The inaugural Reading Cultural Awards will celebrate the
best artistic and cultural events, organisations and artists in
Reading and the important role that arts and culture play in
making Reading a great place to live, work and do business.
Entries for the 2017 Awards are now closed. All nominations
are listed below. Book your tickets for the awards ceremony

Sponsored by:

Celebrating Reading

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

Who can enter?

Sponsored by Reading UK CIC and The Olympia Ballroom, the awards are open to everyone involved in the arts in Reading and will recognise excellence in arts and culture. The awards process will culminate in a glitzy awards evening at The Olympia Ballroom on Thursday 29 June.

How to enter

The awards will be presented in 12 categories (see list below) reflecting the breadth of the Reading arts scene. There is a simple nomination process with an extended deadline of 18 May. A shortlist will be published in late May. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 29 June. Shortlisted and winning entries will appear in a special awards brochure.


Entries open – 6 April
Entries closed – 18 May
Shortlist announced – late May
Awards ceremony at The Olympia Ballroom – 29 June


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:

Henry I – Reading Between The Lines
Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire
Pictures at our Exhibition – Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra / jelly / Creative People
Walking Words – jelly
Feastival – Blue Collar Street Food
Cathy Newell Price, Jeweller
SEN Dance Club
Fractures Entwined – University of Reading
Ben Hur – Reading Rep
The Trials of Oscar Wilde – Reading Between The Lines
The Engine Room
Two Rivers Press
POD/Colony – Hogarth Productions
Reading Between The Lines – Off The Block

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:

Junction Music
Bulmershe Ensemble
Trials of Oscar Wilde – Reading Between The Lines
Reading 2016 volunteers at Reading Station
Henry I – Reading Between The Lines
Inside – Artangel
Suzanne Stallard
Beatroots – Readipop
Open for Art – jelly
Reading Abbey Revealed – Reading Museum

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:

Henry I – Reading Between The Lines
Handle with Care – Dante or Die / SITELINES
Trials of Oscar Wilde – Reading Between The Lines
George The Poet
Sundara Karma at RUSU
Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire
His Dark Materials – Progress Theatre
Time to Sing choir
The Final Whistle – SITELINES
The Flint Giant – Rising Sun Arts Centre
Mahler concert – Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
Patti Smith – Inside
Walking Holding – SITELINES

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:

Whiteknights Studio Trail
Inside – Artangel at Reading Prison
Open for Art – jelly
Visit My Mosque – History Portal
Ray Atkins – Reading Museum
Reading Foundation for Art
Spore exhibition – jelly
Fired Terracotta - Studio>I<
Reading Contemporary Art Fair
Unfinished Conversations – The Engine Room
Reading Bricks (part of Whiteknights Studio Trail) – James Birtwhistle Photography

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:

Open Hand Open Space
Rising Sun Art Centre
St James Church
South Street Arts Centre
Reading Prison
Reading Film Theatre
SITELINES – theatre in unusual spaces
Station Hill
Caversham Court Gardens
Oakford Social Club
Reading Libraries

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:

From Barbados to Reading – Barbados Association
Trials of Oscar Wilde – Reading Between The Lines
Henry I – Reading Between The Lines
Reading Prison tours – National Trust
Reading Abbey Revealed project
Hidden Abbey project
Henry I – BBC Radio Berkshire
Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire
Whitley Community Museum
Inside – Artangel
On Track – Reading Museum
Forward in Time – Real Time

Reading Arts and Business in Partnership

Demonstrating excellence in partnership working between business and arts organisation(s):

Light Up Reading
Haslams Estate Agent / Art Scope Gallery
I Do – Jacobs the Jewellers
On Track – Reading Museum
Reading Year of Culture
Walking Words – jelly
Reading Living Advent Calendar – Stanhope / Reading Rep
Coralie Bickford Smith – Waterstones
Revault – Annual Day Dream Harvest
Reading Fringe Festival

Best Education Project

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

Reading Rep / Red Balloon
University of Reading Art Lab
Great Art Quest – Reading Museum
Taming of The Shrew – Reading Between The Lines
Highdown School – Back to the 80s
Infamous – Berzerk Productions
Readipop Festival Arts Award
Beautiful Creatures
Bulmershe Ensemble
ROOM – jelly
Düsseldorf Link – John Madejski Academy
The Wedding Singer – Berkshire Theatre Company
Diversity – Reading Fringe Festival
Progress Youth Theatre
University of Reading Universal Voices
Tales of the Deep – Becci Louise

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:

Bastille Day 2016
An Audience With…
Are You Listening?
East Reading Festival
Double Dot Bash
Reading in Reading
Open for Art
Reading Pride
Reading Fringe Festival

Young Talent – under 25

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

Jak Ford Lane
Bulmershe Ensemble
Queer Fish – Reading Rep
Rock Academy Foundation
Fractures Entwined – University of Reading (Romaisa Waheed Bahatti)
Starmaker Theatre Company
Pet NI & pet NZ – desperate for humanness – University of Reading (Oleksandra Radchenko)
Taming of The Shrew – Reading Between The Lines
Hospital Food – Berzerk Productions
Off the Block – Reading Between The Lines
The Wedding Singer – Berkshire Theatre Company
Blue Collar Street Food
Alice Knight
John Madejski Academy apprentice drama teacher – Georgia Knight
Performed sound sculptures – University of Reading (Holly)

Cultural Organisation of the Year

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

All Jazzed Up
Bastille Day
Poets Café
READ College
Reading Rep
John Madejski Academy Performing Arts
Reading Museum and Art Gallery
Reading Between The Lines
Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
Real Time
Beautiful Creatures
Museum of English Rural Life
Tamesis Chamber Choir
Culture Mix Arts
Reading Fringe Festival
Whiteknights Studio Trail
Reading Bach Choir
Dolly and the Clothes Pegs

Business Innovation in the Arts

A Reading arts or cultural project in which business has played a creative and innovative role:

Light Up Reading
Great British Bump Off – Warings Bakery
Interface – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre


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. More information at

The Reading Chronicle

The Reading Chronicle is Reading’s only weekly newspaper providing all the latest news, sport, jobs and announcements about Reading in print every Thursday and online at The Chronicle also publishes a weekly free paper, The Reading Midweek on Wednesdays and the monthly glossy free lifestyle magazine #’Reading.

Awards ceremony

Book your tickets for the awards ceremony on Thursday 29 June
at The Olympia Ballroom.