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Wokingham Theatre

SOUTHERN REGION
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Contact Information
Basic Information

Cantley Park
Twyford Road

Wokingham
Berks
RG40 5TU
Tel: 0118 9890395
Alt Tel: 0118 9785363

Public Theatre

Theatre Joined the LTG in 1981

Registered User

Sarah Jane Auerbach

LTGR

Richard Coleman

Web Contact

Nigel Lawson Dick


( 07785 506014 )

Charity Reg. No.

292448

Productions

8

Performances

10

Seating Capacity

143

Bar

Theatre Licence

Seat Price

9

Other Activities

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2012

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Moonlight and Magnolias Ron Hutchinson 96 1252
After the Dance Terence Rattigan 98 1283
Edwardian Music Hall 98 1274
Woman in Mind Alan Ayckbourn 98 1285
Sparkleshark Philip Ridley Double bill 64 276
Basset James Graham Double bill - Youth Group 4 perfs 0 0
Odd Couple (The) (Female version) Neil Simon 100 1303
Katherine Howard William Nicholson 99 1293
Sitting Pretty Amy Rosenthal 98 1285
Inherit the Wind Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee 99 1297
     
Total:
10548

Report on Year The 2011-2012 season was another very successful one for the theatre both in artistic and financial terms, wiith sales of seats again approaching 100%. Moonlight and Magnolias was a new play to our audience but they loved the fast paced humour and eccentric story line. The Rattigan although one of his lesser-known plays was well received. The Music Hall was supported by a professional five-piece band and enabled our singers, comics and speciality acts a chance to shine. Woman In Mind received some rave reviews and highlighted our acting talents. The Odd Couple was huge fun and contrasted well with the beautifully staged Katherine Howard. Nudity, very tastefully presented, was a talking point in Sitting Pretty, but proved no problem for the actress, director or the audience. Finally, a huge cast of nearly fifty actors was assembled for a dynamic and thought provoking finale in Inherit The Wind. The season gave a chance for a very large number of our members to tread the boards and attracted a significant number of new people into the ranks. Off the stage the main issue remains the negotiation over the renewal of the lease. Three years in the pace remains slow, but with seventeen years left, we are confident of eventual success. Plans For 2012/2013: Productions of: Guilty Secret, Hamlet, A Kick in the Baubles, How to be Happy, Spring Storm, Hero`s and Heroin`s-double bill, The Vortex and The Suicide.

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2011

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Maintenance Man Richard Harris 99 1295
Amadeus Peter Shaffer 99 1294
Farndale Ave. Christmas Carol David MacGillivray/Walter Zerlin Jnr 98 1275
Lightning Play (The) Charlotte Jones 99 1286
Caucasian Chalk Circle (The) Bertolt Brecht Youth Group 4 Perfs 69 302
Confusions Alan Ayckbourn Double Bill 98 1285
Browning Version (The) Terence Rattigan Double Bill 0 0
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck 99 1287
Ladies Day Amanda Whittington 99 1301
Our Country's Good Timberlake Wertenbaker 88 1149
     
Total:
10474

Report on Year This year has been another successful one, both in terms of ticket sales and artistic merit.We at last staged The Maintenance Man which was replaced last year because of casting difficulties, and that started the season in fine style. One of the highlights of the year was Amadeus, which received much praise and standing ovations, which is a rare occurrence at the theatre. From the sublime to the Farndale Avenue Ladies who provided a much loved Christmas Carol. They were well supported by our set building team or 'The Old Farts' as they prefer to be known, who produced many large scale and ingenious props. After Christmas we had a 'Marmite' production in the form of The Lightning Play. Many of our younger audience loved it, but it proved a challenge for some of our more traditionally minded patrons. For the first time in many years we put on a double bill comprised of two of Ayckbourn's Confusions and The Browning Version which proved to be a popular mixture. The American Classic Of Mice And Men benefited from two outstanding central performances and the input of a professional fight director. Royal Ascot in June, just a couple of miles down the road from the theatre, was matched by our energetic and funny production of Ladies Day. This show sold so quickly we could have used ticket touts outside the theatre. Our Country's Good concluded the season and although ticket sales were slower than usual the messages of the play about the nature of theatre were well received by the audience. In February The Youth Theatre took on the challenge of performing Brecht, with The Caucasian Chalk Circle and came out on top! To improve our skills we have also developed some Sunday Workshops, which have been led by professional tutors. The Theatre has continued to support local charities, and every production was preceded by a charity preview. Taken together we believe the charities concerned raised in the order of £15,000. Something new this year, was the running of a charity stall in the style of the Townswomen's Guild, for Help For Heroes during every performance of The Farndale Christmas Carol. This by itself raised in the region of £4,000. Plans For 2011/2012: Productions of:Moonlight And Magnolias, After The Dance, An Edwardian Music Hall, Woman In Mind, The Odd Couple (Female Version), Katherine Howard, Sitting Pretty and Inherit The Wind.

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2010

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Educating Rita Willy Russell 97 1271
My Boy Jack David Haig 95 1238
Improbable Fiction Alan Ayckbourn 10 perfs 99 1433
Veronica's Room Ira Levin 99 1298
Government Inspector (The) Nikolai Gogol Youth Group - 4 perfs 77 448
Lady in the Van (The) Alan Bennett 96 1289
Doll's House (A) Henrik Ibsen 96 1256
Anyone for Breakfast Derek Benfield 98 1277
Hired Man (The) Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall 99 1297
     
Total:
10807

Report on Year We are delighted to report another successful season during which we presented our customary eight productions and our Youth Theatre maintained their splendid record with a production of The Government Inspector. Having said that, the first play of the season was changed when we could not cast it, although it had a cast of only three! We replaced it with Educating Rita, which has a cast of two. The cancelled play, The Maintenance Man, was deferred until next season. Artistically, the plays we performed presented various challenges quite apart from the perennial one of casting. The first act of Ayckbournís Improbable Fiction is innocuous enough but explodes like a box of fireworks in act two with the seven actors having to undertake 25 different roles involving 42 costume changes and more than 130 technical cues. Essentially The Lady in the Van requires a van, which our talented set construction team brilliantly created. A major innovation this year was our final production of the musical The Hired Man, which was very much enjoyed not least by everyone who took part. Apart from our own productions, we have had more than 25 lets which have included a Shakespeare Day for primary schools, numerous dance school displays, hairdressing examinations and puppet shows, christening parties, wakes, band concerts and charity previews. As a result of all this activity, we have raised £2,500 for the theatre and helped to raise more than £15,000 for various charities from Great Ormond Street hospital to the Air Ambulance Appeal and Help for Heroes. On the administrative side, the year was very largely occupied by installing and refining a computerised box office system and by negotiating with the council a longer lease in order to make the investment in the proposed extension more viable. We are glad to report some success on both these matters. Plans for 2010/2011 Productions of The Maintenance Man, Amadeus, The Farndale Christmas Carol, The Lightning Play, The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Youth Theatre), Confusions and The Browning Version (double bill), Of Mice And Men, Ladiesí Day and Our Countryís Good

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2009

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Plaza Suite Neil Simon 87 1134
Taking Sides Ronald Harwood 76 994
Importance of Being Earnest (The) Oscar Wilde 99 1292
My Mother Said I Never Should Charlotte Keatley 97 1271
Mary Stuart Friedrich Schiller 99 1295
Nobody's Perfect Simon Williams 100 1301
Suddenly At Home Francis Durbridge 100 1299
There Goes the Bride Ray Cooney 100 1300
Great Expectations Charles Dickens (ad. Clare Ravenwood) Youth Group 3 perfs 92 400
     
Total:
10286

Report on Year We learned the lesson of our previous season which, it was diagnosed, suffered from ?drama fatigue? ? a new term to add to theatrical terminology meaning ?not enough comedies?. We reverted to our tried and trusted formula by alternating drama with comedy. Comedies by Neil Simon, Wilde, Ray Cooney and Simon Williams provided the filling of the sandwich with carbohydrate from more thought-provoking dramas by Ronald Harwood, Schiller and Charlotte Keatley?oh, and a Francis Durbridge thriller. As a result we achieved an average audience capacity of 95 % - closer to our customary level. Our Youth Theatre continued its impressive record of productions with an adaptation of Dickens? Great Expectations, which was also very well received by packed houses. Much time and effort was expended on our plans to extend the theatre with a new rehearsal space, additional workshop and storage. Planning permission was obtained and we embarked on a fund-raising effort to help us raise the necessary capital expenditure. Alas, this coincided almost precisely with the credit crunch and the consequent lack of success decided prompted our decision to postpone this improvement to our facilities until a better financial climate exists. Early in the season our box office manager for the last 16 years sadly died and a new computerised system was devised and implemented with commendable efficiency and speed. The system of play selection we have employed for the past eight years, involving the theatre?s entire membership of 200, was abandoned as too cumbersome and not guaranteed to achieve the best results. Instead we convened a more traditional format with a small representative committee of five led by the Artistic Director, who took members? suggestions on board. The task of play selection (arguably the most important the theatre undertakes) involves balancing what our members want to be involved in within our capabilities and the kind of plays our audiences like to see. The Season Selection Committee attempted to arrive at the best possible season of plays in the best possible order. Plans for 2009/2010: Productions of: Educating Rita; My Boy Jack, Improbable Fiction, Veronica?s Room, The Lady In The Van, A Doll?s House, Anyone For Breakfast? The Hired Man and The Government Inspector (Youth Theatre).

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2008

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Role Play Alan Ayckbourn 100 1281
Disposing of the Body Hugh Whitemore 97 1244
Comedy of Errors (The) William Shakespeare 96 1230
Colder Than Here Laura Wade 91 1168
Streetcar Named Desire (A) Tennessee Williams 100 1287
Experiment with an Air-Pump Shelagh Stephenson 78 1005
Clearing (The) Helen Edmundson 81 1048
Dead Funny Terry Johnson 97 1248
Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (The) CS. Lewis (ad. Glyn Robbins) Youth Group - 3 performances 100 572
     
Total:
10083

Report on Year Another box-office success, but figures down on the previous year. Average box-office sales were 92.5% for main productions. A varied season with plays from Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams nestling alongside Ayckbourn and Terry Johnson. Newer plays also went in the mix: Laura Wade?s Colder Than Here and Helen Edmondson?s The Clearing. A celebratory season for us, as it was our 60th year, which we kicked-off with a gala performance of Ayckbourn?s RolePlay attended by local dignitaries including our MP John Redwood. One reason for the downturn in box-office sales is perhaps a slight bias towards dramas. We only had 3 comedies and one of those was Shakespeare?s The Comedy of Errors. This proved a great success however and was done with a wild-west theme. We have decided that for the coming season we will try to redress the balance. Our Youth Theatre is flourishing with a healthy membership waiting list. Their main production was The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, incorporating some adult theatre members - very well-received for its 3-night run and a box-office sell-out as usual. We saw the return of members? social evenings following the demise of our traditional Friday night get-togethers some years ago. These are a feature we would like to develop. It is sometimes possible to become so wrapped up in the business of productions that we neglect the social aspect; one that it very important in developing team spirit and togetherness. We are looking at a project of improvements with the anticipated building of a rehearsal space and extra backstage facilities. This would substantially improve the facilities at the theatre and enable members to rehearse on-site 100% of the time. Our workshop and dressing rooms will also benefit. Once given the go ahead, the fund- raising venture will go into full swing. Plans for 2008/09: Productions of: Plaza Suite, Taking Sides, The Importance of Being Earnest, My Mother Said I Never Should, Mary Stuart, Nobody?s Perfect, Suddenly at Home, There Goes the Bride and Great Expectations (Youth Group).

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2007

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Ten Times Table Alan Ayckbourn 96 1235
Abandonment Kate Atkinson 100 1281
Caught on the Hop Derek Benfield 100 1281
Hot House (The) Harold Pinter 96 1136
My Cousin Rachel Daphne du_Maurier (ad. Diana Morgan) 100 1290
Accidental Death of an Anarchist (The) Dario Fo 90 1026
Humble Boy Charlotte Jones 94 1211
Lady's Not For Burning (The) Christopher Fry 100 1144
Agnes of God John Pielmeier 3 Performances 70 300
Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett 3 Performances 81 232
As You Like It William Shakespeare Youth Group - 3 Performances 85 365
     
Total:
10501

Report on Year Another box office success improving on the previous season with main season sales of 97%. A varied season saw plays from Pinter, Du Maurier and, a first for WT, Dario Fo, plus some new plays: Kate Atkinson?s Abandonment, and Charlotte Jones?s Humble Boy. We added two shorter run shows to offer members who could not commit to longer runs the chance of a three night run, as well as giving prospective directors an opportunity. Both Agnes of God and Waiting for Godot were very well received. Christopher Fry?s The Lady?s not for Burning provided a challenge when it was decided that it would transfer to Reading?s Abbey ruins for an outdoor run. All involved rose to the challenge; even the weather gods took favour! With no core audience in Reading, the returns were very satisfactory and the final night saw an audience larger than any we could have in our own theatre - a nice way to finish. Our Youth Theatre continues to flourish, with a healthy membership waiting list. Mark Turnbull decided to move on, so next season a new tutor will take the reins. The main production for the YT, was Shakespeare?s As You Like It - very well received. We had a welcome return of members? social evenings. We can sometimes become so wrapped up in productions that we neglect the social aspect which is so important in the development of team spirit. Everyone is looking forward to the challenge of our 60th anniversary year and its celebrations, which will be held in April 2008. We are facing the prospect of a football stadium being built on our doorstep! While we may not be able to stop the development, we look forward to raising awareness of our theatre and its success in the county; our 60th celebrations give us the opportunity to achieve this. Plans for 2007/2008: Productions of: Role Play, Disposing of the Body, The Comedy of Errors, Colder Than Here, A Streetcar Named Desire, An Experiment with an Air Pump, The Clearing, Dead Funny and The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Youth)

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2006

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Snake in the Grass Alan Ayckbourn 95 1220
Marking Time Michael Snelgrove 100 1287
Lord Arthur Savile's Crime Constance Cox 100 1280
Power Nick Dear 96 1233
Cemetery Club (The) Ivan Menchell 100 1290
Enemy of the People (An) Henrik Ibsen (ad.Christopher Hampton) 87 1126
Equally Divided Ronald Harwood 93 1201
Bedside Manners Derek Benfield 100 1287
Henry the Tudor Dude Kjaratan Poskit Youth Group - 3 Perfs 70 301
     
Total:
10225

Report on Year Our 2005/6 season was once again a box office success with 95% ticket sales. As is our custom, we provided our loyal audience with a season of eight plays offering a balance of old and new, light and serious, ranging from Ayckbourn to Ibsen. Nick Dear?s Power was a welcome piece of 21st Century writing, proving popular with actors and audience alike and giving our talented wardrobe team a chance to shine. In common with so many other theatres, we can struggle to fill backstage and ?techie? roles, but this season also saw a worrying lack of auditionees for some shows, despite a sustained membership level. Two possible causes ? a lack of meaty roles and the high level of commitment imposed by our nine-night runs ? have been addressed in our programming for 2006/7, so we hope to see a reversal of this trend. Our Youth Theatre continues to flourish, with 115 students aged 8 to 18 enrolled in four separate sessions each week during term time. This year they presented two Youth Theatre productions and some took part in one of our main season productions ? An Enemy of the People. They also have opportunities to study for public examinations through LAMDA, and participate in a summer school at the theatre. On the administrative front, we have adapted to the new Licensing Act which came into force in November 2005 and have worked closely with our District Council to comply with, and raise awareness of, the Children in Entertainment regulations. We ended the season on a high note with a members? barbecue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of our purpose-built theatre on the outskirts of Wokingham. Next year even bigger celebrations are due as we mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Theatre in October 1947. Plans for 2006/2007: Productions of Ten Times Table, Abandonment, Caught on the Hop, The Hothouse, My Cousin Rachel, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Humble Boy and The Lady?s Not for Burning, As You Like It, Agnes of God and Waiting for Godot

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2005

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Private Lives No?l Coward 99 1276
Therese Raquin Emile Zola (ad Neil Bell) 88 1134
Caught in the Net Ray Cooney 100 1294
Bright and Bold Design (The) Peter Whelan 97 1259
House Guest Francis Durbridge 99 1279
Holiday Snap Michael Pertwee and John Chapman 100 1285
Proof David Auburn 96 1241
Saturday, Sunday, Monday Eduardo de_Filippo 100 1282
Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare Youth Group 84 359
     
Total:
10409

Report on Year Wokingham Theatre had yet another successful season, with average sales of 97.5% - an increase on last year. The choice of plays was again well received by our patrons. Our Artistic Development Group has been very active again having arranged a number of members? workshops and theatre trips. Also, this season we instigated a series of rehearsed play readings. These proved to be an excellent opportunity for members to learn and practise techniques, without the burden of line learning or the long-term commitment of being in a full production. One area where we have experienced some difficulty in recruiting staff is our technical side particularly with the design and rigging of lighting. Initiatives have been taken to improve this key aspect of the theatre and we hope to see new faces in our "tech box" as soon as possible. We hear that we are not alone in having this problem, which appears to be a frequent one in amateur theatres. Our Youth Group has approximately 80 students aged 8 ? 18 yrs. They practise theatre skills appropriate to their age group and occasionally put on their own productions, including one major production annually. They also have opportunities to study for public examinations through LAMDA, and participate in the main season productions: Caught in the Net being a case in point. We also run a summer school at the theatre which is open to both WYT members as priority and then non-members. The youth group turns out a consistently high standard of production year in, year out and this year was no exception. They provided us with an excellent interpretation of Romeo & Juliet in March; the whole cast contributing to a truly ensemble performance. Plans for 2005/2006: Productions of: Snake in the Grass, Marking Time, Lord Arthur Savile?s Crime, Power, The Cemetery Club, An Enemy of the People, Equally Divided and Bedside Manners.

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2004

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Deathtrap Ira Levin 87 1124
Royal Baccarat Scandal (The) Royce Ryton 91 1176
Brush with a Body Maurice McLoughlin 99 1271
Inspector Calls (An) JB Priestley 99 1279
Comic Potential Alan Ayckbourn 100 1283
All My Sons Arthur Miller 88 1130
School for Scandal (The) Richard Brinsley Sheridan 97 1248
Quartet Ronald Harwood 95 1221
     
Total:
9732

Report on Year Wokingham Theatre had yet another successful season, with average sales of 94.5%. The choice of plays was well received by our patrons who sent many appreciative letters. We often put on a free Christmas show for our season ticket holders - a mixture of songs, poetry & readings. Last season, we decided to ring the changes and put on a St Valentine?s Day Show. It was so popular that we had to extend the run to three nights! Our Artistic Development Group has been very active having arranged a number of members? workshops on acting, make-up, wardrobe and lighting as well as some theatre trips. The Technical Department has also been busy which enabled us to increase our intake of lighting & sound designers and operators last season more than any other. New stage managers have also been recruited - another asset to the theatre. July saw the installation of a much needed cooling system in the auditorium. This went down very well with our patrons. Our Youth Group has approximately eighty students aged 8 ? 18 yrs. They practise theatre skills appropriate to their age group and occasionally put on their own productions, including one major production annually. They also have opportunities to study for public examinations through LAMDA. This year, they did us proud again with some excellent performances in Animal Farm in March. In April, six senior girls put on a stunningly different adaptation of Chaucer?s Canterbury Tales. We are particularly proud as this show was almost entirely produced by our Youth Theatre: lighting, stage management, marketing and costume were provided by the children and, occasionally, some very helpful parents. The Youth Technical Group participated in at least three shows culminating with them designing and operating the season?s final show.

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2003

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

     
Total:
0

Report on Year

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2002

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

     
Total:
0

Report on Year

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2001

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Haywire Eric Chappel 100 1288
Twelfth Night William Shakespeare 83 1167
Amy'sView David Hare 98 1118
Anastasia File (The) Royce Ryton 81 1136
Seasons Greetings Alan Ayckbourn 100 1425
Glass Menagerie (The) Tennessee Williams 89 1014
Month of Sundays (A) Bob Larby 100 1114
Voyage Round My Father (A) John Mortimer 100 1144
     
Total:
9406

Report on Year

Year Ending 31st Aug - 2000

Productions

Production

Author

Comment

%
Capacity

Seats
Sold

Trap for a Lonely Man Robert Thomas 100 1000
Man for All Seasons (A) Robert Bolt 100 1000
Absurd Person Singular Alan Ayckbourn 100 1125
Rough Justice Terence Frisby 87 957
She Stoops to Conquer Oliver Goldsmith 100 1000
House of Bernada Alba (The) Federico Garcia Lorca 95 950
Hobson's Choice Harold Brighouse 100 1000
Rumours Neil Simon 100 1125
     
Total:
8157

Report on Year Another exciting and fulfilling year has come and gone. Our audiences have remained ever loyal and we continue to attract full houses at almost all our productions. A happy state of affairs! Artistically, we have continued to present a varied and challenging programme which has stretched our performers and backstage teams alike. We have been particularly pleased to welcome some talented newcomers to our pool of actors which has certainly been of benefit in several larger scale productions such as A Man for All Seasons and the all female cast of Bernarda Alba. In July we closed the doors on the theatre for a major refurbishment and extension. This building programme will see enhanced seating capacity, a new lighting box , much improved and extended facilities for our patrons in the public areas of the theatre and at last a separate box office. Due to the success of the theatre over the past five years, we have been able to fund the project largely from our own reserves and have not had to rely on lottery grants to complete the work. The first two productions of next season will take place off-site at a neighbouring theatre ? another interesting challenge ? and we will open the doors again in December (hopefully!) in time for our Christmas production.

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