’s past and have a go at medieval crafts.

Civil War demonstration

1pm

Whilst taking in the newly opened Abbey Ruins enjoy a whole host of music, dance, drama and theatre on the main stage throughout the afternoon. There will be something for everyone. Highlights include performances from Dolly and the Clothes Pegs and Steph Willis.

Join Nature Nurture and the Canal & River Trust for nature-inspired workshops all about Reading’s wonderful waterways. Make a dazzling dragonfly, a fantastic fish or a hungry heron. Find out all about the amazing array of canals and rivers running in and around Reading.

12.30pm Children’s Civil War pike drill

11am

The Abbey Quarter will be transformed to bring its exciting 900 year history to life.

As you explore the newly conserved Abbey Ruins look out for more characters from the Quarter. Let them impress you as they share insights into their historic lives.

Bel & The Dragon Restaurant 12noon – 12.40pm Steph Willis 3pm – 3.40pm Steph Willis

11.30am Children’s medieval drill

With a whole host of street food options, beers, cocktails, pimms, prosecco and more, it promises to be the perfect place for lunch in the sun or why not stay late and enjoy an evening in the gardens.

Monks would ring bells for many varying occasions: to mark the break of dawn, a solemn feast or the arrival of an honoured guest. Beautiful Creatures Theatre has composed an evocative and ceremonial peal of bells to be performed on their freestanding giant chimes. The Call of the Bells will be performed in the Abbey Ruins every hour between 11am and 5pm.

Saturday 16 June 11am – 5pm Reading Abbey and Forbury Gardens

Big Al’s Jazzers

Archery demonstration

Feeling peckish? Join Blue Collar for their annual Feastival. Expect to see the very best street food traders alongside 2 bars, a brand new, two tiered scaffold seating infrastructure, fire pits, hay bale sofas and live music.

Reading Abbey Revealed Highlights

Visit the Civil War Camp or Medieval Village where you can experience the sounds and smells of the Quarter’s history. Speak to the re-enactors in full costume and find out what life was like. Make sure you look at the schedule for the day to find out about the military re-enactments and children’s activities.

Boat Parade Boat Parade Presentation of Best Dressed Boat and Best Dressed Boater Duck Race

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the event and be entertained by Steph Willis who will provide a wide range of music from her collection. The Bel & The Dragon will be serving a delicious lunch from 12noon – 2.30pm in the main restaurant and on the terrace. There will also be a selection of light refreshments available on the terrace where you can relax and listen to the music.

RASPO – Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra: RASPO Steel Orchestra is an award winning steel band providing entertainment for events, parties, carnivals and festivals at home and abroad. RASPO has performed at The Royal Albert Hall, WOMAD festival, Glastonbury, for the London 2012 Olympics, live on BBC and ITV, and annually at London’s Notting Hill Carnival.

Riverside Walk

Come and say hello to the volunteers from local charities and community groups who have set up stalls along the Walk to showcase the vital work they do. Whilst browsing the many stalls enjoy the summertime vibes that Big Al’s Jazzers will bring to Riverside Walk throughout the afternoon.

Reading Abbey Summer Programme

Friday 27 July Rhymetime in the Ruins

June

Saturday 28 July Reading’s History Comes to Life!

Wednesday 20 June – Saturday 23 June Cult Screens Outdoor Cinema Saturday 23 June & Sunday 24 June SITELINES Presents: In Ruins Saturday 30 June Reading’s History Comes to Life!

July

Sunday 1 July Mikron Theatre present Get Well Soon Wednesday 11 July – Saturday 21 July Progress Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing Saturday 14 July Poetry Workshop: Mining the Past Saturday 14 July Costumed Tours Wednesday 25 July Teddy Bears Picnic

Tuesday 31 July Out in the Abbey: Let’s Go Fly a Kite

August

Wednesday 8 August Reading Abbey Quarter Tour Wednesday 8 August Out in the Abbey: Bug Club Saturday 11 August Costumed Tours Tuesday 14 August Summer Stained Glass Lanterns Wednesday 15 August Reading Abbey Quarter Tour Wednesday 22 August Out in the Abbey: Crown Making Saturday 25 August Reading’s History Comes to Life!

1.40pm

Steph Willis: Join Steph for some high tempo familiar hits as she entertains us with a number of songs that will get you singing and dancing along with her.

Tuesday 28 August Out in the Abbey: Medieval Animal Trail

2.30pm

Bulmershe Ensemble: Enjoy some glorious singing from the group that reached the final three of Gareth Malone’s ‘The Choir’ competition and also picked up a special award at last year’s Cultural Awards in Reading.

September

3pm

Readiophonics: More music this time with an acappella choir who are renowned for their great sounding harmonies.

Saturday 8 September Night in the Ruins

3.30pm

Progress Theatre: Progress Theatre performing an extract from this year’s Open Air Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, which runs from 11–21 July 2018.

4pm

Dolly and the Clothes Pegs: A welcome return to this lively group who will be playing foot tapping Ragtag Country Skiffle.

Sunday 2 September Friends Summer Party

For more information and to book tickets please visit: readingabbeyquarter.org.uk/whats-on


Forbury Gardens

READING

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Chestnut Walk

1 Blue Collar Food Market – Feastival Join Blue Collar in the gardens for their annual Feastival event. There will be a whole host of delicious street food on offer, 2 bars and a new two tiered scaffold seating infrastructure where you’ll be able to sit back, relax and soak up the atmosphere.

2 Jelly Animal Mask Making Join Jelly where you can make a very special animal mask and then take part in the Water Fest animal masked procession (inspired by the Reading song ‘Sumer is Icumin in), winding it’s way through the gardens and Abbey Ruins at 2.45pm.

2 Reading Museum pop-up Take part in our children’s activity ‘Characters from the Quarter’. Take inspiration from key figures in the abbey’s history to make hats or headdresses! Why not make a crown fit for Empress Matilda? Or a top hat for Sir George Gilbert Scott? Don’t forget to show off your creation in our parade at 2.45pm.

2 Historical Workshops Have a go at historical crafts or watch expert demonstrators.

6 Demonstration Area Watch in awe as our re-enactors display medieval archery and civil-war military drills. Children can take part in mini military displays throughout the day.

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Archery demonstration

2.30pm

Children’s medieval drill

3.30pm

Civil War demonstration

4pm

Children’s Civil War pike drill

9 Duck Race Remember to return at 4pm for the annual Duck Race – a Water Fest tradition!

10 Visit the many charity and community stalls along Riverside Walk on the day whilst enjoying musical entertainment from Big Al’s Jazzers.

5 Civil War Camp The Abbey Quarter was a key part of Reading’s defences during the English Civil War. ‘Earl Rivers Regiment of Foote’ will be bringing the explosive seventeenth-century to life with costumes, tools and weapons.

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11 Boat Parades and Water Activities Watch the many boat parades and demonstrations taking place throughout the afternoon. At 2.30pm the Mayor of Reading and Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire will be judging the annual Best Dressed Boat and Best Dressed Boater Competition.

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ABBEY GATEWAY 14 Medieval-inspired crafts and pop-up

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Getting There

15 Characters from the Quarter As you explore the Abbey Ruins discover characters from the Abbey’s varied 900 year history. Perhaps you will get to meet Jane Austen? Or maybe King Henry I? Visit the newly-conserved ruins to find out!

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Official re-opening of the Abbey Ruins

11.30am Kennet Morris Men 11.55am Adlbrickham Clog Step and Dance Group

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12.15pm Shinfield Shambles 12.35pm Reading Morreys 1pm

RASPO

1.40pm

Steph Willis

2.30pm

Bulmershe Ensemble

3pm

Readiophonics

3.30pm

Progress Theatre

4pm

Dolly and the Clothes Pegs

It’s just a short walk from the town centre, railway station and main bus routes. Nearest car park is Queen’s Road. Just follow the pedestrian signs throughout the town centre.

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ALK Thanks to our supporters who make this event possible: Bel & the Dragon, Prudential, Haslams, L&Q Group, Abbey Gardens, CHOCOL Knight Frank, Heritage ATE ISLAND Lottery Fund and Reading Fringe Festival. Every effort has been made to ensure details were correct at the time of going to press. We cannot accept responsibility for any changes, amendments and cancellations of events or activities, or any inaccuracies printed in error. Adverse weather may mean some events have to be cancelled or rescheduled.

Designed by cream-design.co.uk

17 Call of the Bells by Beautiful Creatures A ceremonial peal of bells performed on a unique and beautiful set of freestanding giant chimes. A five-minute movement performed every hour between 11am and 6pm.

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16 House of Sound Reading Fringe Festival and composer Iain Chambers present House of Sounds which reconnects us with Reading’s history. Hourly performances in the Abbey Ruins reinstate the sounds the town has known and then lost.

15 Main Stage There will be a whole host of music, song, dance and theatre taking place throughout the afternoon.

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14 Story of Reading Gallery Explore the new Reading Abbey display at Reading Museum. Experience sounds, smells and priceless objects from the abbey. Children can try on our replica costumes or take part in our trail to discover the hidden monk bears around the museum.

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sale with Reading Guild of Artists Discover unique artworks or make your own in medieval-inspired family activities. Find diverse gifts for sale from small works to beautiful cards.

13 Turbine House Visit the Turbine House and enjoy a new photo exhibition ‘Hung, drawn and quartered’. The exhibition is by Chris Forsey, official photographer for the Abbey Quarter Project, who’s recorded restoration work at the site from day one. There will also be a special ‘I Spy’ game for children of all ages, so why not pay the exhibition a visit and have a go?

READING PRISON

ABBEY RUINS

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12 Bel & The Dragon The Bel & The Dragon will be serving a delicious lunch from 12noon – 2.30pm in the main restaurant and on the terrace. There will also be a selection of light refreshments available on the terrace where you can relax and listen to the music provided by Steph Willis throughout the afternoon.

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Blake’s Lock and Riverside Museum

Riverside Walk

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12.30pm Children’s Civil War pike drill

4 Medieval Village Step back in time to the twelfth-century and explore our range of medieval tents. Speak to our costumed re-enactors and experience what life was like when the abbey was still standing. There will be cooking demonstrations, sword-fighting and weapons on display.

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Civil War demonstration

12noon

Handle real objects from Reading Abbey and try our virtual-reality headsets!

FORBURY GARDENS

8 Boat Trips Why not take a boat ride on the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust trip boat Jubilee or take a stroll down our craft avenue on the day.

11.30am Children’s medieval drill

3 Traditional Dance by the Bandstand Watch the Kennet Morris Men at 1pm and then the women’s Morris dance troupe the Shinfield Shambles at 1.15pm. At 1.30pm the Aldbrickham Clog Step and Dance Group take to the stage and they’re followed at 1.45pm by Reading Morreys.

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Archery demonstration

11am

Don’t miss our pop-up shop with exclusive abbey products.

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7 Visit Chestnut Walk on the day and enjoy a hot drink and something tasty from the scout BBQ. There will also be free face painting and balloon modelling for the kids as well as a special water activity from Nature Nurture and the Canal and River Trust.

Reading Water Fest and Reading Abbey Revealed Map and Full Activity Programme  

Large scale version of the Reading Water Fest and Reading Abbey Revealed Map and Activity programme with highlights of the day including wha...

Reading Water Fest and Reading Abbey Revealed Map and Full Activity Programme  

Large scale version of the Reading Water Fest and Reading Abbey Revealed Map and Activity programme with highlights of the day including wha...

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