Spring is arriving in Reading and it’s bringing heaps of events with it, along with longer days and more sun, hopefully! March is a packed month in Reading with celebrations for Pancake Day, St Patrick’s Day, International Women’s Day, British Science Week and the Reading Half Marathon. That’s on top of a bumper list of foodie events, gigs, comedy, theatre, films, art walks and markets.
Make the most of the month with Explore Reading’s guide to the best things to do in Reading in March 2019.
Events in Reading this month
Free Palmer Park BBQ
Sunday 3 March, 12-4pm, Palmer Park Lodge, free, register to attend.
In March, Tutu Melaku from Tutu’s Ethiopian Table opens her new cafe at the Palmer Park Lodge. To celebrate she’s throwing a free BBQ for the public with burgers and vegan options available. You have to register by 1 March, so act fast. Find out more about the Tutu’s Ethiopian Table opening.
Reading Indie Urban Market
Sunday 3 March, 11am-4pm, Upstairs at Brewdog, Free entry, read more
Browse for quirky arts, crafts and things for the home at Reading’s indie makers market, which brings together stalls of independent artists and crafters from Reading. There’ll be prints, bags, jewellery, grooming products and more.
Visit my Mosque Open Day
Sunday 3 March, 12.30-4.30pm, Abu Bakr Islamic Centre, Oxford Road, Free. Read more.
The Oxford Road mosque is opening its doors to the public to help us get to know and understand our local Muslim community. It’s part of a national campaign by the Muslim Council of Britain across 250 mosques in the UK. The day will include guided tours, prayer demonstrations, talks from families and the wider community who attend the mosque. There’ll also be refreshments and snacks.
Launchpad Pancake Race
Tuesday 5 March, 12.30pm, Broad Street, free, read more
Watch teams from Reading’s local businesses take part in this annual charity fancy dress pancake race through Broad Street. The businesses make donations and there’ll be fundraising buckets for the public. All the funds go to help to support people at risk of becoming homeless in Reading.
Want to eat pancakes? Find out where to get pancakes in Reading.
Thursday 7 – Saturday 9th March, various times, Fox & Hounds Caversham, free entry, read more
The Fox becomes The Vixen for one weekend in celebration of International Women’s Day. On the Thursday our World Cup Pub winner launch their special Double-Barrelled collaboration ale brewed by the female members of the Fox team and Double-Barrelled’s Luci Clayton-Jones. Friday night has DJ sets from Caversham’s Claire Ford, Jenni Rolls, Tasha KP and Rachael Crisp who runs the You Were Right About Mick Hucknall nights. Saturday has live music from Amya Ray and more to be announced.
Donations from the event will go to Berkshire Women’s Aid and The Red Box Project – who work to ensure that all women have access to free menstrual products.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Jennifer Pike
Saturday 9 March, 7.30pm, The Hexagon, £17 – £28, buy tickets
Acclaimed British violinist and BBC Young Musician of the Year Jennifer Pike joins the always impressive Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Anu Tali conducts a programme of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.3, Symphony No.8 from Dvorak and Karelia Suite from Sibelius. There’s also a free pre-concert talk in the Hexagon auditorium at 6.30pm.
Reading Science Week
Saturday 9 – Saturday 16 March, various venues, see more event details.
Part of British Science Week, there’s over 20 local events organised by the Reading Branch of the British Science Association. Talks include the family-friendly ‘Why Are Plants Smelly?’ at the beautiful Harris Gardens on Sunday 10 March, 12pm and ‘In a piece of Chalk’ about palaeontology and fossils on Wednesday 13 March, 7.30pm at Smokin’ Billy’s.
On Monday 11 March, 7.30pm, there’s a fun look at the Science of Superheroes at The Outlook. Crunch Comics join scientists to explore the potential science behind the powers of superheroes such as Red Bee (a human/insect hybrid) and Chunk (everything he eats gets moved to an alternate dimension). This one’s £2 and you have to book in advance.
More hands on is the Weather Rescue Hack-A-Thon (Saturday 16 March 1pm & 3pm) where you can work with the University of Reading’s Meteorology Department on climate data.
You can also get a tour of the wind turbine at Green Park on Sunday 17 March, 11am and if you’re already full of scientific general knowledge, test your brain power at the Oakford Pub Quiz takeover on Monday 11 March, 8pm. See the full Science Week event line up.
A Doll’s House
Monday 11 – Saturday 16 March, 7.45pm, Progress Theatre, £12, buy tickets.
Reading’s excellent community theatre Progress present Henrik Ibsen’s dark thriller of a play about Nora, the 1870s Norwegian wife and mother whose life begins to unravel.
Monday 11 March, 7.30pm, The Hexagon, £37, buy tickets
Not really my cup of tea this, but given that good ol’ Shaky was the most successful UK singles chart performer of the 80s, I’m probably in the minority. The platinum-selling singer performs fan favourites such as ‘Oh Julie’, ‘Hot Dog’ and ‘This Ole House’ along with newer tracks from his 2016 album Echoes of Our Times.
Tuesday 12 March, 7.45pm, Reading Film Theatre, £8, buy tickets
If you missed the shock Academy Award Best Picture winner at one of the big budget cinemas, catch it this month Reading’s independent film theatre instead. For me, the film making is heavy-handed, in a deliberate ‘pull on your heart strings’ way. But the story is thought provoking and Oscar-winner Mahersahala Ali is incredibly strong in his standout performance as pianist Dr Don Shirley. See all films at Reading Film Theatre.
Ian McMillan & Luke Carver Goss: Between You And Me
Wednesday 13 March, South Street, 7.30pm, £14.50, buy tickets
‘The Bard of Barnsley’ Ian McMillan joins Olympic composer Luke Carver Goss for a night of hilarious poetry and storytelling. It will feature songs, stories and a musical created out of thin air.
St. Patrick’s Shenanigans
Saturday March 16, 6pm, Fidget & Bob, Kennet Island, Free, but register online.
One half of the team behind Fidget & Bob is Irish, so it’s not a big surprise they’re celebrating St Patrick’s Day. They’re having a céilí with a live Irish band and will be serving baby Guinness shots, soda bread and lots of potatoes. And if that’s not enough, Irish food and drink will be served all weekend, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sage Reading Half Marathon
Sunday 17 March, 10.15am, Green Park, See website.
Head to the Reading Half Marathon route to cheer on all the local runners making their way around 13.1 miles of Reading. Last year’s event was cancelled due to snow, (imagine that with the weather we’re having this year!) but 2019 will see around 10,000 runners make their way around the route. It starts at Green Park, heads up to the university campus, through town, over to Prospect Park at the far west and then back to finish up to Madejski Stadium. There’s still some runner slots open too, so if you’re trained enough to run at short notice, you can sign up here.
Repair Cafe at Coley Park
Sunday 17 March, 12.30-4.30pm, Coley Park Community Centre, Wensley Road, free, but donations welcome.
Got any broken items at home that you’re thinking of replacing? Well, don’t buy a new one, save your money, and the environment, and get it fixed at Reading’s Repair Cafe.
Volunteers can help you fix: electronics, mechanical items, computers, toys, furniture, clothing and textiles. They can even do tool sharpening and show you how to repair things next time.Plus there’s tea and homemade cake on offer too. Email [email protected] with questions or to volunteer.
The 39 Steps
Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23 March, 7.45pm, Shinfield Players Theatre, £12, buy tickets.
Director Adam Wells turns Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller into a madcap, fast-paced comedy with four actors playing over 130 roles in over 50 locations, including that plummet off the Forth Bridge – all at the community theatre off Whitley Wood Lane.
Wednesday 20 March, 8pm, South Street, £11-£13, buy tickets.
Status is a Brexit show that isn’t a Brexit show. South Street’s programme director John Luther saw this at Edinburgh Festival last summer and couldn’t wait to bring it to the Reading stage. Written by Chris Thorpe, and presented by China Plate Theatre (who brought the breathtaking On the Exhale to South Street last July), Status is about someone who doesn’t want his nationality any more. It’s described as ‘a globe-spanning journey of attempted escape, with songs along the way’.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Thursday 21 March, 7.45pm, Reading Film Theatre, £8, buy tickets
This Oscar-nominated caustically witty, low-key heist movie stars Melissa McCarthy in a dowdy dramatic role and Richard E Grant in Withnail high spirits. It’s nigh on impossible to catch at Reading’s multiplexes. Grab your chance to see it at our independent cinema instead. See all films at Reading Film Theatre.
Banff Mountain Film Festival March 2019
Thursday 21 March, 7.30pm, The Hexagon, £14-£16, buy tickets
A one day film festival of short documentaries focused around mountaineering, action adventure and death defying stunts. Films include This Mountain Life which follows Martina and her 60-year-old mum who embark on a six month ski traverse from Vancouver to Alaska, and How to Run 100 Miles about ultra marathon runner Jayson Sime – because who wants to run 13 miles around Reading when you can do Colorado’s epic 100-mile Run Rabbit Run?
Thursday 21 March, 6.30pm, Work.Life, £10, buy tickets.
Reading’s digital creative meetup returns after over a year away. In Reading it’s organised by local tech-evangelists Louize Clarke and Antonia Taylor, but Glug is a global concept started in East London in 2007. It’s a kind of informal TEDx for a younger, more relaxed, tech-focused crowd. I used to attend their events back in 2016 (before Explore existed in fact) and they were always buzzing, popular and full of people wanting to build a bit of a creative start up scene in Reading. Often they have Reading talent take the mic, but talks for the kick off event come from Gordon Reid of London-based art agency Middle Boop and 2D animator Ben Skinner from Cub Studio.
West Reading Window Wanderland 2019
Friday 22 – Sunday 24 March, all day, around Oxford Road, free, find out more
This is a lovely event to get people exploring their neighbourhood, bringing a bit of cheer to our weekend and maybe even getting neighbours talking to each other. Oxford Road Timebank organised a successful mini-trail around the Waverley Road area at Christmas. This spring they are expanding it to ask schools, shops, pubs, businesses and homes in the West Reading area to decorate their windows with art works, light displays, tissue paper creations, whatever they think of. Then get out exploring and take in the art. You can also join the discussion group and get involved on the Facebook page.
WILD by Laura Mugridge & Katie Villa
Wednesday 27 March, 8pm, South Street, £10-£12, buy tickets.
Laura Mugridge is a delightfully whimsical story-teller, comic and performer who brought her interactive walking theatre piece ‘Up, Down and Along’ to the Reading on Thames Festival last year. She’s partnered with Katie Villa, who is co-artistic director of Theatre Rush to co-found The Birth Project, which explores the notion that we might be telling the wrong stories about birth. Together they have interviewed mothers, women and birth professionals to capture as many birth stories as possible to present in this show. WILD is described as “part riot, part disco, part rite of passage. Expect comedy, music, loudness, bold talking and glitter.”
They also like to highlight beforehand that the show contains references to birth, trauma & post-natal illness.
Thursday 28 March, 7.30pm, Face Bar, £10, buy tickets
If you like your music on the heavier side of life, see Kerrang’s Best British Newcomer of 2018 bring their melodic vocal hooks and driving guitar riffs to Face Bar. Support comes from Manchester’s Parting Gift and Reading’s own Veridan.
Club Velocity’s 16th Birthday
Friday 29 March, 8pm, Rising Sun Arts Centre, £5, buy tickets
Celebrate 16 years of Reading’s long-running ‘punk in attitude’ gig night at its regular home on Silver Street. Heading up the birthday party is charming indie-folk duo The August List. They’re supported by Horserock, who do ‘surf rock n roll punk for the masses’ and brand new kids on the block Ameli, who currently only have one song out there in public. Plus there’ll be birthday cake.
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.