The Cotswold pianist in residence who's played keys for Mel C and Sophie Ellis-Bextor

One of the top destinations for cocktails in the Cotswolds, piano bar nights at Cirencester's Téatro can go from attentive listening to 'dancing round the tables' pretty quickly! SoGlos catches up with resident pianist Steven Reid Williams to talk requests, reading the room and getting the party started.

By Jake Chown  |  Published
Pianist in residence at Téatro, Steven Reid Williams, has played keyboards for the likes of Jamelia, Leo Sayer and Lulu.

From reflective ballads to all-out bangers, there are songs to match every vibe at Téatro Bar and Restaurant's increasingly popular piano bar on Friday and Saturday nights.

Resident pianist Steven Reid Williams — a professional musician who has toured with some proper pop legends  and a rolling schedule of guests know just how to create the perfect atmosphere, whether you're up and dancing or sitting back and enjoying the music.

SoGlos chats to Steven about his high-flying career and what guests can expect when they visit.

Steven, you’ve come to Téatro with huge experience as a professional musician – tell us about your career.

Thank you. Well, I started out as many musicians do, playing small pubs and clubs with various bands for not much money! But those are the important ‘cutting your teeth’ years. How things really kicked off after that is slightly crazy!

On one occasion about 20 years ago I trekked to London to play a small gig at the now famous ‘The Bedford’ in Balham with an artist called Beth Rowley. There were a few acts on that night but one of the other bands, called ‘Riccardi’, particularly stood out for me. After the gig we all got chatting and realised we were very much musical kindred spirits.

Those guys went on to become the backing band for Jamelia and one random night about a year later I got a call out of the blue from them, asking me if I could step in on keyboards for a gig that was due to happen the very next day in Kazakhstan playing for the president! So, I said ‘yes, I guess so!’ and quickly got to learning Jamelia’s entire set before racing to Heathrow without any sleep, to get on a plane to Astana.

Anyway, long story short, I somehow got through the gig and from then on, I was the permanent keyboard player. As these things often do, that led on to playing keyboards for various other artists including Melanie C, Rebecca Ferguson, Lulu, Nadine Coyle, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and lots of others.

Right now, I’m playing for Paul Young and Leo Sayer. Then alongside all the touring and session work I’ve been doing what most singing pianists do; playing private functions, weddings and of course, piano bars.

How long have you been in residence at Téatro and how have you found it so far?

I’ve been the resident piano-vocalist at Téatro since it opened back in 2017. Since then, I’ve watched it steadily grow and grow alongside the restaurant and theatre parts of the business. The staff and management are all amazing and they are continually invested in making the place a success.

Watching the music nights become busier and busier to the point where recently it has been tough fitting everyone in has given everyone a great deal of satisfaction. It’s nice to see everyone’s hard work paying off.

As a musician I feel super valued and appreciated at Téatro. It is a fantastic place to work, and I feel very lucky to have a regular gig like this; especially so close to where I live. It goes without saying that Covid was a challenging time for all venues, but the way Téatro leaned into it with their outdoor expansion has really paid off.

Talk us through your typical performance at the Piano Bar – what can guests expect?

Well, no two performances are the same really. We kick off at 9pm and the evening can go any number of ways depending on the crowd. I like to interact with the audience quite a bit and pull people into the performance so that they are a participant in the evening and not just an observer.

Of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, so I am always respectful of those who just want to enjoy the music as background. It’s all about reading the room really. I take a lot of pride in singing and piano playing so whether it’s a quiet, reflective song or an all-out banger, I’m always doing my best to make sure it’s as musical as it can possibly be.

How do you go about putting together your set for Piano Bar nights – and do you take requests?

I’m quite unusual in the sense that I rarely plan my sets in advance. I have hundreds and hundreds of songs that I can pick from and as I said before, I try to go with songs that will suit the ‘vibe’ at the time. You’ll often find me trying out new material at the beginning of the night as this is a nice way to warm things up.

As for requests, absolutely! Taking requests has become a key feature of my nights at Téatro. During Covid when we had restrictions in place and people couldn’t approach the piano, I designed a system whereby guests could scan a QR code at their tables and request songs directly from their phone to mine.

Since then, the system has stuck! I think people enjoy getting involved without having to shout out or leave their seats. They can choose a song from my online list or try their luck with a song I’ve never done before. I’ll often have a go! Of course, some people prefer to do it ‘old-school’ by shouting them out, and I still take requests this way too.

How would you describe the atmosphere at Téatro on Piano Bar nights?

On a typical night, it can go from respectfully attentive to dancing round the tables pretty quickly! If people want to get up and move, then I like to make that happen. There’s usually a lot of singing along and a lot of humour too. I also love it when I have a room full of people who are all just listening to the music. It can become like a mini concert sometimes. That’s the thing about Téatro; you never know which way it’s going to go. I feel it’s my job to be ready for anything.

Have you had residencies elsewhere before Téatro and if so, how do they compare?

I have had many, yes. My approach to entertaining people has always been the same, so I’ve had many great nights in other places, but there is something really special about Téatro. It’s obviously an aesthetically beautiful place, and the food and drinks are top notch, but there is something about the way all those elements come together that helps to create a unique experience for customers and for the musicians.

Finally, what is your favourite kind of music – and song – to play live?

This is almost impossible to answer because it’s often the latest song I’ve learned to play that is the most fun for me. My most requested song, by far, is ‘Walking In Memphis’. I think the fact that I still love playing it despite how often it crops up says something about how incredible that song is.

Recently, a young guy asked me if I could play ‘Sailing’. His father had recently passed away and it had been his favourite song. I performed it as best I could, and I could see how much it meant to him. I guess that’s my favourite kind of music.

For an up-to-date schedule of performers for Téatro's piano bar nights, visit

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