Reading Gaol at Theatre N16

Friday 6 July 2018

London Fringe - Shows

London Fringe theatre company Proforca present Reading Gaol, an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's final work, at Theatre N16 from 23 July.
Reading Gaol at Theatre N16

Image: Proforca Theatre Company

Riding high from the critical success of their show Feel, which recently ran at the King's Head Theatre, Lion and Unicorn Theatre and successful stints in Hertford and Coventry, Proforca Theatre Company return with a challenging new staging of Oscar Wilde's ballad, remixed with 5 new pieces of writing to tell the stories of 5 men's oppression, incarceration and hope.

Reading Gaol plays at Theatre N16 from 23 July to 2 August 2018.

In this adaptation, the original text of the ballad is combined with new voices, storytelling and physical theatre to create a much darker, more confrontational, visceral and thought-provoking piece: an exploration of the deprivation of liberty experienced by prisoners at the turn of the Century.

The show itself is a series of pieces, written by a diverse team of writers, that elucidate the various different voices and themes in Wilde's work.

Originally staged by Proforca in 2017, Reading Gaol has now been expanded into the challenging new performance space at Theatre N16, with the show being performed in traverse.

This will offer a truly unique take on Oscar Wilde, and an eye-opening contrast to other Oscar Wilde productions that are rarely explored immersively.

Reading Gaol explores oppression, censorship and conformity in our increasingly conservative society, from the grime of Victorian England to the forests of Africa and back.

Proforca Theatre Company's mission is to create great theatre performances which challenge, confront and engage audiences.

Artistic Director David Brady says ...

"After receiving critical and audience acclaim for both Feel and Feel/More, we are delighted that our adventure for both of these shows now continues into our new production.

All of our work showcases the amazing acting talent from early stage actors, as well as really fierce new writers with a point of view we are pleased to champion.

We're also thrilled to be able to present Reading Gaol in a fantastic new space at Theatre N16, which serves as a busy but brilliant climax to a fantastic six months for the company."


The Ballad of Reading Gaol was the poet and writer Oscar Wilde's final work.

From celebrated playwright and society figure to a broken man dying in exile in Paris, Reading Gaol is a heartrending exploration of the deprivation of liberty, a spectacular fall from grace and a soul-searching quest to hold onto the shreds of humanity during one man's darkest hour.

This adaptation of Reading Gaol uses the power and grotesque beauty of Wilde's words to tell the story of the punishment and deprivation experienced by prisoners at the turn of the century in direct contrast to the wit and triviality of some of his comedic work.

Featuring Wilde's original poem about the execution of a convicted solider remixed with five brand new pieces of writing and physical theatre commissioned for this production, we plunge headlong into the abyss of incarceration, despair and hope experienced by five prisoners in one of England's most notorious jails.

From the grime of Victorian England to the Forests of Africa and back, this production tells a story which goes from the depths of one man's black heart to the brightest hopes of another in a hopeless quest for salvation.


Author: Oscar Wilde, Catrin Keeler, James Lewis, Simon Marshall, Erin Read
Director: David Brady
Production: Proforca Theatre Company


Theatre N16
5 Ashley Road
N17 9LJ


From: Monday 23 July 2018

Closed: Thursday 2 August 2018


Standard: £14

Concessions: £11


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Reading Gaol
Proforca Theatre Company

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