Construction of a new theatre in Reading is almost complete ahead of its opening this summer, with the new venue seeking an alcohol licence until 11pm.

Reading Rep Theatre, on Kings Road, will open on September 15 following a two-year campaign which raised over £1 million to build the new theatre.

The construction is now 95 per complete, the theatre said.

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Getting a premises licence is another hurdle still to overcome for Reading Rep Theatre, which has submitted an application to the council seeking permission to provided indoor entertainment from 9am-11pm, Monday-Sunday, and sell alcohol on the premises from midday-11pm, Monday-Sunday.

Artistic director Paul Stacey said: “Announcing this brilliant five-show season in our new venue with locally, regionally and nationally leading artists is the culmination of eight years of work for Reading Rep, beginning when I founded the company with a £500 overdraft in 2012.

“I was born and raised in Reading and being able to put my hometown on the national cultural map and make our work accessible to all across Reading through our ENGAGE programme and free ticket scheme is the greatest honour.

“As we return to live performance, bringing our community together to share stories and experiences, and to laugh and celebrate is more important than ever.

“We are so excited to welcome audiences into our new home.”

Reading Chronicle: PICTURED: The theatre's seats have been installedPICTURED: The theatre's seats have been installed

The new cultural hub, converted from a former 1927 Salvation Army Hall, will include a 180-seat theatre, a permanent education and learning centre, backstage areas, new front of house facilities, and a café/bar.

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The building is being converted by Total Projects, and is designed by David Hughes, the architect of the award-winning Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, London.

Reading Rep will launch with the opening night gala Reading Rep: Reborn, celebrating the company’s new venue, featuring performances from Associate Companies.

It will then start its inaugural season at the new state-of-the-art new building with DORIAN, a world première adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray written by Bruntwood Prize winner Phoebe Eclair-Powell and directed by Owen Horsley, running from October 13-November 7.

Paul Stacey then directs local born Beth Flintoff’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol from 3-31 December, followed by Fringe First Award winner Gary McNair’s Jekyll & Hyde from February 9-March 6.

After that, Helen Eastman directs her children’s show Alby The Penguin Saves The World, which is on from April 6-18.

Completing the season is A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Paul Stacey and Christie O’Carroll from May 11-June 15.

The theatre will offer 10 per cent of all tickets for all productions for free and all productions will have accompanying access performances

Reading Rep Theatre is also supporting three associate companies, who will be given space, time, and mentorship to develop their practice for diverse communities throughout Reading:

  • A Girl Called Stephen Theatre, a Reading-based theatre company that amplifies and celebrates LGBTQIA+ and/or female-led stories
  • Exit Pursued By Panda, who promote the interests of East & South East Asian creatives in the UK, founded by Adrian Tang
  • Make Sense Theatre,founded by three highly experienced SEN/SEMH drama and dance practitioners and performers to make theatre for, by and with the neurodivergent community.