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Murder, Margaret & Me

Buy tickets
Adults: £12, Concessions: £10
or call 0333 666 3366 Telephone sales will cost an additional £1.50

by Philip Meeks

TypewriterMonday 22 May – Saturday 27 May 2017, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open at 7.15pm.

The ‘funniest woman alive’, harbours a dark secret and ‘the Queen of Crime’ has the investigative instincts of her greatest creations.

Margaret Rutherford and Agatha Christie: two national treasures behind one of the British film industry’s greatest franchises. Rutherford is famed for bringing Christie’s beloved spinster, Miss Marple, to the screen. However, Agatha Christie did not approve of Rutherford as Marple, and Margaret Rutherford had no interest in being involved with anything so sordid as murder.

Nevertheless, with the help of the Spinster with a twinkle in her eye, Rutherford and Christie are brought together and an unlikely friendship emerges, through their shared experiences of life and loss, tragedy and tea, murder and Marple.


  Margaret Rutherford - Liz Carroll

  Agatha Christie - Paula Montie 

  The Spinster - Dorothy Gibert

Director - Kate Shaw

Kate tells us how she found the play.

Murder Margaret and Me


This amateur production of Murder, Margaret & Me is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd

Art Themen’s New Directions Quintet

Buy tickets
Adults: £18, Concessions: £16 *
Telephone sales cost an additional £1.50:call 0333 666 3366

Friday 2 June at 7.30pm

Art Themen’s New Directions Quintet photo by Bob Hewson
  • Art Themen soprano and tenor saxes
  • Steve Fishwick trumpet and flugelhorn
  • Gareth Williams keyboard
  • Arnie Somogyi bass
  • Winston Clifford drums

Art Themen, described by jazz writer Dave Gelly as, ‘One of the tiny handful of undeniably perfect jazz musicians’ , formed his New Directions Quintet to showcase some of the lesser known gems from the repertoire of such major jazz composers as Thelonious Monk.

Art was born in Manchester, where he was involved with the traditional jazz scene in the late 1950s as a self-taught musician. In 1958 he began his medical studies at Cambridge University, going on in 1961 to complete his studies in London, and qualifying in 1964. He specialised in orthopaedic medicine, eventually becoming a consultant.

Art started playing jazz with the Cambridge University Jazz Group – with bandmates Dick Heckstall-Smith and Dave Gelly – and then in London playing with blues musicians Jack Bruce and Alexis Korner. He went on to play with such English luminaries as Michael Garrick, Ian Carr and Graham Collier. He fronted the Stan Tracey quartet for 20 years from 1976.  Key influences are Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon.

He is a busy and sought after musician who nowadays is most often seen on stage with many of the best of Britain’s top jazz players such as Alan Barnes, John Donaldson, John Critchinson, Dave Newton, Georgie Fame, Don Weller, Mornington Lockett, among many others. Art is a player who is known for his originality and individual style. A consummate performer and one of the UK’s top jazz saxophonists, he plays in large and small venues throughout the UK and worldwide and is a regular feature on many top jazz festivals.

Art will be joined by four outstanding musicians. Steve Fishwick, who lists the great Kenny Dorham amongst his influences, is widely considered to be one of the best jazz trumpeters to come from the UK and is rapidly gaining a global reputation thanks to his flawless technique and his beautifully flowing, harmonically rich improvisations.

Gareth William’s virtuosic displays on piano, and multi-instrumental talents on guitar and vocals, have dazzled audiences and critics on both sides of the Atlantic. ‘A jewel of a player … spinning out luminous introductions and codas’ –Jazziz magazine (USA).

Bassist Arnie Somogyi has played on over 50 albums, including four as a leader, and has worked, recorded and performed with many of the world’s leading jazz musicians including James Moody, Bobby Hutcherson, Eddie Henderson, Scott Hamilton, Art Farmer, Herb Ellis and The Mingus Big Band. Leading the band Jump Monk is amongst his many current projects.

Winston Clifford, voted second in the 2016 British Jazz Awards, is one of the most in demand drummers on the UK jazz scene. His playing is free from the usual restraints of stylistic expectations and a true reflection of listening and responding ‘in the moment’

Photo by  Bob Hewson


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


Buy tickets
Adults: £12, Concessions: £10
or call 0333 666 3366 Telephone sales will cost an additional £1.50

by Harold Pinter

Betrayal bannerMonday 12 – Saturday 17 June 2017, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open at 7.15pm.

Shown in reverse chronological order, Betrayal explores and explodes the classic love triangle in Harold Pinter’s unconventional fashion, opening with the end of the seven-year-long affair between Emma and Jerry - lifelong friend of her husband Robert - and heading back to its roots. Inspired by Pinter’s real-life affair with Joan Bakewell, each character experiences their own version of betrayal.


  Jerry - Peter Cook

  Emma - Emma Sterry

  Robert - Paul Gallantry

  Waiter - Mathieu Menard

Director - Adrian Tang


This amateur production of Betrayal is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd

Claire Martin

Buy tickets
Adults: £20, Concessions: £18 *
Telephone sales cost an additional £1.50:call 0118 384 2169

Friday 23 June at 7.30pm

Claire Martin Dave Newton photo by Andrew Cleyndert
Claire Martin vocals Dave Newton piano

Join multi-award winning jazz vocalist and BBC Radio presenter, Claire Martin, OBE and acclaimed pianist Dave Newton, for a celebration of some of the greatest Jazz singers of the 20th Century, such as Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and, in the centenary of her birth, Ella Fitzgerald.

Enjoy the classic songs that made them stars, such as That Old Black Magic, Fever, Too Darn Hot and many more – all drawn from the timeless collection of music that is the Great American Songbook.

Don’t miss this evening of feel-good music inspired by the most glamorous women in Jazz!

Claire Martin
Claire has been a driving force in the UK jazz scene for the past 25 years and has won an array of accolades, including six British Jazz Awards. Her massive contribution to music was noted in 2011 when she was the proud recipient of an OBE. She has recorded fifteen albums, collaborating with musical luminaries including Stephane Grappelli and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, and – with Julian Joseph – presents the BBC Radio 3 programme ‘Jazz Line Up’  on top of her busy touring schedule.

She ranks amongst the four or five finest female jazz vocalists on the planet” – Jazz Times USA

A consummate jazz singer with old-school virtues … she wins plaudits everywhere she works” – The Guardian

Dave Newton
Dave is one of our nation’s treasured pianists. Scottish-born and educated at the Leeds College of Music, Newton’s recording career had begun in 1985 with Buddy De Franco and Martin Taylor and his first solo album was released in 1988.

He’s been the accompanist of choice for vocal royalty for many years, and it’s easy to hear why: Newton’s musical responsiveness is as impressive as his re-harmonization and arranging skills at the piano. Fittingly, Newton has been voted ‘Best Jazz Pianist’ in the British Jazz Awards for no less than thirteen times and has been made a Fellow of Leeds College of Music.

Photo of Dave Newton by Andrew Cleyndert

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

The Tempest

Buy tickets
All: £8
or call 0333 666 3366 Telephone sales will cost an additional £1.50

by William Shakespeare

The Tempest by WaterhouseTuesday 4 – Saturday 8 July 2017, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open at 7.15pm.

Summoning a storm, the magician Prospero - rightful Duke of Milan - shipwrecks his usurping brother Antonio and King Alonso of Naples on his island exile. Surrounded by his menagerie of spirits and monsters, the vengeful Prospero takes control, punishing his spiteful, scheming brother and matching lovers Miranda and Ferdinand.

Please note, this production has been brought forward one week from the originally published dates.

Presented by Progress Youth Theatre.

The Wind in the Willows

By Kenneth Grahame, adapted by Mike Kenny

Wind in the Willows12 - 22 July 2017 at Caversham Court Gardens

Join us as we tell the tale of The Wind in the Willows, from "Hang Spring Cleaning", to boats, gypsy caravans and - "poop poop....." - a few cars.

Set in the ruins of Toad Hall, we join Mole, Toad, Ratty and Badger as they bring to life the events at Toad Hall in this playful adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's classic children's book.

Perfectly suited to the beautiful and enchanting setting of Caversham Court Gardens, why not bring a picnic and some fizz to one of the area's favourite annual events, presented by Reading's longest-running open-air theatre? With a laidback atmosphere in one of the area's prettiest locations along Grahame's beloved River Thames, The Wind in the Willows will be enjoyed by the whole family.

Tickets will be on sale from May 2017 - they tend to sell quickly, so watch this space for news.

Please note, this production has been brought forward one week from the originally published dates.

This amateur production of The Wind in the Willows is presented by arrangement with Nick Hern Books Ltd