What's on

Maskerade

By Terry Pratchett. Adapted by Stephen Briggs

Maskerade

18-27 January 2018, performances at 7.45pm
with matinées at 2.30pm on 20 and 27 January.
Doors open 30 minutes earlier.

All is not well in the Ankh-Morpork Opera House. A ghost stalks the dark corridors, leaving strange letters for the management and ... killing people. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, two Lancre witches, investigate, and are soon involved in all kinds of skulduggery, mayhem and ear-splittingly loud  singing. Quirky and original characters, a labyrinthine plot and numerous witty one-liners make this a treat for Discworld fans and Pratchett newbies alike.

Cast

  • Granny Weatherwax - Melanie Sherwood
  • Nanny Ogg - Liz Carroll
  • Agnes Nitt/Perdita - Lily Killaspy
  • Walter Plinge - Dean Stephenson
  • Mr Salzella - Trevor Dale
  • Christine - Rebecca Douglas
  • Seldom Bucket - Ben May
  • Dr Underschaft/Greebo/Thief - Dan Bignell
  • Senore Basilica/Mr Arno - Ali Carroll
  • Mrs Plinge - Linda Bostock
  • Mr Goatberger/Death of Rats/Woman with chocolates - Elizabeth Koenigshofer
  • Mr Pounder/Sgt Detritus/Bernard/Thief - Joe Morbey
  • Manager to Snr Basilica/Cpl Nobbs/Hron/Thief -Taylor Rupp
  • Andre/Thief/Man with deathwish - Matt Urwin
  • Colette/Thief - Alice Youngs
  • Solange/Thief - Maddie Udale-Clarke
  • Giselle - Flora Paulo
  • Kevin/Man with glasses - Simon White

Directed by Christine Moran

Maskerade script sample

Maskerade

 

This amateur production of “Maskerade” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.

♫ Leon Greening Quartet

Fri 2 February 2018 at 7.30pm

  • Leon Greening piano*
  • Christian Brewer sax
  • Adam King double bass 
  • Steve Brown drums

*Thanks to Hickies, the Music Shop, Leon will be playing a real piano, not a keyboard.

Leon Greening

Leon Greening studied piano at Leeds College of Music and the Guildhall. His extraordinary solos, inspired by the likes of Wynton Kelly and Bud Powell, keep the audience on the edge of their seats and mark him out as one of the finest pianists this country has ever produced. His hard swinging style has made him a favourite on the UK Jazz circuit for well over a decade, and his intense performances have not only encouraged a loyal following but high praise from critics:

“Leon Greening….epitomises the assured confidence of a new generation.’”  JazzJournal

“Listening to Leon Greening’s playing is like hearing a history of post-Bop piano…..authentic and yet personal echoes of (all the greats)…..all the more remarkable for coming from a musician of such youth.” Clark Tracey

Christian Brewer is a well known jazz alto saxophonist / composer and educator on the London jazz scene. He has been a leading voice on the alto saxophone for over 20 years, and has performed at many of the top clubs and festivals both at home and abroad.

“One of the most exciting alto players I’ve heard in a long time” Tony Hall

Bassist Adam King as a youngster started on the saxophone before moving to bass guitar and finally to the double bass on which he gained a 1st class honours degree in BA Jazz. Since then he has become one of the most in demand bassists playing with some of the most prolific musicians on the UK and international jazz scene and often playing at London’s top jazz establishments.

Steve Brown, always smiling, always swinging, and drummer with the Scott Hamilton quartet since 2000, studied in New York in the early 1990s. Subsequently working in the Far East and Europe where he was a finalist in the European Jazz Competition in Germany, he moved back to the UK in 1996 where he has become one of the most sought after drummers in the country.

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

A Clockwork Orange

by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange19-24 February 2018, performances at 7.45pm
with a matinée on 24 February at 2.30pm.
Doors open 30 minutes earlier.

Alex and his vicious teenage gang revel in horrific violence, mugging and gang rape. Alex also revels in the music of Beethoven. The Gang communicate in a slang language that is as twisted as their outlook on life. When a drug-fuelled night of fun ends in murder, Alex is finally busted and banged up. He is given a choice - be brainwashed into good citizenship and set free, or face a lifetime inside.

This is a stage version of the infamous cult novel by Anthony Burgess, adapted by the author himself.

Cast

  • Alex - Josh Boden
  • Minister of the Interior - Peter Cook
  • Georgie - Daniel Brown 
  • Dim - Megan Turnell
  • Pete - Faith Mansfield
  • Deltoid  - Katie Moreton
  • Chaplain - Debarshi Bandyopadhyay
  • Brodsky - Sadie Whitlow
  • Comedian - Jody Shortland
  • Alexander - Dylan Yates
  • Marty - Natasha Hall

Directed by Matt Tully

 

This amateur production of “A Clockwork Orange" is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.

 

♫ Orphy Robinson Quintet: Bobby Hutcherson Project

Fri 2 March 2018 at 7.30pm

  • Orphy Robinson vibes and marimba
  • Robert Mitchell keys
  • Tony Kofi sax
  • Dudley Phillips bass
  • Moses Boyd drums

Orphy Robinson

The renowned USA vibes player Bobby Hutcherson died aged 65 in August 2016 having had a glittering career from the late 1950s. He played with the Who’s Who of jazz icons, recording on Blue Note from 1963 to 1977. Bobby ran the gambit from bebop, via post bop to contemporary and free jazz.

In September 2016 Orphy Robinson assembled an octet to pay homage to Bobby Hutcherson, a performance voted by the public the “Live Experience Of The Year” at the April 2017 Jazz Fm Awards.

We are very pleased to provide this repeat opportunity for Bobby’s original compositions and work to be celebrated. We delight in having a quintet from the same gifted players who will play Bobby’s compositions, arranged by Orphy Robinson.

Orphy Robinson, a former Jazz Warriors member, signed by Blue Note and making five albums as leader on the iconic label in the 1990s, has continued to make waves and help turn the tide of jazz in the UK from continual reproduction of standards to contemporary compositions distinctly UK and World Music in nature. He has composed for film, TV, stage and the Proms. His work in music education is renowned. Somehow he finds time to perform and work with artists from a wide range of musical genres, from Robert Plant through to Nigel Kennedy, Andy Shephard and any and everyone on the UK jazz scene.

Tony Kofi, a contemporary of Orphy’s in the Jazz Warriors and last seen with the Monk Jump Band at Progress a few months ago, is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most popular players who spans the styles from bebop to free jazz. As a younger man he had a four years scholarship at Berklee, Boston USA, where he gained his diploma and also much experience from the USA scene. Tony plays with passion and sensitivity, never failing to create an emotive response from an audience.

Robert Mitchell also spent a number of years statesside in the Big Apple, earning his spurs after completing his BSc degree in London. Also serving time in the Warriors, Robert has a wide musical influence and having studied piano from the age of six, uses that depth of knowledge to produce music influenced by classical piano heritage, jazz, world music, soul, R&B and beyond.
Robert has made a number of albums as leader and also in a solo setting. It is a pleasure to be able to introduce him to our Progress audience.

Dudley Phillips is like so many bass players, an unsung hero. However, he co-created the Perfect Houseplants in 1992 with Mark Lockheart, Huw Warren and Martin France on drums who appears later for us with Chris Laurence. No doubt some in our audience will have at least one of the band’s albums from the 1990s.

Moses Boyd is going to be a newcomer for many of us, but look at this; “Moses Boyd graduated with a BMus (Hons) Jazz Drums in 2016. Throughout his time at Trinity Laban he worked in a professional capacity as one half of the duo Binker and Moses, with his ensemble The Exodus and on his own as Solo Exodus and released music under his own label Exodus Records. He has collaborated with Lonnie Liston Smith, Ed Motta, Little Simz, Four Tet, Floating Points, Zara McFarlane, Gilles Peterson, Soweto Kinch and many more. Awards he has received include The John Peel Play more Jazz Award from the 2016, Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards, Parliamentary Jazz award for Jazz Newcomer of the Year 2016, a MOBO award for best jazz act 2015, two Jazz FM awards and the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Young Jazz Musician award in 2014. Moses has released two albums with his band Moses Boyd Exodus and debut album ‘Dem Ones’ with Binker and Moses”. Obviously a young man from Catford who is going places – well, more places!

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

Mother Courage and Her Children

By Bertholt Brecht
Translated by Tony Kushner

Mother Courage19-24 March 2018, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open at 7.15pm.

Remaining a powerful indictment of war and social injustice, this is an epic drama set in the seventeenth century during the Thirty Years War. We follow the resilient Mother Courage who survives by running a commissary business that profits from all sides. As the war claims all of her children in turn, the play poignantly demonstrates that no one can profit from the war without being subject to its terrible cost.

Progress joins forces with our Youth Theatre to create a cast that spans the ages, to tell a story that spans the ages.

 

 

This amateur production of “Mother Courage and Her Children” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.

♫ Chris Laurence Quartet

Thursday 29 March 2018 at 7.30pm

  • Chris Laurence double bass
  • Frank Ricotti vibraphone
  • John Parricelli guitar
  • Martin France drums

Chris Laurence Quartet

Chris Laurence is that rare creature of British music; a musician whose work encompasses the whole range of musical genres: classical music as principal bassist with the Academy of St Martin’s in the Fields Orchestra; film credits with such Oscar nominated movies as The Constant Gardener, and studio recordings with Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Elton John and Gregory Porter amongst many others. His presence on any session is a hallmark of quality and creativity. Hence, his formidable jazz CV includes work with Mike Westbrook, John Surman, John Taylor and a long association with Kenny Wheeler.

Compositions by each of these great musicians, together with some standards and titles by Stan Sulzmann and Steve Swallow, form the quartet’s repertoire, described by one critic as ‘a cornucopia of melodic abstraction’.

Frank Ricotti was voted Melody Maker’s top vibraphone player back in his teens, and has since remained in constant demand as the first choice percussionist and composer for records, film scores, jingles and TV shows. He has worked with many of this country’s favourite jazz musicians having performed at many clubs and festivals including the Montreux Jazz Festival. Over the years he has played alongside Stan Tracey, John Taylor, Mike Gibbs, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Gordon Beck,  John Surman and Stan Sulzmann.

John Parricelli began his professional guitar playing career in 1982, and has since worked in various areas of music. He was one of the founder members of the innovative band Loose Tubes in the 1980s, with whom he toured and recorded three albums. Since then he has pursued a varied career, including work with Kenny Wheeler, Andy Sheppard, Iain Ballamy, Norma Winstone, Julian Arguelles, Tim Whitehead, Eddie Parker, Mark Lockheart, Martin Speake, Annie Whitehead, Gerard Presencer, Lee Konitz, Paul Motian, and the WDR Band with Peter Erskine and Vince Mendoza, amongst others.

Martin France has recorded with many of the world’s finest musicians on the acclaimed ECM label, and performed in concerts and tours in over 40 countries, spanning all five continents. He began his remarkable career aged 12, backing singers as part of an organ trio playing in Manchester Working Men’s Clubs. Like John Parricelli, he was a member of Loose Tubes where he began long standing partnerships with many of its members such as Django Bates and Iain Ballamy, and beyond, with Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland and Stan Sulzmann.

‘These four players, every one a star, are at their absolute peak … you could be listening to a beautifully recorded album … a perfect storm of melodic and almost free form swinging perfection.’ Brian Blain (London Jazz News)

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

Little Gem

By Elaine Murphy

16-21 April 2018, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open at 7.15pm.

Kay’s husband, Gem, has suffered a recent stroke and so is emotionally and physically distant from her, requiring homecare and is unable to feed or dress himself.  Lorraine has experienced something of an emotional break-down in work and has been encouraged by her employers to seek therapy, and Amber who abuses alcohol and cocaine, has recently started dating the wayward Paul. We follow the three through a series of emotional ups and downs, which ultimately bring them closer together.

Directed by Steph Dewar

 

Presented by arrangement with Nick Hern Books

Progress Premieres 2018

Buy tickets
Adult: £12, Concessions: £10
or call 0118 384 2169
Telephone sales will cost an additional £1.50

Progress Premieres 201816-19 May 2018, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open at 7.15pm.

Progress brings more new writing to the stage with two new one-act plays:

Sh!t by Liz Carroll

Edie is in a wheelchair unable to speak or move. She is helpless apart from her one weapon - sh!t which she uses against the abusive charge nurse.  Tom is a trainee therapist - eager to use his communication board.  He stirs memories - but what is real and what are Edie’s romantic fantasies?The woman in the box challenges Edie to remember.  The layers are peeled away and the sadness and horror of Edie’s real story emerges.

Director Aidan Moran

Recovery Position by Anthony Travis

A phone call brings the traumas of Francis’ past back to haunt him, and sets him on a voyage to confront them. But his journey home takes an unexpected turn, a turn that may lead to him away from healing and towards mental disintegration. But how much of what he tells us is real, and how much in his head? And will his ghosts finally be laid to rest?

Director Ali Carroll

Happy Jack

By John Godber

11-16 June 2018, performances at 7.45pm
Matinée at 2.30pm on 16 June
Doors open 30 minutes earlier

Happy Jack is a funny and touching play about Jack and Liz, a couple inspired by John Godber’s own grandparents. Weaving through 60 years of marriage, the pair introduce us to the characters they have known in their Yorkshire mining village and take us through love, sadness, anger, joy and conflict, from courtship to retirement and much in between. 

"Neat, touching and joyously celebratory" - Financial Times
"There’s a truthful timeless quality to this little piece of Yorkshire social history that isn’t showing its age at all" - British Theatre Guide

Directed by Helen Wernham

 

This amateur production of “Happy Jack” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.

 

Poetry of War

3-7 July 2018, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open 7.15pm

An evening of performance poetry to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Progress Youth Theatre, the creative talent that devised The Hidden Truth brings you a story of personal, political and social conflict through the medium of verse.

Published and devised poems are interwoven with a narrative following the lives of five generations of a family facing war through the ages since the outbreak of World War 1 – “The war to end all wars”.

 

Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

in the Open Air at Caversham Court Gardens

11-21 July 2018

Enjoy an open-air production.of this great Shakespearean comedy - although with a touch of darkness. Bring something to sit on and perhaps a picnic for a classic summer evening by the river at Caversham Court Gardens.

Leonato welcomes friends back from war. His daughter, Hero, is in love with Claudio. His niece, Beatrice, verbally spars with Benedict. Can their friends conspire to bring them together? Will Leonato’s brother, Don John, succeed in driving Claudio and Hero apart? Can the watchmen overcome their incompetence to bring out the truth?

Directed by Trevor Dale