What's on

♫ Jazz and Film Night Tribute to Blue Note

7.30pm 22 November 2019

Blue Note logoJazz at Progress celebrates the 80th anniversary of the iconic Blue Note record label with live jazz from the Stuart Henderson Quintet and a film presentation of the acclaimed documentary Blue Note – A Story of Modern Jazz.

The Stuart Henderson Quintet – with the master himself on trumpet and flugelhorn, Ollie Weston tenor saxophone, Tom Berge piano, Raph Mizraki bass and Simon Price drums – will present a programme to die for, featuring numbers from the Golden Age of Blue Note like Moanin’, The Sidewinder, Del Sasser, Cape Verdean Blues and Stolen Moments.

Blue Note – A Story of Modern Jazz, written and directed by Julian Benedikt and presented by kind permission of EuroArts International Music GmbH, traces the story of Blue Note from its creation in 1939 by German emigres Alfred Lion and Frances Wolf, through interviews and rare archive footage of the galaxy of stars who recorded for the label – Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, J.J. Johnson, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Tommy Turrentine and Cassandra Wilson.

‘It must schwing!’ was the motto of Alfred Lion and Frances Wolf – Jazz in Reading’s Blue Note Tribute Evening will make sure that it does!

More details about Blue Note – A Story of Modern Jazz and other DVDs of wide musical interest are available on www.euroarts.com.

Jazz at Progress is presented in association with Jazz in Reading.

Scratch Reading

Scratch ReadingHosted by Progress Theatre, Scratch Reading is a fantastic new opportunity for aspiring writers of all levels, as well as a great evening out for those who love new writing and want to support local talent.


Several brand new scripts will be performed at each event; providing a great opportunity for playwrights to see their work onstage. There will be a discussion and Q&A session with the audience at the end to give the authors valuable feedback. Scripts will be rehearsed in the afternoon and performed in the evening (script in hand). 

Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet - poster

11-14 December 2018

Performances at 7.45pm

The young actors of Progress Youth Theatre bring their unique take on William Shakespeare's tragedy of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet

"Two households, both alike in dignity
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. 
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life 
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife."

The feud between the noble houses of Capulet and Montague is deep and bitter. So when the son of one house falls in love with the daughter of the other, what can come of it?




A Jazz Christmas Carol by Alan Barnes

Fri 20 December 2019


Alan BarnesJazz at Progress is delighted to bring you a very special Christmas performance of Alan Barnes’ A Jazz Christmas Carol, based on Charles Dickens classic novel. The band comprises the cream of British jazz musicians:

The Alan Barnes Octet – with Alan Barnes on saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet, Bruce Adams on trumpet and flugelhorn, Mark Nightingale on trombone, Robert Fowler on saxophones and clarinet, Karen Sharp on saxophones and clarinet, David Newton on piano, Simon Thorpe on bass, and Clark Tracey on drums.

Like the Dickens classic itself, Alan Barnes’ “Christmas Carol” has something for everyone. A hugely entertaining night out that is also a treat for the jazz connoisseur; it will delight anyone who loves music or literature – or just Christmas!

This suite of pieces takes the audience through the characters and scenes of ‘A Christmas Carol”. Brief readings from the original Dickens tell the story, and after each scene eight virtuoso musicians bring the characters and scenes to life, switching audiences from hilarity to pathos with a skill that would have done credit to Dickens himself!

A gruff baritone sax plays Scrooge, his lost love Belle is a lyrical alto, his clerk Bob Cratchit a cheery clarinet and Marley’s Ghost walks in the person of a swinging trombone. Just as Scrooge’s ghosts take him on a tour of his life, so the movements of this suite seemed each to have a benevolent presiding ghost, celebrating the spirit of jazz greats past and present.

The music and readings inspire the full range of Dickens’s imagination and emotion: from terror and remorse through to love and then irresistible joy: “God Bless Us Every One!”

Barnes is a true Dickensian. He is a serious reader of the novels. It is a clear blunder of providence that he was born too late to appear in their pages!” Hot News.

A taster of Ebenezer Scrooge’s “Bah Humbug!” piece in Alan Barnes’ Christmas Carol can be heard at the bottom of this web page: https://www.alanbarnesjazz.com/a-jazz-christmas-carol

Jazz at Progress is presented in association with Jazz in Reading.

Wyrd Sisters

by Terry Pratchett
adapted by Stephen Briggs

Three witches

16-25 January 2020

Performances at 7.45pm, doors open 7.15pm

Saturday matinées at 2.30pm, doors open 2pm

The ever-popular (Sir) Terry Pratchett OBE makes a welcome return to the stage at Progress Theatre, in another wonderful adaptation by Stephen Briggs. If you like your comic fantasy turned up to the maximum you will be delighted with this show. The many people who loved our production of Maskerade will be delighted to see the return of those memorable characters, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, in this tale of witches and royalty, loosely based on Macbeth. Very loosely. 

The ambitious wife of Duke Felmet persuades him to murder his cousin, King Verence I of Lancre. An escaping servant gives the King's crown and child to three witches. They hand the child to a troupe of travelling actors and hide the crown in the props-box. So destiny can take its course and the child can one take his rightful place as king, right? Well things are never simple with these witches.

People have travelled from far afield to see our previous productions of Pratchett's Discworld works, so book early to avoid disappointment.


Magrat Garlick - Yvonne Newton
Granny Weatherwax - Melanie Sherwood
Nanny Ogg - Liz Carroll
Soldier - Yann Guillet
Bentzen the Bowman - Iesa Khan
2nd Soldier - Guy Nicholls
Duke Felmet  - Jack Goodman
Lady Felmet - Ali Carroll
Chamberlain - Joe Morbey
Sergeant - Jordan Emmett
Actor - Yann Guillet
Olwyn Vitoller - Adam Lines
Mrs Vitoller - Lara Collins
Fool - Dean Stephenson
Jason Ogg - Adam Lines
Nev Ogg  - Jordan Emmett
Demon - George Prové
King Verence  - Trevor Dale
Peasants - Lara Collins, Yann Guillet, Flora Paulo, Rowena Sterry, Maddie Udale-Clarke
Guard 1 (Champett Poldy) - Iesa Khan
Guard 2 - Guy Nicholls
Guard 3 - Adam Lines
Guard 4 (Hron) - Jordan Emmett
Tomjon - George Prové
Hwel  - Joe Morbey
Robber 1 - Maddie Udale-Clarke
Robber 2 - Iesa Khan
Robber 3 - Flora Paulo
Players - Lara Collins, Jordan Emmett, Yann Guillet, Guy Nicholls, Flora Paulo, Rowena Sterry, Maddie Udale-Clarke
Actor (off) - Adam Lines
Witch 1 - Maddie Udale-Clarke
Witch 2 - Flora Paulo
Witch 3 - Rowena Sterry
Wimsloe - Jordan Emmett
Bedlin  - Guy Nicholls 
Gumridge  - Lara Collins
Guard - Maddie Udale-Clarke

Directed by Chris Moran

The Haunting of Hill House

by F Andrew Leslie,
from the novel by Shirley Jackson

Monday 24 – Saturday 29 February 2020

In this classic American gothic horror story, Dr. Montague hopes to find scientific evidence of the existence of the supernatural. He rents Hill House for a summer and invites people whom he has chosen because of their experiences with paranormal events. Of these, only Eleanor and Theodora accept. They will live in isolation with Montague and his assistant (and heir to Hill House) Luke. Meanwhile, a housekeeper tries to warn them of the horrors within, and Dr. Montague’s wife and her assistant turn up with their more traditional approach to spiritualism.

Brewster’s Millions 

by Winchell Smith and Byron Ongley

Thursday 26 March – Saturday 4 April 

Monty Brewster has a problem: she’s just inherited £700 million. There is, of course, a catch - she needs to spend all the £100 million she had already inherited before she can get the £700 million! And she only has a year to do it. Easy? Not for Monty. She can’t have a penny left at the end of the year and she can’t own a thing from it.

The challenge: Spend £100 million with nothing to show from it but the shirt on your back, and tell no one what you are doing. Oh, and you can’t just give it away!

This fast-paced, frantic comedy classic is brought into the 21st century, retaining all the charm of the original, as Monty tries to spend it all in secret, whilst her friends all try to save her from herself.

The Silence of the Sea

by Paul Vercors, adapted by Peter Cheeseman

Thursday 7 – Sunday 10 May
(inc Saturday matinee, matinee performance only on Sunday)

Occupied France in the Second World War. A German soldier is billetted with a French family, a middle-aged man and his young niece. The German soldier is a great lover of France and French culture and believes in the cause. The French family show their opposition to him by refusing to speak to him. They are the “silence” of the title. The soldier then goes to Paris, where he sees the reality of the Nazi occupation. He returns to them, disillusioned and distraught.

Open auditions for this production are on 10 and 11 November. See full details here.

Babe, the Sheep-Pig

by Dick King-Smith, adapted by David Wood

Saturday 23 – Monday 25 May
(matinees and evening performances on each day)

Joint Adult/Youth production. Dick King-Smith’s classic children’s tale, adapted for the stage. Babe arrives at Hoggett’s Farm and rapidly becomes a favourite and a pet, as he prevents sheep stealing on the farm. He then learns how to herd sheep and becomes famous for doing so.

Auditions for this production will take place between 18 and 27 November. Full details here.


by Tony Burgess

Monday 22 – Saturday 27 June 

Set in Ontario, Canada a local talk radio DJ reports on local disturbances, violence and spreading riots in the area. With most of his information coming only from listeners calling into the show he tries to piece together the events that are happening on the streets outside. It slowly becomes clear to him and his producer that the violence seems to be spreading like a contagious virus – a zombie outbreak. But rather than an infection of the blood, this virus seems to be transmitted by words and it might be that by encouraging his listeners to stay tuned to the radio he is, in fact, hastening the spread of the virus. And by taking calls from the outside, he may have already allowed the infection in.

Richard III

Tickets on sale from May 2020

by William Shakespeare

Open Air production at Reading Abbey

Wednesday 15 – Saturday 25 July

After a long civil war between the royal family of York and the royal family of Lancaster, England enjoys a period of peace under King Edward IV and the victorious Yorks. But Edward’s younger brother, Richard, resents Edward’s power and the happiness of those around him. Malicious, power- hungry, and bitter, Richard begins to aspire secretly to the throne—and decides to kill anyone he has to in order to become king.

Past events


Past shows at Progress Theatre - Past Seasons





  • Wolves - December
  • 11th Annual WriteFest - November
  • Dracula - October  
  • The Long and the  Short and the Tall - September
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - July - Caversham Court Gardens
  • Daisy Pulls it Off - July - Progress Youth Theatre
  • Humble Boy - June
  • Suddenly Last Summer - May
  • Stones In His Pockets -  April
  • Marat/Sade - March
  • Steel Magnolias - February
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - January


    • The Hidden Truth - December - Progress Youth Theatre
    • Brontë - November
    • The 10th Annual Writefest - October
    • Two-Way Mirror - September
    • The Merry Wives of Windsor - July - at Caversham Court Gardens 
    • Gormenghast - July - Progress Youth Theatre
    • The Weir - June
    • Talking Heads - April
    • Animal Farm - March
    • Gaslight - February
    • The Three Musketeers - January


    • Mojo - December - Progress Youth Theatre
    • Noises Off - November
    • The 9th Annual WriteFest - October
    • Darwin and Fitzroy - September
    • Love's Labour's Lost… And Won - July - at Caversham Court Gardens 
    • The Roses of Eyam - July - Progress Youth Theatre
    • God of Carnage - June
    • Not About Heroes - May
    • Lady Windermere's Fan - April
    • Trainspotting - March
    • Bold Girls - February
    • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - January


    Past Seasons...


    by Martin McDonagh


    8-16 November 2019

    Performances at 7.45pm, doors open at 7.15pm


    "I'm just as good as bloody Pierrepoint."

    In his small pub in Oldham, Harry Wade is something of a local celebrity. But what's the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they've abolished hanging? Amongst the cub reporters and sycophantic pub regulars, dying to hear Harry's reaction to the news, a peculiar stranger lurks, with a very different motive for his visit.

    A brilliant black comedy set in 60’s Lancashire – Hangmen is fast-paced, side- splittingly funny and with a gripping tension that is relentless until the end.

    2016 Olivier Award - Best New Play

    2015 Critics' Circle Award - Best New Play


    We were totally enthralled… The Whitley Pump

    With faultless direction and impressive performances all round, Hangmen makes for perfect viewing if you relish a bit of dark humour. The Henley Standard


    • Harry - Anthony Travis
    • Alice - Emma Sterry
    • Shirley - Sophie Maybury
    • Syd - Adam Wells
    • Mooney - Owen Goode
    • Hennessy/Clegg - Ruaridh Aldington
    • Bill - Peter Knightley
    • Charlie - John Goodman
    • Arthur - Chris Pett
    • Doctor/Pierrepoint - Mark Taylor
    • Governor/Inspector Fry - Peter Chamberlain

    Directed by Steph Dewar