The Reading Cultural Awards 2017, Reading’s very first celebration of the fantastic arts organisations, artists, events and venues which make up the town’s vibrant cultural scene are being launched on Thursday 6 April.

Culminating in a glitzy awards ceremony on 29 June at the historic Olympia Ballroom, the Reading Cultural Awards are sponsored by Reading UK CIC, the Olympia Ballroom and The Banquet Kitchen (Catering) in association with The Reading Chronicle.  The awards will not only recognise individual and collective excellence but also demonstrate the important role that arts and culture play in making Reading a great place to live, work and do business.

Reading’s brilliant cultural scene reached new heights during Reading Year of Culture. The Reading Cultural Awards will provide an opportunity for Reading’s arts and cultural community, businesses and supporters to come together to celebrate all the amazing achievements of the past 18 months.

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director of Reading UK CIC, organisers of the awards, said: “Arts and culture are at the heart of what makes Reading tick but they have often passed un-noticed. Last year’s Reading Year of Culture started the process of putting them back at the heart of the town, making Reading a better place to live, work and do business. The Reading Cultural Awards will continue this momentum by providing a fabulous showcase for the breadth, quality and diversity of creativity in our town.”

The awards are open to everyone involved in the arts in Reading and will recognise excellence in arts and culture with awards in 12 categories to reflect the breadth of the Reading arts scene, including a Made in Reading award, Cultural Ambassador Award, Cultural Space award and Performance of the Year. Anyone can nominate an organisation, artists, venue or project through

The awards process will culminate in a glitzy awards evening at The Olympia Ballroom on Thursday 29 June.  Prianka Dillon the Managing Director of the Olympia Ballroom and The Banquet Kitchen (Catering) said:  “The arts and culture scene of any town represents the heart and spirit of that community; the Olympia Ballroom is absolutely delighted to play host to the celebration of the heart and spirit of Reading town, which we proudly call home!”

More information and enter online at . The deadline for entries is 12 May.

The 12 categories of The Reading Cultural Awards:-

The Made in Reading Award  – a ‘piece’ made by a Reading artist or artists. This could be a performance, visual arts piece or project created within Reading.

Reading Place of Culture Ambassador Award – sponsored by Reading UK CIC – an artistic endeavour that has promoted Reading’s talent or Reading as a cultural destination to a wider audience

Performance of the Year – music, theatre, dance… This performance will have caused ripples in Reading and been widely acclaimed. The performance must have taken place in Reading but does not necessarily need to have been Made in Reading

Visual arts event of the year – fine art, film, etc – the event will have been well regarded in Reading when it took place here but does not necessarily need to have been conceived in Reading

Cultural space of the year – dedicated arts venues, unusual spaces used for art….This award recognises the diversity of great places to enjoy and perform art and cultural activities in Reading.

Celebrating Reading’s Heritage Award – sponsored by The Olympia Ballroom and The Banquet Kitchen – a project or organisation that has raised the profile of Reading’s heritage.

Reading Arts and Business in Partnership  – demonstrating excellence in partnership working between business and arts organization(s)

Best Education Project – a project that shows the power of art and culture to engage young people and create high-quality artistic outputs.

Festival of the Year – a festival that engaged a broad community and raised Reading’s profile with high-quality content and a great festival experience

Young talent under 25 – an artist or group of artists that are displaying real talent and potential at a relatively young age.

Cultural Organisation of the Year – this organisation will have demonstrated consistently high standards in terms of output and engagement

Business innovation in the arts – a Reading arts or cultural project in which business has played a creative and innovative role


Reading UK CIC

Reading UK CIC is the economic development company for Reading. Part of the management group for Reading 2016, funder of the ARENA programme through our management of the BID and leading on the new Reading-on-Thames Festival, Reading UK CIC believe that arts, culture and heritage are at the heart of what makes Reading tick. Reading’s cultural identity plays an important role in making Reading an exciting place to work, live or do business.

The Olympia Ballroom

Located in the heart of Reading town centre on London Street, The Olympia Ballroom is one of the largest indoor venue hire locations in Berkshire. The conveniently central location, exquisite architecture and interior lends itself to corporate and private venue hire events. The main ballroom remains virtually unchanged to this day, with its original domed structure still intact.

The Ballroom is filled with history dating back to the 1700s. Through the 60s, many great well known bands played at The Olympia. Including bands such as The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Birds. Today, The Olympia Ballroom continues to attract the surrounding communities with the most impressive event hire space in Berkshire, available for Weddings, Corporate Events and Community Gatherings.