Play exploring cricketer’s migration story scoops Reading Cultural Awards prize10 July 2018
A play telling the story of how a boy who arrived in Reading from Barbados aged 14 went on to become one of the most successful cricketers in history has won a prize at the 2018 Reading Cultural Awards.
Being Gordon Greenidge was the result of a partnership between the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading, South Street Arts Centre, the Barbados and Friends Association of Reading (BAFA) and Reading School.
Performances in Reading School’s cricket pavilion to sell-out audiences helped it win the Made in Reading Award at the Reading Cultural Awards finals on 27 June at the Olympia Ballroom.
Being Gordon Greenidge is about West Indies and Hampshire batsman, Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge, and his intercultural experience, explored through cricket in the 1970s and 80s. Characters include a young Gordon Greenidge sharing his experiences and an older cricket fan reflecting on the era.
The development of the script drew on interviews arranged by BAFA with members of Reading’s Bajan community, some of which were presented to the audience at the beginning of the performance in a short film. South Street commissioned and creatively produced the play, while the Department of Film, Theatre and Television at the University developed it as a performance and produced the film of testimonies.
The partnership between the University and South Street Arts Centre is funded by Arts Council England and offers experience for students, outreach to new audiences for South Street and access to great art for Reading audiences.
Lucy Tyler, Lecturer in Performance Practices in Film, Theatre and Television, runs the project with South Street and was responsible for the development of Being Gordon Greenidge. She said: “We are delighted to have been able to generate a performance that connects so many different groups in Reading. It was wonderful to work closely with community members from BAFA and collaborators from South Street, namely John Luther, South Street’s artistic director, and Benedict Sandiford, who wrote the play. We will look forward to continuing our work together on future projects.”
The Reading Cultural Awards are organised by Reading UK and champion the creative work by organisations and artists in Reading.
Being Gordon Greenidge was also shortlisted in the Partnership of the Year category. Other finalists included:
- The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL) – Cultural Space of the Year
The MERL is based at University of Reading’s London Road campus and is dedicated to England’s rural history. It hosts a range of collections, including the world’s only permanent exhibition of Ladybird book artwork, and is currently for the first time is hosting a number of artist residencies.
- The Partnership Festival – Best Education Project
The festival is a collaboration between the University of Reading and local primary schools. It is an annual project introducing children to singing and classical music through free workshops and performances led by students at the University. Participants performed Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in the University’s Great Hall in March.
- Reading International – Visual Arts Event of the Year
Reading International is an art collaboration between the University of Reading and Reading Borough Council, funded by Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund. It seeks to bring world class art to Reading. The autumn programme in 2018 included an exhibition in Reading Museum dedicated to Oscar Wilde, workshops led by students, and projects in Reading Central Library and other venues in the town.
- Ben Pedley Memorial concert – Performance of the Year
The Music at Reading concert took place in March, in memory of University of Reading student Ben Pedley, who was killed in a road traffic accident a year earlier. Ben was a keen musician and the concert programme featured some of his favourite piano pieces, while also focusing on a theme of remembrance.