Reading’s Hexagon Theatre celebrates its 45th Anniversary

Reading’s much-loved theatre, The Hexagon, is celebrating its 45th Anniversary season.

Children’s television star Justin Fletcher, award-winning panto dame Paul Morse and the cast of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ joined in the anniversary celebrations with a Gala Performance of the theatre’s flagship pantomime.

‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is the twelfth in a long run of magical pantomime performances produced by the successful partnership of Reading’s Hexagon team and Imagine theatre. The partnership began with ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in 2010 and has been delighting Christmas audiences ever since.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hexagon’s resident orchestra, celebrated the anniversary of their partnership with the Hexagon with a concert. The orchestra, which has been playing concerts at the venue since 1978, launched a new Classical Music Alive season in November. The orchestra returns to the Hexagon on 25 March and 5 May 2023.

The celebrations will continue into 2023 with a ‘Hexabition’ exploring memorabilia from the Hexagon’s past and limited-edition Hex 45 merchandise will be available for purchase.

The iconic building was built in 1977 by Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall (RMJM) in the Brutalist style of modernist architecture. It opened in the same year and the very first production was the Gondoliers presented by local group the Sainsbury Singers.

Reading’s Hexagon theatre has kept us entertained over the years with big-name comedians, singers, spectacular musicals, hilarious pantomimes and exquisite classical concerts - and even snooker and wrestling back in the day! It’s not just about the big names though, local amateur, community and youth groups have always been at the heart of the Hexagon. Many future stars began their careers performing here including Kate Winslet, Christian Bale and our very own Hexagon panto star, Justin Fletcher.

Some of the notable performances and personalities it has featured over the years include:

  • 1970s: Morecambe and Wise, Frankie Howerd, Whitesnake, Billy Connolly, Quentin Crisp.
  • 1980s: Victoria Wood, Nana Mouskouri, The Smiths, The Cure, Cilla Black, David Essex, Ben E King, Chaka Khan, French and Saunders.
  • 1990s: Chuck Berry, Newman and Baddiel, Norman Wisdom, Kenneth Branagh and James Brown.
  • 2000s: Joan Rivers, The League of Gentlemen, Dinner Ladies, Tim Minchin, The Saturdays, Cabaret, McFly, Rik Mayall in the New Statesman and Peter Kay.
  • 2010s: Goldfrapp, Stephen Merchant, La Roux, The Amazons, Diversity, Kaiser Chiefs, Noel Fielding and Paloma Faith.
  • 2020s: Sarah Millican, Stars of Strictly, Mo Gilligan, Laura Marling, John Bishop, Omid Djalili, Nish Kumar and We Will Rock You.

Find out more about the Hexagon’s current programme of events.