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Reading Rep sets out its inaugural season

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It's a bold company these days which launches itself with a challengingly contrasted three-show season. The newly established Reading Repertory Theatre tested the ground in July with a production of Pinter's The Dumb Waiter in the Studio Theatre of Reading College's Performing Arts Centre. Its success has led to this longer-term fully-professional venture.

Artistic director Paul Stacey and Neil McCurley have made a new musical adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol which will run from 24 December (most appropriately) until 2 January. Stacey also directs the spring show, Strindberg's Miss Julie, which previews from 1 April, opens on 4 April and plays until 12 April. The summer show is Osborne's Look Back in Anger, previewing from 22 July, opening on 24 July and running until 2 August. The Studio Theatre itself is a flexible space, seating only around 60 playgoers at a time.

Reading Rep however is not prepared simply to mount productions, it seeks to involve itself actively in arts education and with the area's culturally diverse community through its residency at Reading College. Funding has come from the Borough Council, the National Lottery and the College itself.

Alan Stacey, commercial director of London's Young Vic, is chairman of the board of directors. The artistic board includes Robert Brustein, who founded the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theaters, and Anatoly Smeliansky, associate artistic director of the Moscow Arts Theatre and head of its School for Academic Studies.

Besides Stacey, the staff includes Aidan Grounds (producer), Katia Cole (head of education) and Timothy James (community engagement director). Between them they hope to place enterprise, experience and employability at the centre of Reading Rep's outreach work while providing theatre-goers with a mix of established national and intenational drama, musical revivals and a commitment to new writing of the highest quality.


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