Arts Council England Invest £100,000 in RABBLE’s Next Production, Henry I

December 5, 2022

RABBLE Theatre are pleased to announce that Arts Council England are investing £100,000 into their production of Henry I staged inside the notable Reading Abbey Ruins.

Accompanying the play will be RABBLE’s inaugural ‘Finding Reading’ Festival; an education project with 52 local community groups, schools and organisations. RABBLE’s unique participatory educational experience sees 700 people participating to create work based upon the play’s diverse themes of gender equality, unjust war, forgiveness and the position that Reading played in medieval England.

“It’s wonderful to see that so many people will have the opportunity to participate in this exciting new educational project by RABBLE Theatre. Arts, culture and creativity have a vital role in empowering people – giving us the opportunity to discover our history and explore challenging themes, as well as helping us to feel a sense of pride in the places where we live and work. We’re pleased to be able to support this exciting project thanks to National Lottery players.” Peter Heslip, South East Director, Arts Council England.

Henry I will be staged between 13th June – 1st July 2023 inside the Abbey, founded by King Henry in 1121 “for my sins”, above where his body lies.

Louise Gilmour, RABBLE Theatre’s chair of Trustees:
“This funding is a major boost, not just for RABBLE but for Reading which continues to grow, culturally. We’re extremely grateful to Arts Council England for the grant and excited to be a part of their bold strategy to empower communities and build cultural identity.”

RABBLE’s vision is to give everyone the confidence to say “This is My Home” and their award-winning historical season is integral to that, championing forgotten women of history as they do.

Originally created in 2015 to critical acclaim (“Henry I leads the charge to crown Reading as a cultural hotspot”, The Guardian), the resonance of the play in today’s world is hard to ignore:

Dani Davies, Executive Director of RABBLE Theatre
“With all that is going on in our delicate world, and as the mother of three girls, this play feels deeply relevant. It tells the story of forgotten women whilst also exploring the effect of violence perpetrated by those in power. I’m delighted that ACE are supporting RABBLE once again.”

Directed by the company’s Associate Director, Hal Chambers (RSC, Hull Truck, Eastern Angles), designed by Sarah Jane Booth and with associate movement director Gareth Taylor (Barbican, National Portrait Gallery, EA Games), the play will be the most ambitious in the pioneering company’s decade of producing work. The original soundtrack, composed by DJ and Electronic Composer Benjamin Hudson and classically trained Rosalind Steele, will be refreshed by the innovative pair, ready for the majestic outdoor setting.

More details, such as tickets, job opportunities, work experience, volunteer opportunities and other ways that you can get involved with the company, will be released by RABBLE in the coming weeks.

Arts Council England