9 October, 2014
Whether it's a night at the theatre or an afternoon sampling wine, Wokingham has plenty to offer when it comes to art and culture all year round. With a real focus on celebrating the town's cache of talented artists and performers, there really is something for everyone. Permanent venues, combined with a packed calendar of annual community events, mean that it's easy to fill a whole year with activities. Here are just some of Wokingham's cultural highlights...
Spring welcomes in Cultural Month for Wokingham, bringing with it arts and cultural events every day. The festival celebrates the wealth and variety of groups in the area - promoting everything from book clubs to live music and family fun days.
May also sees the launch of Sunny Saturdays in the Market Place. Running every Saturday from May through to September, this is a chance to enjoy local performers in the great outdoors. Acts that have played in previous years include bands, choral groups, children's entertainers and soloists.
Two weeks in July and August see the Wokingham Art Society's annual summer exhibition. A rolling event that allows art collectors to take away purchases on the day, the exhibition showcases paintings, ceramics, jewellery and cards from local artists.
The popular Wokingham Festival takes place in August, celebrating food, drink, beer and live music. Growing year on year, the festival is now one of the biggest events in the calendar for residents. Visitors can sample food and drink products from across the county, watch demonstrations and enjoy live music. Last year the event raised money for charity though art auctions and an innovative 'Paint Jam' collaboration between local street artists.
September sees the Wokingham Arts Trail, where artists, both amateur and professional, showcase their art for one weekend. The trail provides an opportunity to view art in an array of mediums and discover local artists by visiting their homes, studios and temporary art spaces. All the venues are within walking distance of the town centre.
In the run up to Christmas the town centre comes alive. Shoppers can enjoy free live performances from local performers every evening. Taking place at a different venue each evening, all around the town centre, the shows start at 6pm. The Living Advent Calendar runs from Dec 1 right up until Christmas Eve. Each performance lasts 15 minutes and charitable collections raise money for several named charities.
The Cultural Partnership: More Arts is an independent arts development charity which champions art in all forms in Wokingham and the wider area. The website offers extensive listings of upcoming events with everything from music, film and theatre to art history, creative arts and photography. The charity also organises pop up gallery exhibitions.
For lovers of performance art, the Wokingham Theatre offers an array of productions. This thriving amateur dramatic group present eight main shows a year, with many other 'extra' shows slotted in between. It also runs a popular youth theatre for children as young as six.
For those who enjoy a spot of handmade shopping or art collecting the TG Art Gallery in the town centre and the Holme Grange craft centre just outside of the town provide a wonderful selection of unique finds. Many of the workshops at Holme Grange also offer hands on classes in a variety of crafts, including pottery painting, pasta making and the wonders of metal clay jewellery.