Independent theatre in search for new home

An independent theatre group has said it has to leave the Grade II listed building that its performed in since 2021.

Rabble Theatre was welcomed to Caversham Stables by Reading Borough Council however it has been unable fund the necessary restoration work for the space.

Approximately £1m is needed to make the building legally habitable, Rabble Theatre said.

The council said it will "do its best to help Rabble Theatre relocate to affordable premises".

'No longer viable'

The theatre said it is grateful to the council for allowing it to use the building.

Emma Lawrence, general manager for the group said: "Like most arts organisations in Reading, working with Rabble Theatre requires us to have a rather nomadic lifestyle."

She added: "Our performances have been rehearsed in empty offices, empty buildings, in churches, in pubs, an old school hall and a hotel restaurant."

The group believed the timeline for fundraising would take two to five years.

Ms Lawrence said that this was deemed "no longer viable, so we will be homeless again".

Reading Borough Council said: “The council is in the process of preparing for the possible sale or lease of the former Caversham Stables under an arrangement which would both meet its obligations to obtain best value, and ensure the future upkeep of this listed building.

“In the meantime, it is the current intention that Rabble Theatre will continue in occupation under the existing agreement.

“Alongside the theatre’s own property search, the council will do its best to help Rabble Theatre relocate to affordable premises.”

Rabble Theatre started performing in 2012 and has been supported by high profile figures like Kate Winslet.

In 2022 it received a £100,000 grant from Arts Council England and in June 2023 it ran a production of Henry I inside the ruins of Reading Abbey.

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