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by Steve Yockey

Wolves, by Steven Yockey

Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 December 2016, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open 7.15pm

Once upon a time, there was a nervous boy called Ben who lived in a cottage in the forest... except that the forest is actually a city and the cottage is the apartment he shares with Jack. This story may be inspired by Little Red Riding Hood but it is definitely not one for the kiddies - Grimm's Tales were never this grim. When Jack picks up someone he calls "Wolf" and brings him home for a one-night stand, Ben's jealousy and paranoia escalate before events bubble over into violence, changing their lives profoundly. 

If you have a taste for dark comedy, then Wolves won't disappoint you. Although there are plenty of comic moments, it is very dark indeed. As the Narrator says, "This isn't a pretty story".

"Steve Yockey fractures a familiar yarn – the Red Riding Hood story – into a prismatic and sometimes lacerating reflection of the monsters that lurk in the streets of the big city – and also within." --Los Angeles Times

This play is presented by Progress Youth Theatre, whose past productions have garnered much praise: an epic Gormenghast, and a spirited rendition of Daisy Pulls It Off delighted packed audiences. With Wolves, they return to the world of black humour they visited with their startling take on Mojo in 2014.

Note that this play is not suitable for younger audiences.

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

Jazz at Progress: Empirical

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Adults: £19, Concessions: £17
Telephone sales cost an additional £1.50:call 0333 666 3366

Friday 16 December 2016 7:30pm


  • Nathaniel Facey sax
  • Lewis Wright vibes
  • Tom Farmer bass
  • Shaney Forbes drums

Empirical are the coolest UK jazz group, known for producing forward-looking, risk-taking, creative music. Each member has a uniquely equal role in the musical direction of the band, brought together through the core ethos of experimentation.

This is a band that we have been wanting to feature for some time and with the release of their latest albumConnection in May this year, we have the right timing. Debuting in 2006 as a quintet, but settling on the present line up in 2008, the band has won numerous awards, including this year's Parliamentary Jazz Award for best Ensemble.

So, of the starting line-up, Tom Farmer on bass and Shaney Forbes on drums, were joined by Nathaniel Facey on reeds in 2007 and Lewis Wright on vibes completed the new quartet in 2008. From inception, the band have released five albums, all of which have won critical acclaim and have something original to say. Some maintain the band's influences to be Eric Dolphy and because of Lewis Wright's vibraphone element, the late Bobby Hutcherson. However, these guys, who have their jazz education rooted in bebop, do have their own sound and concepts which is very evident in Connection.

The recording was made in February 2015 after six gigs at Foyles book shop in London and is inspired by a desire to connect with an audience, some of whom may not be jazz aficionados, rather than just cater for the converted. The result is original compositions and playing summed up by Guardian jazz critic John Fordham: ‘Wright’s “Mind Over Mayhem” is a hip mix of knotty composition and bop-fuelled swing and “Lethe” is a haunting fusion of luxurious vibes chords and soulful sax laments. The rhythmically layered, fitfully spiky “Stay the Course”, meanwhile, powerfully showcases Wright’s grace and Forbes’s inventively supportive drums. This fine set is a significant renewal of Empirical’s commitment to giving 1960s hard bop and free jazz (probably still their deepest loves) a 21st-century identity.’

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

No Naughty Bits

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by Steve Thompson 

No Naughty Bits

16 – 21 January 2017, performances at 7.45pm
Also Saturday 21January performance at 2.30pm.
Doors open 30 minutes earlier.

In December 1975, Monty Python’s Flying Circus was broadcast in the US … but someone cut out all the naughty bits!  This is the true(ish) story of what happened when Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam flew to New York to challenge the TV network and the court case that ensued.

No Naughty Bits investigates the nature of comedy, censorship and the complex misunderstandings in Anglo-American relationships.  And it’s funny.  Mostly.


Micael Palin – Dan Clarke
Nancy – Kate Shaw
Terry – Alex McCubbin
Osterburg – Matt Tully
Franklin – Emma Sterry
Myers – Trevor Dale
Judge Lasker – Richard Tripp
Fried – Jack Goodman

Director – Aidan Moran


This amateur production of No Naughty Bits is presented by special arrangement with Nick Hern Books Ltd

Jazz at Progress: Derek Nash Quartet plus Martin Shaw

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Adults: £16, Concessions: £14 *
Telephone sales cost an additional £1.50:call 0333 666 3366

Fri 27 Jan 2017,  7:30pm

Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet

  • Derek Nash saxes
  • Martin Shaw trumpet & flugelhorn
  • Dave Newton piano
  • Geoff Gascoyne bass
  • Sebastiaan de Krom drums


Derek Nash – saxes
Derek is a featured soloist with the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and has been a full-time member since 2004.  He is leader of the British Jazz award-winning Sax Appeal and also co-leader of funk/fusion band Protect the Beat. 2013 and 2014 saw Derek touring with Cream legend, Jack Bruce, and USA smooth jazz star, Brian Culbertson.  Derek is a master of all saxes from soprano to baritone and is renowned for his energetic, vibrant, passionate and charismatic performances.

Martin Shaw – trumpet & flugelhorn
Martin Shaw studied classical trumpet and Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music and Berklee College of Music in Boston, finishing his studies at the Guildhall School of Music with a one-year postgraduate course in jazz and studio music. Over the last 12 years, he has worked with many leading jazz artists including Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Pete King, Dick Morrisey, Tim Garland and numerous big bands including the BBC Big Band. Martin has recorded, performed live and toured extensively with various pop artists including Sting, Jamiroquai, Natalie Cole, Paul Young and the Brand New Heavies.
Martin Shaw

Dave Newton – piano
Dave was voted best Jazz Pianist in the British Jazz Awards for the thirteenth time in 2014.  He has been the pianist of choice for Carol Kidd, Marion Montgomery, Tina May, Annie Ross, Claire Martin and spent nearly 10 years with Stacey Kent. He’s recorded with Buddy De Franco, Alan Barnes and Martin Taylor as well as a solo artist recording for the Linn, Candid and Concorde labels.  Becoming a professor at Leeds College of Music in 2016, Dave is the epitome of melodic, swinging piano.

Geoff Gascoyne – bass
For 4 years, Geoff was Musical Director for Jamie Cullum appearing on 3 albums and performing at prestigious venues from The Albert Hall to the Hollywood Bowl.  Geoff’s diverse career has seen him perform with the great opera singer Willard White to appearing in Anthony Mingella’s “The Talented Mr Ripley” starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow.   He has performed with, among many others, Guy Barker, Georgie Fame and, within his many performances at Ronnie Scotts, has performed with The Charles Mingus Big Band and Michel Legrand.   With 6 solo albums in own right, Geoff is one of the most respected and in-demand bassists in the UK.

Sebastiaan de Krom – drums
Previously a member of Ray Gelato and the Giants of Jive, Sebastiaan, who is a professor at Leeds College of Music, played for many years with Jamie Cullum appearing on the multi-gold selling albums, Pointless Nostalgic and Twentysomething and touring the world for several years, performing everywhere from the Hollywood Bowl to the Royal Albert Hall. He has worked with Guy Barker, Gene Harris, Kurt Elling and Michel Legrand, and is the maestro of effortless swing.

Accidental Death of an Anarchist

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Adults: £12, Concessions: £10
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by Dario Fo

Accidental Death of an Anarchist, by Dario Fo

Monday 20 – Saturday 25 February, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open 7.15pm

Inspired by the real-life events surrounding the death of Italian railwayman and anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli, who fell – or was thrown – from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969, Dario Fo’s classic farce sees The Maniac outsmarting the dim-witted Inspector Bertozzo before impersonating a judge in order to evade capture - and command the reenactment of the death of the titular anarchist.


Inspector Bertozzo  –  Martin Walker
The Maniac  –  John Gonzalez
Constable  –  Daniel Brown
Inspector Pissani  –  Peter Cook
Superintendent  –  Mikhail Franklin
Maria Feletti  –  Débora Rochfort

Director – Eva Marchetti


This amateur production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist is by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd

His Dark Materials

Buy tickets part 1 Buy tickets part 2
Adults: £12, Concessions: £10
If booking parts 1 and 2 in the same transaction,
a discount of £2 per ticket is applied at the checkout.
Telephone sales cost an additional £1.50:call 0333 666 3366

by Philip Pullman,
adapted by Nicholas Wright

Northern lights

23 March - 1 April 2017, with weekend matinées

Six hours of epic drama, split over two plays.

His Dark Materials is set in Philip Pullman's celebrated fantasy world - one in which people have physical souls in animal form, called daemons. Lyra and Will travel through parallel worlds populated with witches, armoured bears, harpies, ghosts and cliff-ghasts, to find Lyra's friend and Will's father. They meet challenges along the way, have to use their wits and their strength, and ultimately make sacrifices for the greater good.

Presented in two parts, in separate performances - an epic spectacle not to be missed!

Part 1: Thu 23 March 7.30, Fri 24 7.30, Sat 25 2.30, Wed 29 7.30, Sat 1 April 2.30

Part 2: Sat 25 March 7.30, Sun 26 2.30, Thu 30 7.30, Fri 31 7.30, Sat 1 April 7.30

Evening performances at 7.30pm, Matinées at 2.30pm.
Doors open half an hour earlier.

If booking parts 1 and 2 in the same transaction, a discount of £2 per ticket is applied at the checkout.

This amateur production of His Dark Materials is presented by special arrangement with Nick Hern Books Ltd

Progress Premieres

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Adults: £12, Concessions: £10
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Typewriter close-upMonday 24th April – Saturday 29th April 2017, performances at 7.45pm
Doors open at 7.15pm.

Following on from the success of ten years of WriteFest, and as part of our commitment to supporting local writers and directors, Progress Theatre is proud to present an evening of two one-act plays:

  • Writer Bird by  Emily Goode
  • The Swastika Party by Paul Levy

Local directors - both WriteFest alumni - will be taking the helm for each.

Murder, Margaret & Me

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by Philip Meeks

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

Agatha Christie didn’t want Margaret Rutherford to bring her fabled spinster to life - and Margaret was mortified at the prospects of sullying her reputation with something as sordid as murder... Murder, Margaret & Me is the story of the real reason why the acting legend and “the funniest woman alive” didn’t want to take on the role that made her celebrated around the world.

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


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

by Harold Pinter

Three figures silhouetted in a windowMonday 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.

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

The Tempest

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by William Shakespeare

The Tempest by WaterhouseTuesday 11 – Saturday 15 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.

Presented by Progress Youth Theatre.

The Wind in the Willows

By Kenneth Grahame, adapted by Mike Kenny

Wind in the Willows19 - 29 July 2017 at Caversham Court Gardens

Mole, Toad, Ratty and Badger are brought to life as they tell the tale of 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 production? With a laid back atmosphere in one of the area's prettiest locations by Grahame's beloved Thames, The Wind in the Willows will be enjoyed by the whole family.

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

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