Walking Words


Nine Walking Words panels have been commissioned by Muse Development as part of the redevelopment of Chatham Place. The installation of this new public art commission is being celebrated through 
a programme of nine events during 2016 as part of Reading’s Year of Culture. These events – involving local artists, arts organisations and art practices – are themed around the stories told on the panels.

Working with arts organisations, performers, artists, musicians, writers, poets and a baker the sequence of events will take you on a journey across the town centre and beyond revealing Reading’s historical past whilst working with it’s creative future. From specially commissioned music to night time walks to secret places, from baked biscuits to Reading’s dark secrets, a boat, a cannon and a European footpath, come and join us on the journey.

ww-event-squares-1Call of the Bells

Ceremonial bells and plaintive voices will ring out in celebration of Reading’s ancient Greyfriar’s Church, once home to Franciscan monks. Experience the vibrant resonance of Beautiful Creatures’ giant suspended chimes, the only instrument of their design in the world, with accompanying specially commissioned composition and cloister of choral voices.

The performance comprises of (or consists of/encompasses) short ‘movements’ that can be experienced individually or as a whole over the course of 20 mins

Friday 22 January Town Hall Square 1pm.

ww-event-squares-2Capturing the Hidden Reading

Mark O’Neill photographs under the streets of Reading. You are invited to join him on a late night walk, following the trail of the Holy Brook. Sharing the places he knows so well, Mark will allow you to see Reading in a different light.

Bring along cameras or smartphones to capture what you see along the way.

The walk and talk will last approximately one hour – wrap up warm.

Saturday 23 January Depart Reading Town Hall, 10.15pm FULLY BOOKED

ww-event-squares-3Wilde Shadows

As part of the launch of Nine Walking Words Panels, you are invited to come and see Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Selfish Giant’ brought to life with shadow puppets!

Nature Nurture CIC has joined forces with local actor and theatre Director Benedict Sandiford to bring you this magical little family-friendly evening show. The puppets are inspired by artwork created by local children.

For more information on nature nurture and their wild projects, please visit  www.nature-nurture.co.uk

Wednesday 27 January Chestnut Walk 7pm FULLY BOOKED

ww-event-squares-4From Stranraer to Nice

Reading Scottish Pipe Band’s roots stretch from Stranraer and involve performances across Europe, including Nice – the two ends of the E2 long-distance footpath which passes through Reading over the Horseshoe Bridge. They will be performing various Scottish, English and French pieces reflecting the length of the path. There will be an opportunity to ‘have a go’ and find out more about joining a new youth band.

A one-hour performance beside the Kennet.

Thursday 28 January Oracle Riverside 1.30pm

ww-event-squares-5Echoes of Caversham Court

Hear the forgotten voices of a long-lost theatre company echoing through the gardens. With a map and audio equipment, take a secret journey immersed in classical and contemporary poetry and monologues chosen to reflect the locations. Sit under the bower of an old yew tree, walk by the river or shelter in the gazebo, wrapped in the echoes of words once spoken on this historic site.

Individual promenade performances take 15–20 minutes, 8 people at a time.

Monday 1 February Caversham Court Gardens – Church Road Reading, 12 noon

ww-event-squares-6Taking the biscuit

Join local talented young baker Martha Collison at a special afternoon tea. She will be baking biscuits inspired by the story of Huntley and Palmers. Over tea she will be sharing these biscuits with ex Huntley and Palmers employees and Reading residents, who in turn will share their stories and memories.

Martha was a quarter-finalist in The Great British Bake Off 2014, and is now Waitrose Weekend’s baking expert and columnist.

Malmaison is the oldest surviving station hotel in the world, built in 1844

Tuesday 2 February Malmaison, 18-20 Station Road Reading, 1pm FULLY BOOKED


Inspired by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, an eccentric, kinetic steam locomotivesque machine on wheels created by the Annual Daydream Harvest will be taken on a short journey from Reading Station, arriving at Chatham Place with bangs, whistles and bells. Follow the story of Brunel and ‘the inconvenient station’.

Process with the wheeled steam machine from Reading Station to Chatham Place.

Monday 8 February Reading Station, 12 noon  Rescheduled for Thursday 18 February due to bad weather on original date. The piece is a promenade piece starting at Station Hill 12 noon, leading to Chatham Place where the Walking Words finale begins at 2pm

ww-event-squares-8Reading: a much maligned town

A light-hearted romp through Reading’s grimy years with AF Harrold and fellow Two Rivers Press poets and authors.

This event will include extracts from newspaper reports about the crime-ridden back-to-backs at Somerset Place, quotes from Reading’s unimpressed visitors over the years and the performance of a song about the notorious Reading baby murderer, Amelia Dyer.

Friday 12 February Haslams Estate Agents – 159 Friar Street Reading 7pm


Experience the energy of an immersive sound and movement performance as you are wrapped within the rolling thunder of ancient cannons that move and spin around you. Standing in the heart of the new Chatham Place development, relive the arrival of a historic boat in Reading, to the roar and roll of cannons in this 360° surround-sound promenade experience.

See the new Walking Words panels in situ.

Thursday 18 February Chatham Place 2pm


A free commemorative map celebrating the panels will be available at all events or downloadable at jelly.org.uk/walking-words

Walking Words events are curated by Jelly, with support from Two Rivers Press, The Design Works, Haslams, The Oracle Reading, Malmaison, Reading Year of Culture 2016, Reading UK CIC and Reading Borough Council.

With thanks to the artists and creators

Sally Castle, Ian Rogers, Beautiful Creatures, Mark O’Neill, Nature Nurture, Scottish Pipe Band, The Annual Daydream Harvest, Martha Collison, Ben Sandiford, AF Harrold and fellow Two Rivers Press poets and authors, and Salvo Toscano.

The events are supported by funding from Arts Council England, Reading Year of Culture 2016 and Muse Developments.

RDG 2016 partner horizontal rgb

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