South Street Arts Centre – Overview

Just south of the main town centre in Reading, South Street Arts Centre is a 5 minute walk from the Oracle Riverside, and features two specifically designed performance spaces. The relatively small-scale annual programme focuses on a range of offerings, including touring theatre, music, comedy and spoken word.

Named after the actual street where it is based, South Street is located close to the A329 and not far from the Riverside Car Park and River Kennet. Looking at the ‘What’s On’ guides usually comes up with a range of professional performances, encompassing the very best of small-scale theatre, music, comedy and live literature.

South Street is home to the award winning RedCape Theatre, Leo Kay’s company Unfinished Business and their very own Youth Theatre company. There is a programme of off-site work hosted by South Street. Named SITELINES, the programme encompasses everything that doesn’t fit a traditional theatre space.

The two performance venues in the Arts Centre are the Main Theatre and Studio. Both of these are ideal for hosting smaller performances, workshops, rehearsals, parties, conferences and even staff training sessions for local businesses. South Street regularly hosts music, theatre, stand-up and spoken word shows from nationally known acts.

Fairly recently refurbished South Street has two venues which are flexible, intimate spaces that can meet the needs for cabaret style, raked seating and standing performances.

South Street Youth Theatre offers local young people the opportunity to develop their dramatic skills in a relaxed and fun environment. Led by professional tutors with many years of experience between them, the groups will work towards performances which are then staged at South Street’s professionally run main theatre space.

The emphasis of the Youth Theatre group is on developing the children’s imagination and creativity, so all their performances are devised, written and performed by themselves with guidance and input from a small team of directors. As well as performing at the Arts Centre itself, recent years have seen the young people taking their shows to perform as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, created a show specifically to be performed on a bus and a “promenade” performance through the South Street area of Reading.

Reading Arts and Venues organisation runs the three main arts venues in the town on behalf of Reading Borough Council. This includes The Hexagon, the Concert Hall at the Town Hall, and South Street Arts Centre itself. The arrangement also incorporates box office services for other local and national events and festivals.

The eclectic programme across these three venues runs to over 600 events a year; including pop and rock, theatre, classical music, comedy, lectures, festivals and family shows.

As a venue-for-hire, South Street is regularly used by local groups for reasons such as Yoga, school events, band practices, training sessions and a range of community groups.