It might be getting cold out there, but there’s still lots of hot events happening in Reading this month to keep you warm. Get involved in the best of Reading in October with our guide to the top events, film screenings, festivals and art exhibitions to check out in town. Look out for Black History Month, the return of Reading Film Theatre, Meat Feast, Henry II from Reading Between the Lines, Oxjam, Halloween parties and a lot of comedy events.
The best events in Reading in October 2018
Black History Month
All month, various venues, find out more
This month-long festival celebrating African and Caribbean communities in Reading features film screenings, spoken word events, music and drama. At South Street Arts Centre see Senagalese musician Diabel Cissokho (20 Oct, £15), or catch the Magic of Mowtown at The Hexagon (18 Oct, £29.50). The Windrush 70th Anniversary Celebration (13 Oct, £12) is a family festival day featuring poetry, performance and workshops reflecting on the impact the Caribbean-born British citizens who travelled aboard the Empire Windrush have had on Britain.
Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club
Saturday 6 October, 10pm, Sub89, £15.50, book tickets
As well as being my favourite smeghead, Craig Charles is also a good funk and soul DJ with a radio show on 6 Music. He tours the UK with his Funk and Soul Club, exploring the roots of black music and club sounds. They’re always fun, busy club nights and support comes from Reading’s own soul DJ legend Jim B Donovan.
Lunchtime organ recital
Monday 8 October, 1pm, Concert Hall, £5, book tickets
This is a rare opportunity to see the magnificent Concert Hall organ in action at this lunchtime performance, supported by Berkshire Organists’ Association. The 45 minute programme includes Bach, Mendelssohn, Rheinberger, Karg-Elert, Clark and Mushel.
Monday 8 – Sunday 27 October, Minster of St Mary The Virgin Church, £22, book tickets
Locally-born theatre company Reading Between the Lines continue to impress with their innovative dramas inspired by Reading’s medieval history. After Henry I and Matilda the Empress, the final chapter in their Conquerors trilogy is Henry II, which focuses on Matilda’s son and husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine. It’s much anticipated and this time has a three week run. The venue oozes history too – St Mary’s Church was originally built with stone from the demolished Reading Abbey.
Thursday 9 October, 8pm, South Street Arts Centre, £13, book tickets
The comical Hijinx Theatre have partnered with the UK’s leading clown company, Spymonkey to present this uproarious tale of a court case in Paris, circa 1657. A wife takes her flop of an aristocratic husband to court for impotence (which was illegal then, don’t you know?). There’s live music, large wigs and rude humour. What’s not to like?
Wednesday 10 – Saturday 13 October, 7.45pm, Progress Theatre, £12, book tickets
WriteFest is now in its 13th year, and features an evening of short plays and a showcase of new writing at local theatre, Progress. Productions include: The Midnight Snack by Dan Clarke, Four Meals by Paul Houghton, Weight of Words by Emily Goode, EKHO by Erica Evans, Anything I Can Do by Bethan Perkins, You’re Nicked! by Jenny Williams and Dog on a Beach by John R. Goodman.
Thursday 11 October – Sunday 14 October, 11am-10pm, Reading Abbey Ruins, free entry
Reading’s biggest, boldest street food company, Blue Collar, return for another of their fun weekend food festivals. This time it’s all about that meat with a host of carnivorous food traders taking over the Abbey Ruins, including the delicious Sear Street Kitchen, Peru Sabor, Hott Mess Burgers and Mexican Odyssey. There’s also a bar, fire pits and a seat inside a slice of history. Look out for a Meat Feast guide coming soon.
Reginald D Hunter
Thursday 11 October, from 6.45pm, Just the Tonic, £18, book tickets
Just the Tonic is the small comedy club above Popworld on Friar Street, the one that used to be Jongleurs. It’s commonly home to line ups of upcoming comics performing to stag parties and work leaving dos. But over the next couple of months, they’ve got a tour of big-name, TV-famous comedians to do special sets in their intimate venues across the country. In October, it’s deep-voiced, QI panelist Reginald D Hunter headlining after three other new standups. Next month sees Milton Jones and Phil Jupitus come to Reading as part of the same tour.
Oktoberfest at Station Hill
Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 October, general admission free, beer and bratwurst packages from £10, book tickets
Embrace the oompah, lederhosen and Bavarian brews at the Station Hill Oktoberfest space from the team behind Casa de Bacardi. There’ll be steins of beer, bratwurst a-plenty and a live band.
Thursday 11 October, 7.45pm, Reading Film Theatre, £8, book tickets
Reading Film Theatre at the University are back with another season of excellent independent, international and must see films. October presents Spike Lee’s latest drama, the true story of the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who sets out to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.
Oxjam Reading takeover
Saturday 13 October, all day, across town, £10, book tickets
Our local instalment of national charity music festival Oxjam is back for another one day bonanza. The line up includes Sister Ray, Who Killed Nancy Johnson?, Romances, Kill Committee and The Keep Cats among 70 other Reading bands playing across eight Reading venues all in aid of Oxfam.
Honest Boozy Brunch
Sunday 14 October, 11am, Honest Burgers £25, book tickets
The Honest Burgers bottomless brunch returns after a number of months away. Choose one brunch dish from the full English, a brunch burger, avocado on toast, bubble and squeak and more. On the side you get 90 minutes of unlimited drinks from a choice of prosecco, bloody Marys, Frontier lager, or a couple of cocktails. It’s a jolly, cheery atmosphere and there’ll also be a DJ keeping things bumping along all afternoon.
Vertigo Film and Fizz screening
Sunday 14 October, 2.30pm, The Roseate Hotel, £36.50, book tickets
Nibble on a delicate afternoon tea with champagne followed by private vintage film screening of Hitchcock’s best film (well, it’s my favourite, anyway) in the Roseate Hotel’s luxury cinema and its sumptuous leather seats.
Reading International Festival
Monday 15 – Tuesday 31 Oct, RISC and Global Cafe, read more
Reading International Solidarity Centre host two weeks of events focusing on international communities in Reading, as well as what we could be doing to improve the world around us. A lot of it is relevant if you’re even vaguely interested in the dreaded B-word and countries beyond our borders. Talk topics include Borders: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Europe: A Promise of Peace. There’s also film screenings, dance classes and a Greenpeace Halloween Pirate Party.
Comedy at Milk
Tuesday 16 October, 8pm, Milk, £5, book tickets
The best value comedy night in Reading returns with Dave Johns, the star of heartbreaking film ‘I, Daniel Blake’. He’s also a comedian and he headlines here on top of a bill with Brett Goldstein, from Drifters, and Andrew Bird, who’s supported Michael Mcintyre on tour. All that or only a fiver!
Beer and Cheese matching
Wednesday 17 October, 6.30pm,West Berkshire Brewery Taproom, £25, book tickets
Two of our favorite Reading indie businesses partner up this month for one fun foodie event. West Berks Brewery bring the beer while Grumpy Goat bring the cheese and they’ll be talking you through six pairings along with cheese and beer knowledge and a tour of the brewery as well. Limited spaces available.
Wednesday 17 October, 7.30pm, Hexagon Theatre, £17, book tickets
Were you born to hand jive, baby? Then don your leather jacket, dance in the aisles and sing along to classic flick Grease. Dressing as your inner T-Bird or Pink Lady is encouraged.
Saturday 20 October, 7.30pm, The Great Hall, University of Reading London Road, £12, book tickets
Soak in a beautiful bit of music in a beautiful surrounding as local, high quality, non-professional orchestra The Aldworth Philharmonic present Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, with support from Reading University singers. if you’re a classical concert virgin, and aren’t sure if it’s for you, they also offer a limited number of complimentary tickets for you to experience the music for free.
Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 October, 7.30pm, Reading Rep Theatre, £14, book tickets
Setting during the height of American Civil Rights Movement, Katori Hall’s sharp and swift play follows Martin Luther King Jnr on his last night before his assassination. It won an Olivier Award when it debuted in the West End and Samuel L Jackson played the lead when it transferred to Broadway last year. Here we see the cast from the Young Vic touring the play at Reading Rep Theatre. A must-see drama in a local theatre.
Readipop’s 20th Anniversary
Friday 26 October, 7pm, South Street Arts Centre,£10, book tickets
Celebrate 20 years of Reading’s community music charity Readipop with this packed gig line up, featuring Rowetta from the Happy Mondays with local acts including Vienna Ditto, Ray Wills, the Ady Baker Sound and more.
Saturday 27 October, 11am-4pm, Station Hill
Ethic Collective’s monthly vegan market at Station Hill includes vegan street food stalls,baked goodies to take home, vegan cheeses as well as beauty products more from local ethical start-ups.
Twin Sun Halloween
Saturday 27 October, Oakford Social Club, free
Reading’s fun, indie-disco band Twin Sun go all ghoulish for a special fright night party at The Oakford. They’ll play a full live gig followed by a DJ set from London:s Heavenly Recordings going late into the witching hour.
Nosferatu screened with a live soundtrack
Wednesday 31 October, 7.30pm, South Street Arts Centre, £10, book tickets.
Get ghoulish this Halloween with regular alt music night Darklands, who present a screening of the original silent vampire flick ‘Nosferatu’ with a live, spine-tingling soundtrack accompaniment from band Year of the Kite.
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.