Guide to Local Theatre by Paul Shave

Newbury Dramatic Society - Wessex and Hardy - On the Cusp of Change

Latest news: 26th May to 2nd June 2024

Hannah Maskell is a local conductor, vocal tutor and an aspiring musical theatre composer. Her latest new challenge this summer is a concert of her own original music and she could be looking for you to take part in this exciting premiere. Hannah plans to present a delightful evening of musical theatre showcasing her work. As a huge advocate for community music and bringing the arts to all, she is thrilled to offer this opportunity for local singers to be involved. Hannah says “we’re looking to form this special choir to join in with 4 songs on the evening. I’ve been wanting to present my own work to the public since leaving university and I’m relishing teaching it to the choir. Above all, it’s going to be such a lot of fun.” The concert will be on 20th July 2024 and all are welcome to join or watch. Choir Rehearsals have started on Tuesday evenings in St Nics Church, Newbury with a dress rehearsal on 19th July. Contact if you would like to be involved.

Drama festivals are a good opportunity to see local groups perform one-act plays, usually over four or five days with two plays each night. Two local festivals coming up are:
ODN Drama Festival of One Act Plays, 4th to 8th June
Two one-act plays each evening from Tuesday to Friday at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon.
After each play, the adjudicator will give a short review and workshop with the cast.
Saturday Gala night will be 3 plays chosen from the week followed by awards.
Wallingford Corn Exchange Drama Festival, 10th to 15th June
At the Wallingford Corn Exchange.

Professional theatre locally

Mill at SonningCalendar Girls, 11th April to 1st June
When Annie’s husband dies of leukemia, she and her best friend Chris decide to raise funds for the local hospital. Despite raised eyebrows from the local community they create a calendar featuring themselves and their friends from the Women’s Institute… in tastefully nude poses. As they embark on their fundraising journey over the seasons, the friends discover a newfound sense of confidence and sisterhood, breaking free from societal expectations of middle age. And as the word begins to spread, these Calendar Girls begin to turn heads and capture hearts around the world. Destined to make you laugh, make you cry and make you blush! Calendar Girls is a glorious celebration of friendship, community, and the power of ordinary people to make a difference.

WatermillFanny, 23rd May to 15th June
You’ll probably know her younger brother, Felix Mendelssohn, from 19th century smash hits like The Wedding March. He was the Cliff Richard of his day and was even asked to play at a personal concert for Queen Victoria. But only if he played her favourite piece of music ever, a song called Italien. However, we now know that Felix was forced to admit to the Queen that, in actuality, the piece had been composed by his sister, Fanny, and simply published under his name. Fanny imagines that Fanny intercepts a letter addressed to ‘F. Mendelssohn’ inviting Felix to play for Queen Victoria. As the true composer of Italien, she decides to hide the letter, don her brother’s clothes, and take his place at the palace…cueing a race across Europe and a furious Felix. This fun and irreverent new comedy celebrates classical music and – at last – the work of a composer overlooked because of her sex.

Newbury Corn Exchange: The Motive and the Cue, 24th to 28th May
See Theatre at the Cinema below.

Amateur theatre

Online productions

For online offerings from the National Theatre and the RSC, among others, see the Newbury Theatre web site.

Theatre at the Cinema

The Motive and the Cue, 24th to 28th May, at Newbury Corn Exchange
1964: Richard Burton, newly married to Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title role in an experimental new Broadway production of Hamlet under John Gielgud’s exacting direction. But as rehearsals progress, two ages of theatre collide and the collaboration between actor and director soon threatens to unravel.

Future showings will be listed at

You can see information about productions just outside our area (Reading-ish, Henley-ish, Basingstoke-ish) at


One Response

  1. Having now seen Leopoldstadt twice in person, I would strongly recommend that you watch it, and if possible watch it in the theatre, While I am sure that you will appreciate the streamed version, you will only get the full impact watching it in person.

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