The Reading Cultural Awards, which celebrate the best of Reading’s
artistic and cultural scene, have announced their 38 finalists –
the events, organisations and artists that have made Reading
such a great place to live, work and do business over the past 12 months.

Organised by Reading UK, the Reading Cultural Awards champion
the many great organisations and artists that put their creative hearts
and souls into Reading.

Full list of the finalists below




The judging

We received almost 600 nominations for the 2018 Awards. Thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate their favourite arts, culture or heritage activity of 2017/2018. Our panel of 12 judges have now assessed the entries and we are delighted to share the shortlist for each of the 12 categories.


The 2018 Awards recognise cultural events that took place in the Greater Reading area between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018.

Awards ceremony

The 2018 Reading Cultural Awards will be presented at a glitzy awards ceremony at the historic Olympia Ballroom on Wednesday 27 June. Tickets for the ceremony can be bought here.

Finalists 2017/18

Reading Place of Culture Ambassador Award

An artist or artistic endeavour that has promoted Reading’s talent or Reading as a cultural destination to a wider audience beyond the town.

Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra (RASPO)
Reading Scottish Pipe Band
Reading Between The Lines theatre company

Sponsored by

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.

Reading Carnival
Are You Listening?
Reading on Thames festival

Sponsored by

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.

Matilda the Empress, Reading Between the Lines
Schumann at the Station, Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
Alby the Penguin Saves Christmas, Reading Rep, Jelly & Reading Libraries
Ben Pedley Memorial Concert

Sponsored by

Celebrating Reading’s Heritage Award

A project or organisation that has raised the profile of Reading’s heritage.

The Shady Side of Town, Reading Tree Wardens and Two Rivers Press
Lillies for Oscar Wilde, Reading Museum, Jelly, Reading Guild of Artists, Two Rivers Press, Haslams, Cherubs Floral Design, Friends of Reading Museum
Reading Museum / Reading Abbey Quarter

Sponsored by

Young Talent of the Year – under 25

An artist or group of artists that are displaying real talent and potential at a relatively young age.

John Madejski Academy (Performing Arts)
Reading Rep
Calum Cromwell

Sponsored by

Cultural Space of the Year

Dedicated arts venue or unusual space used for art….This award recognises the diversity of great places to enjoy and perform art and cultural activities in Reading.

Rising Sun Arts Centre
Museum of English Rural Life
The Oracle Shopping Centre

Sponsored by

Partnership of the Year

Demonstrating excellence in partnership working, this could be businesses working with arts organisation(s) or arts partnerships, education etc.

Zap Magazine, Rising Sun Arts Centre, Real Time Video, Spectrum Arts, Neile Wright, Our Time Video, Move Up project
Alby the Penguin Saves Christmas, Reading Libraries, Reading Rep, Oxford Playhouse, Jelly and Reading College
Being Gordon Greenidge, South Street Arts Centre, Department of Film, Theatre & Television at University of Reading, the Barbados and Friends Association of Reading (BAFA) and Reading School

Sponsored by

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 made in Reading.

Whiteknights Studio Trail
Reading International
Open for Art

Sponsored by

Cultural Organisation of the Year

This organisation will have demonstrated consistently high standards in terms of output and engagement.

Reading Between the Lines theatre company
Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
Rising Sun Arts Centre

Sponsored by

Best Education Project

A project that shows the power of art and culture to engage young people and create high-quality artistic outputs.

The Partnership Festival, University of Reading
Around the World in 80 Washing Lines, Mahlia Amatina
John Madejski Academy

Sponsored by

The Made in Reading Award

A ‘piece’ made by a Reading artist or artists. This could be a performance, visual arts piece or project but must be created within Reading.

Being Gordon Greenidge, South Street Arts Centre & Benedict Sandiford
Lillies for Oscar Wilde, Reading Museum, Jelly, Reading Guild of Artists, Two Rivers Press, Haslams, Cherubs Floral Design, Friends of Reading Museum
Forgotten Heritage, Matthew Emmett

Sponsored by

Business Champion of the Arts

A business which has played a major contribution in supporting and developing the arts in Reading.

Broad Street Mall
Reading Buses
Oracle Shopping Centre

Sponsored by

Awards timeline

Nominations open – 16 February
Awards ceremony tickets on sale – 16 February
Deadline for entries – 20 April
Shortlist announced – 24 May
Awards ceremony – 27 June

Book a place at the Awards Ceremony

The Olympia Ballroom, London Street, Reading

Wednesday 27 June 2018, 6pm

The Reading Cultural Awards take place at the fabulous Olympia Ballroom.

Tickets for this event, which will be hosted by BBC Radio Berkshire’s Bridgitte Tetteh and include a stunning three course dinner, are on sale now.

Book your individual ticket or a table of 10 here.


Reading UK

Reading UK 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 the creator of the new Reading-on-Thames Festival, Reading UK 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. More information at