Founding Artistic Director of Reading Rep Theatre Paul Stacey has given his views on the confirmed fate of Reading Gaol after concerns were raised by the public. 

This comes as Reading Rep's new production of The Importance of Being Oscar starts in two weeks time, and will include some discussions on Reading jail.

"After about ten years of fighting, it does seem that the Gaol will have some sort of cultural component within it or part of it," Mr Stacey said. 

"We got lucky enough to get the opportunity to present this play to celebrate the life and works of Oscar Wilde in such a moment in Reading's history.

"The fact that the place where he was imprisoned is going to be developed into something that has a cultural component as well is great and we wanted to celebrate that."

The site has been vacant for more than a decade, with the last inmates being moved from the prison in November 2013.

After a sale process which saw the Ministry of Justice selling the Prison for £7 million, purchaser the Ziran Education Foundation has announced what it intends to do.

A spokesperson for the foundation said they were "thrilled" to share their "vision" for the site, which will be based on three priorities.

The spokesperson said: "First, in partnership with a distinguished design firm, we're exploring innovative solutions, including the integration of AI technology.

"Our aspiration is to create robots tailored to our unique requirements, complementing human efforts in select areas of the premises. Furthermore, we're envisioning the establishment of a distinctive art museum, museum, and an art-inspired hotel."

Mr Stacey said that the theatre is lucky to get the rights for The Importance of Being Oscar, and hopes that audiences will really appreciate the new show. 

"Its toured the world for about 20 years, so we're very lucky to do it for the first time in Reading and with Original Theatre who are an excellent company," he said. 

"They first started in South Hill Park in Bracknell which is where I first got to know them about ten years ago. This is a great time to work with them."

The Prison sale was even addressed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in an interview with veteran BBC broadcaster Andrew Peach.

PM Sunak was unable to reveal the foundation as the buyer at the time of the interview last September but said that any plans would be subject to approval from Reading Borough Council.