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Find out more about… Well Read Play Reading

Well Read Play Reading Poster

Play reading is a great opportunity to escape, get creative, explore characters and meet new people. Paul O’Mahony from The Playground Theatre explains how Well Read Play Reading works and shares feedback from attendees of the online sessions.

The Playground Theatre runs the Well Read programme. The premise is simple – we meet together to read plays and talk about them. Our actors run the sessions and introduce the play and hand out parts as we read, to ensure that everyone who wants to read gets the chance to. The plays we read vary enormously. We’ve read everything from Greek tragedy to modern farce but we always want to choose material that people will enjoy and can find accessible.

When did Well Read start?

Well Read started two years ago at St Charles – The Playground’s co-artistic director Anthony Biggs worked with One Community Project Lead Cate Latto to organise weekly play readings as part of their wider One Community programme. The sessions were enormously popular – we constantly heard from participants about how our sessions were a brilliant way to meet, have fun, and discuss ideas and themes without feeling the stress of making it personal. The various worlds we explored in the plays meant all participants could enjoy the experience.

What do attendees think of the online sessions?

After everything went into lockdown we felt the need for Well Read was even greater. These sessions are wonderful for helping to deal with issues connected with isolation which is what many of us are now coping with. We started our online groups six weeks ago and the response has been fantastic:

‘For an hour and half you are taken out of your same old lock-down surroundings and transported to the Highland moors, the crofter’s cottage, the London Palladium etc’

‘I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying these play reading sessions. It has made such a difference to the lockdown situation. I really look forward to Tuesdays and Fridays. It transports me away from all the worry and terrible news… I also love the variety, from old favourites such as Beckett to new playwrights who I’d never encountered.’

‘Amid this crisis, it’s great to have something so enjoyable and mentally stimulating to do. And while we are still stuck in our homes, it feels as though we have been out and enjoyed the company of others for a while. I’ve enjoyed all of the plays that we’ve read.’

Interested in attending a Well Read session?

Community Living Well offers Well Read as part of its Self-Care services. You can self-refer to the service using our online form.

Well Read runs every Tuesday at 2pm and every Friday at 11am on Zoom. Sessions usually last for 75 to 90 minutes. There is no pressure to read, so if you would rather just listen that’s absolutely fine. If you would like more information, you can email Paul O’Mahony at [email protected]

This story was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2020 Community Living Well magazine. It has been edited for website purposes. Subscribe today to receive mental health and wellbeing tips straight to your inbox, four times a year!

Refer to the Community Living Well service here.

Author: Michelle Jackson
Posted on: 2nd August 2020

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