An Introduction and a Word From Our Museums


Fiona Talkington, a white woman with cropped short blond hair, smiling with her arms crossed standing against a metal background.

Thinking, writing, speaking, listening, moving, listening again, sharing, believing, laughing, crying, crossing out, rewriting…bringing to life.

What a joy it’s been to work with a group of people from so many backgrounds, whose own languages fill the air with their own music. Working with a group is very much about creating a space which allows everyone to be themselves, to express something where maybe the opportunity hasn’t happened for them before. It’s exhilarating, and very moving to help people shape their stories and help to nudge their imaginations into new paths. This is no ordinary Audio Trail, but an invitation, beautifully crafted, to step into the shoes of others and listen to these amazing voices as they explore the lives of some of the fascinating objects so close to us in Reading’s museums.

- Fiona Talkington, BBC Radio 3 presenter, writer, and curator.

Items at Reading Museum convey the histories of local and global connections alike. Those in the Museum of English Rural Life welcome countryside narratives into an urban setting.

Both collections provide routes into understanding and becoming part of the story of Reading itself. Whether familiar or unfamiliar, active now or outmoded, to many visitors these objects and stories seem as pertinent to today’s conversations as they have ever been.

Rank & File’s actors have kindly shared their personal connections with a handful of these numerous artefacts. This reveals how the town’s museums can provide a safe space for their stories, just as the place itself serves as a welcoming city of sanctuary.

Jude Haste, a white woman lit against a black background, making an expressive gesture with her fingers.

Rank & File is a Theatre of Sanctuary founded in 2019 in Reading which grew out of a great love for people. We hope you enjoy the audio trail!


-Jude Haste, Artistic Director, Rank and File Theatre