Reading council leader celebrates history of The Hexagon

In his final message to readers this year, councillor Jason Brock, the leader of Reading Borough Council, says there is still time to watch shows and enjoy festive cheer at The Hexagon, the town’s main theatre which turned 45 this year. Cllr Brock writes:

I hope everyone has had a peaceful and relaxing Christmas period so far.

The period between Christmas and New Year always seems a bit uninspiring to me. The big day is over, as are most of the family visits (sometimes fortunately), and there’s only so many times you can watch Back to the Future Part III on some obscure television channel.

If you are looking to fill the time, and you haven’t already caught it, don’t forget our annual panto at the Hexagon runs until January 2. Once again, children’s television star Justin Fletcher, alongside award-winning panto dame Paul Morse and a fantastic cast, are delivering the festive cheer in bucket-loads.

This year’s performance – “Jack and the Beanstalk” – is the twelfth in a long run of pantomime performances produced by the successful partnership of Reading’s Hexagon team and Imagine theatre. The Hexagon, though, has a much-longer lineage that that.

This year, our much-loved Hexagon Theatre is celebrating its 45th anniversary season. The iconic old building was completed and opened in 1977. Whether you love or hate the Brutalist architecture of the era, there is no denying that the unique hexagonal concrete theatre design is a stand-out in the Reading landscape.

No doubt many of you will have fond memories of “the Hex”, and maybe even of the snooker tournaments and wrestling which took place there back in the day. The theatre has certainly kept us all entertained over the years, with so many big-name singers, bands, comedians, and shows gracing its concrete-and-steel beauty.

We also have the honour of having the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as the Hexagon’s resident orchestra, who have been playing concerts at the venue since 1978. Indeed, the RPO launched its new Classical Music Alive season in November and returns to the Hexagon on March 25 and May 5, 2023. It comes highly recommended.

And watch this space into 2023 when, alongside our exciting programme of shows (including Dawn French, Diversity, and Strictly Ballroom), we’ll be hosting a Hex 45 exhibition, with photos and memorabilia from the venue’s illustrious past.

As well as reflecting on the past, we’ve also got big ambitions for transforming the Hexagon, with our aim being the addition of a new performance space and refurbishment of the main auditorium. We hope Reading families and residents will be enjoying shows and performances at the theatre for many years to come.

Finally, I should wish a happy and healthy new year to all Reading Chronicle readers. I’m off to see if they can get that DeLorean back to 1985… again.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre