River Stories: Reading-on-Thames Festival
On 17th September we lit up the River Thames in a huge celebration of fire, light and pyrotechnics for the inaugural Reading-on-Thames Festival.
Our origins and heritage were founded on water with the UK’s first ever touring theatre ship, so it comes as no surprise that we have a natural affinity with all things aquatic and nautical.
Over the past 25 years we’ve helped a diverse range of cultural organisations and communities, both in the UK and internationally, celebrate important civic or historical moments by using the dramatic possibilities of water.
“Water, with all its dramatic possibilities, has helped us create unforgettable spectacle, whether it’s just a small-scale production in a tiny harbour or an epic piece on a vast expanse of river.” Liz Pugh, Co-Founder and Creative Producer
The Reading-on-Thames new arts and cultural festival was born out of momentum for Readings Year of Culture in 2016 and aimed to place Readings waterways back at the heart of the town whilst marking its historical significance to the city of Reading.
Inspired by local folklore traditions and the ecology of the river we worked together with 30 performers from Reading Arts College and four fantastic volunteers from Rising Sun Arts Centre to create a theatrical finale performance named River Stories. Our new fire-breathing river monster made a spectacular debut, illuminating the waters in a multi-sensory show of 21,000 colour changing lights, alongside a four-meter-high sparkling swan and fire-work bursting glow fish that attracted an audience of over 1500 on the river banks of Caversham Court Gardens.