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.
2017 Awards entries are now closed. Finalists and 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

Finalists and nominations

We received over 350 nominations for the Reading Cultural Awards 2017. Below you will find a list of all the nominees by category headed by the entries that have been shortlisted as the finalists in each category.

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 of England – Reading Between The Lines
Pictures at our Exhibition – Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra / Jelly / Creative People
Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire
Walking Words – Jelly

Other Nominees
Ben Hur – Reading Rep
Cathy Newell Price, Jeweller
Feastival – Blue Collar Street Food
Fractures Entwined – University of Reading
Off the Block – Reading Between The Lines
Oscar Wilde on Trial – Reading Between The Lines
POD/Colony – Hogarth Productions
SEN Dance Club
The Engine Room
Two Rivers Press

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:

Bulmershe Ensemble
Henry I of England – Reading Between The Lines
Inside at Reading Prison – Artangel

Other Nominees
Beatroots – Readipop
Junction Music
Open for Art – Jelly
Oscar Wilde on Trial – Reading Between The Lines
Reading 2016 volunteers at Reading Station
Reading Abbey Revealed – Reading Museum
Suzanne Stallard

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 of England – Reading Between The Lines
Patti Smith reading De Profundis – Inside at Reading Prison by Artangel
Pictures at our Exhibition – Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra / Jelly / Creative People
Sundara Karma – Reading University Students Union
The Final Whistle at Madejski Stadium – SITELINES

Other Nominees
George The Poet
Handle with Care – Dante or Die / SITELINES
His Dark Materials – Progress Theatre
Oscar Wilde on Trial – Reading Between The Lines
Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire
The Flint Giant – Rising Sun Arts Centre
Time to Sing choir
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:

Inside at Reading Prison – Artangel
Open for Art – Jelly
Ray Atkins – Reading Museum
Unfinished Conversations – The Engine Room
Whiteknights Studio Trail

Other Nominees
Fired Terracotta – Studio > I <
Reading Bricks (part of Whiteknights Studio Trail) – James Birtwhistle Photography
Reading Contemporary Art Fair
Reading Foundation for Art
Spore exhibition – Jelly
Visit My Mosque – History Portal

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:

Caversham Court Gardens
Open Hand Open Space
Reading Prison
Rising Sun Art Centre
SITELINES – theatre in unusual spaces

Other Nominees
Oakford Social Club
Reading Film Theatre
Reading Libraries
South Street Arts Centre
Station Hill
St James Church

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:

Forward in Time – Real Time
From Barbados to Reading – Barbados Association
Hidden Abbey project
Reading Prison tours – National Trust
Simonds & Son – BBC Radio Berkshire

Other Nominees
Henry I – BBC Radio Berkshire
Henry I of England – Reading Between The Lines
Inside – Artangel
On Track – Reading Museum
Oscar Wilde on Trial – Reading Between The Lines
Reading Abbey Revealed project
Whitley Community Museum

Reading Arts and Business in Partnership

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

I Do – SITELINES / Dante or Die with Jacobs the Jewellers & Malmaison Hotel
On Track – Reading Museum with Resourcing Solutions

Other Nominees
Coralie Bickford Smith – Waterstones
Light Up Reading
Reading Fringe Festival
Reading Living Advent Calendar – Stanhope / Reading Rep
Reading Year of Culture
Revault – Annual Day Dream Harvest
Walking Words – Jelly

Best Education Project

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

Bulmershe Ensemble
Infamous – Berzerk Productions
ROOM – Jelly
University of Reading Art Lab

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

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:

Are You Listening?
Reading Fringe Festival

Other Nominees
An Audience With… (Reading 2016)
Bastille Day 2016
Double Dot Bash
East Reading Festival
Open for Art
Reading in Reading
Reading Pride

Young Talent – under 25

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

Alice Knight – Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
Bulmershe Ensemble
Georgia Knight – John Madejski Academy apprentice drama teacher
Hospital Food – Berzerk Productions
Queer Fish – Reading Rep

Other Nominees
Blue Collar Street Food
Fractures Entwined – University of Reading (Romaisa Waheed Bahatti)
Jak Ford Lane
Off the Block – Reading Between The Lines
Performed sound sculptures – University of Reading (Holly)
Pet NI & pet NZ – desperate for humanness – University of Reading (Oleksandra Radchenko)
Rock Academy Foundation
Starmaker Theatre Company
Taming of The Shrew – Reading Between The Lines
The Wedding Singer – Berkshire Theatre Company

Cultural Organisation of the Year

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

Beautiful Creatures
Reading Museum and Art Gallery
Real Time

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

Business Innovation in the Arts

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

Great British Bump Off – Hexagon & South Street with Warings Bakery
Interface – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Light Up Reading


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.