What's on

♫ The Scott Willcox Ten-piece Band

Friday 20 September 2019
7:30pm - 10:00pm 
£17.00 (£15.00 concessions)

Scott Willcox

  • Scott Willcox leading
  • Gabriel Garrick, Andy Gibson trumpets
  • Martin Gladdish trombone
  • Chris Biscoe, Bob McKay, Julian Costello, Pete Hurt saxophones
  • Dave Frankel keyboard
  • Andy Cleyndert bass
  • Gary Willcox drums

Scott Willcox makes a welcome return to Jazz at Progress with his Ten-Piece Big Band comprising an all-star line-up of outstanding players, many of whom will be familiar to Progress audiences.

Scott, a classically trained composer and Fellow of Trinity College of Music, is a real power of musical and dramatic expression.  His writing is subtly arranged, rich in musical colour, full of vibrant, sometimes startling rhythms and changing time-signatures, and often deeply moving.

In his 3-star Jazz Journal review of the band’s recent album ‘All Change’, which features several tracks with star vocalist Georgia Mancio, John Adcock wrote, ‘The opener ‘Bouncing Back’ is in 5/4, but sounds nothing like ‘Take Five’, showing what an imaginative arranger can do with any material’.

Writing in Cross Rhythms Lins Honeyman commented, ‘Willcox and his band are at their best when pushing the experimental boat out and the likes of the driving ‘Can’t Complain’ – featuring an impressive recording debut from Gabriel Garrick on trombone – and the fascinatingly abstract ‘Mixed Feelings’ highlight the band’s sheer talent and willingness to take a chance musically … a captivating offering from Mr Willcox and his talented associates.’

Challenging, highly original, a sheer joy … a big band experience with a difference, Scott’s music has been likened to a meeting between Stravinsky and George Russell.

Andrew Cartmel, author of the hilarious and enthralling ‘Vinyl Detective’ series of novels described the band as being ‘reminiscent of a skilful Mingus traffic jam’. Enjoy!

The Children

by Lucy Kirkwood

The Children

7-12 October 2019

Performances at 7.45pm, doors open 7.15pm

Hazel and Robin, two retired nuclear scientists in their sixties, are living in their isolated cottage on the coast, in the wake of a disaster at the local power station where they used to work. Then an old friend, Rose, arrives with a frightening request.

A powerful play from the writer of Chimerica, exploring the responsibilities we have to future generations.

2018 Best Play, Writers' Guild Awards



Rose - Melanie Sherwood
Hazel - Liz Paulo
Robin - Peter O’Sullivan

Directed by Ali Carroll


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


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

Directed by Steph Dewar

Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet - painting by Ford Madox Brown

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?




Wyrd Sisters

by Terry Pratchett
adapted by Stephen Briggs

Three witches and a crown

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.

The Haunting of Hill House

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.

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.


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...