The town of Reading (we shall not get into the long-standing local argument on whether it should be called a city) is famous for its beers, shopping and the campus community that has sprung up around the well-reputed Thomas Valley University and Reading University. Situated on the confluence of the meandering rivers Thames and Kennet, Reading comprises of the sprawling valleys and hilly views one is used to seeing on British holiday postcards. Indeed, the aesthetic landscape has made it part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As any settlement which enjoys the happy coincidental fortune of natural bounty, material wealth and a free-thinking young campus population, Reading is also known for its patronage of the arts, both visual and performance. Many well-loved performance venues and arts centres are peppered throughout the township, hosting live entertainment, music and dance concerts and amateur and professional productions.
The Hexagon is one such congregating point for theatre-lovers. Situated at the heart of Reading, the name of the venue is derived from its peculiar structure which comprises of sloping hexagonal roofs whose beams slant outward into pillars, giving it the appearance of a very large boxy tent. Its architectural design and state-of-the art acoustic system was considered ahead of its time when it was first built in 1977, causing the press to describe it as a “space age” venue. Despite its fame, the Hexagon theatre is small in size and seating capacity, which the theatre-goers will find an asset, as it creates an intimate ambience which makes the performances feel intense and personal. Ever since its first performance of The Gondoliers, the theatre has featured an exclusive programming selection of consistently high standard. This multi-purpose venue regularly stages a variety of live entertainment by some of the biggest names in national and international touring performance groups, from ballet to productions of the Royal Shakespeare Company to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
If you find yourself in a Reading hotel on business, the Hexagon is definitely worth catching a breather to have a look. For business travelers requiring luxury accommodation within the city centre, the Millennium Madejski Hotel Reading is an ideal choice.
Author: Pushpitha Wijesinghe