Reading’s newest theatre is about to embark on a wild Goose Chase in a bid to get children into the Christmas spirit.
On Monday, December 1, the St Bart’s Theatre will stage its second show – Goose Chase. Suitable for children aged five upwards, the hour-long show is a startling reworking on a traditional Russian folk story that blends laughter, excitement and carols for a special Christmas show.
Set in the midst of a dark Russian winter, the play follows frail old Babushka as she makes an epic trek across snowy lands, armed only with a feather duster and a set of Russian dolls.
What drives her? Is it the whispers of revolution, fuelled by Igor the oppressed singer and stable hand? Or could it be the birth of a harmless baby, the one that’s got king Herod in a really foul temper?
Whatever the reason, the closer Babushka gets to the end of her mission, the more it seems the only person she can trust is, well, a goose… because not everyone racing to find the baby is bringing gifts…
The play is being staged by Riding Lights Theatre Company, who performed Fantastic Acts!, the opening show at St Bart’s Theatre, on Saturday, November 9, to a full house.
St Bart’s Theatre is an exciting new project that aims to breathe new life into St Bartholomew’s Church in east Reading. The space is flexible, making it suitable for performing in the round as well as in stage rows.
The organisers are already in collaboration with Stage-Fright theatre community, Reading Between the Lines, Reading Hexagon and the Church of England as they seek to make the space a success.
St Bart’s Theatre Director Michael Johnson said: “This is a progressive step for St Bart’s. The church is looking to use its building in new and creative ways to attract all kinds of people, regardless of any religious commitment. It’s a development which promises a vast range of collaborative opportunities.”
Other local groups will also be getting involved, including Reading Between The Lines, which is planning a performance of Much Ado About Nothing in February and Beautiful Creatures, who performed The Fortress to great acclaim at last year’s Caversham Festival.
“We’re also talking to the University of Reading’s art department and schools in the area to see what we can do together,” Michael added.
“We are starting to build a programme of professional touring companies as well as producing new shows with two resident companies. We will also be offering activities and events for the local community.
“We look forward to developing new opportunities with a range of artists, both locally and further afield.”
It’s not just Babushka who’s on a determined quest … and St Bart’s hopes you’ll join them.
Goose Chase will be performed at St Bartholomew’s Church on Monday, December 1 from 6.30pm for an hour. Tickets cost £7 or £3 for children. For tickets call 0118 931 3740.
For more on St Bart’s Theatre, visit its Facebook page.