New Reading indie cinema & community hub opens today

A new community hub for Reading’s Broad Street Mall, Reading Biscuit Factory from Really Local Group, has today opened its doors, having originally been earmarked for a summer 2020 launch.

A former Argos store, the 14,000 sq ft multi-use venue is home to: a three-screen independent cinema and event space, bar, food kiosks, coffee shop, live performance space and community hub.

What’s all this about biscuits? Joseph Huntley was selling biscuits to travellers making the journey from Reading to Bath or London as early as 1822; he invented the biscuit tin to help prevent breakages on the journey.

Joseph Huntley’s small bakery eventually grew into Huntley & Palmers, the largest employer in Reading, and by 1900 it was the world’s largest biscuit company. The vast factory earned Reading the appropriate nickname of the 'Biscuit Town'.

To kickstart the cinema programme, Reading Biscuit Factory will screen a range of blockbusters and award-winning independent titles - 'films that people will generally have to travel to London to see' - including Nomadland, Sumer of Soul, Limbo, Another Round, I Never Cry and Deerskin.

A range of special events will also mark the opening, including NT Live, ballet and opera screenings, a locally-run comedy club and much more.

Reading Biscuit Factory’s membership offers a number of perks including three free cinema tickets throughout the year, peak-time tickets at off-peak prices, 10% off food and drinks in the venue, no booking fees and a three month free trial with MUBI (screening service).

Whether you want to host a private cast & crew screening, a day-long conference or a private event, Reading Biscuit Factory’s spaces and cinema screens are also available for private hire.

Last February, pioneering high street regeneration developer and operator Really Local Group, signed a deal with Moorgarth, owners of Reading’s Broad Street Mall, to deliver on a long-held ambition to re-imagine the centre this summer. Reading Biscuit Factory marks the second venue opening from Really Local Group.

Reading’s community were asked to help select the name of the venue, a testament to Really Local Group’s commitment to genuine community engagement. Consultation is at the heart of their venue portfolio.

Preston Benson, Founder of Really Local Group, commented, “After nearly four years and three lockdowns, we are proud to launch the Reading Biscuit Factory at Broad Street Mall.

'We can’t wait to show the residents of Reading and the surrounding communities our beautiful venue, as well as share more details around our exciting cultural programme. There will be something for everyone at Reading Biscuit Factory!”

Designed by Wren Architecture the space, which was once a dark box space, has been repurposed and reshaped into a bright welcoming social and community hotspot - an injection of positivity for a post pandemic future all about gathering, meeting, entertainment and creativity.

Reading Biscuit Factory will be open from 9am each day for those who want to meet over a cup of coffee. The first film screenings will usually start from around 11am, and the last around 8.30pm. The venue will generally close at 11.30pm, unless there is a special event (or a very long final film!).