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Launching a brand-new virtual cultural venue for Reading

Launching a brand-new virtual cultural venue for Reading


Reading arts and cultural organisations have come together to create a brand new live streaming cultural venue for Reading. Launched this week, during Reading Children’s Festival, readingculturelive.co.uk brings performances and activities from many of Reading’s top arts and cultural organisations direct to Reading residents via their PCs, tablets and phones.

The website will fill the gap in Reading while Reading’s many arts, culture and heritage venues remain closed, streaming everything from dance classes to arts and crafts, music to yoga, and many of the live or pre-recorded events that are part of the Reading Children’s Festival.

It is hoped that this venue will become a permanent fixture on Reading’s cultural scene to promote local artists as well as immediately filling the cultural vacuum left in our lives by COVID-19. readingculturelive.co.uk is also supporting Reading’s cultural community with funding to produce creative work inspired by the NHS’s 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing¹.

Reading Culture Live is a programme of activity run by Reading UK, Reading Borough Council and the University of Reading and funded by the Great Places Scheme.

12 Reading based organisations and artists have already benefitted from the funding – Richard Bentley, Rising Sun Arts Centre, faa (fight against aids) society, Real Time, Culture Mix, Jelly, Strike Up Theatre, @madebytamalia, Reading Refugee Support Group, Reside Dance, Outrider Anthems.

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK, said: “We are missing our cultural fix in Reading in these COVID times and our local artists and cultural community have had their income streams cut off overnight. This project brings the two elements together to keep us healthy and lift our spirits during these difficult times, while providing a platform for Reading’s renowned creative sector.”

Reading Culture Live has sourced a whole host of exciting content from all over Reading’s cultural community. Lots of the activities are completely free for everyone to enjoy, but to help support small businesses some may ask for a small fee or donation to cover their costs.

Karen Rowland, Reading Borough Council Lead for Heritage, Culture and Recreation, said: “Enjoy a new piece of music, find the artist within you, dance off pent-up energy, meditate your way to inner peace or tuck the kids away at something fun and good for them, whilst you take a well-earned breather…Reading Culture Live brings you all of this and more, all from Reading local creatives and artists. I’m really excited that we are launching during our fabulous virtual Children’s Festival this week. Families can access some great free activities, including Jelly’s virtual art club, Jollypop Entertainment’s Rainbow Party and Reading Museum’s Tales for Tots. Arts and culture can pave the way to better mental and physical health for everyone. Stunning presentations such as Berzerk Productions’ Chatroom by Enda Walsh offers a powerful depiction of modern-day adolescent isolation. There is such a range on the site, there is truly something for everyone. Culture at a click – I’m in!”

So, why not take a look at what Reading’s cultural scene has to offer from the comfort of your home? Head over to our new virtual venue at readingculturelive.co.uk and follow us on social media for all the latest events and activities @RDGWhatsOn


Further info from Alex Brannen, Reading UK on 07960 779166 / alex@livingreading.co.uk or Victoria Nickless, Reading Borough Council,  0118 937 3957 / Victoria.nickless@reading.gov.uk 


List of cultural organisations that have been funded to produce work for the platform

Richard Bentley, Rising Sun Arts Centre, faa (fight against aids) society, Real Time, Culture Mix, Jelly, Strike Up Theatre, @madebytamalia, Reading Refugee Support Group, Reside Dance, Outrider Anthems

¹NHS 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing – Connect with other people, Be physically active, Learn new skills, Give to others, Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness). https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/

Reading UK

Reading UK manages a number of projects aimed at raising the profile of arts and culture in Reading, including the Reading Cultural Awards and is a lead partner in the Reading Great Place Scheme, alongside Reading Borough Council and the University of Reading.  Reading UK works to integrate business and the arts and demonstrate the value of a high cultural profile to economic performance. The aim is to make Reading a better place to live, work and visit, with a culture of collaboration across sectors, where caring for and engaging people is achieved in partnership between the public, private and voluntary sector.

The online cultural commissioning funding is provided by the Great Place Scheme, a national project funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England, designed to put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of successful communities across England. Sixteen areas, including Reading, were chosen to pilot the new approach to enable cultural, community and civic organisations to work more closely together. Find out more about the Great Place Scheme at http://readingplaceofculture.org. The cultural commissioning funding provides up to £2000 per application to support online projects created by Reading-based artists and cultural organisations.

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