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Dame Harriet Walter, Jade Anouka, Esther Smith and More to Star in OTHELLO ReadThrough Performance

The reading will be immediately followed by a Q&A with the cast.

Dame Harriet Walter, Jade Anouka, Esther Smith and More to Star in OTHELLO ReadThrough Performance

Dame Harriet Walter (Killing Eve, Succession, Sense and Sensibility), Jade Anouka (His Dark Materials, Small Axe), Guy Paul (Patrick Melrose, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Remmie Milner (His Dark Materials, Save Me Too) and Esther Smith (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Palace Theatre & Apple TV+'s Trying) are among the cast for the next live ReadThrough performance at 4.30pm on Friday 7th May, bringing to life William Shakespeare's Othello free to watch for all school-age students across the UK.

The special guest actors join ReadThrough regular cast members Alasdair Buchan (An Inspector Calls, UK tour, Richard III, West End) and Edward Franklin (Valhalla, Netflix & Shakespeare In Love, Noel Coward Theatre), with the performance directed by award-winning director Hannah Price.

The reading will be immediately followed by a Q&A with the cast, and schools wishing to sign up should visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/othello-tickets-151831928385. The questions for the Q&A will be student and teacher led - if you would like to submit questions on behalf of your pupils please email them to hello@wearereadthrough.com.

Dame Harriet Walter said: "Books are to be read but plays are to be performed. The written text of a play is the playwright's guide to performance. Shakespeare would be amazed that we still had his words written down today and had to study them academically. We learn by doing and, hopefully, also by watching and getting involved in the characters and stories of a play. I hope ReadThrough will not only help lift the plays off the page but also (very important) inspire students to try sounding out the words, acting out the parts among themselves. That way the experience means something personal and the intellectual understanding follows from that".

ReadThrough said: "Othello is a well-studied text for English A Level, and ReadThrough aims to reach all interested English A Level students, as well as encouraging English GCSE students keen to expand their Shakespearian knowledge and especially those who will begin their English A Level course next academic year. We are thrilled to be bringing Dame Harriet Walter and Jade Anouka together for this reading of Othello, which we know will be electric and not to be missed."

ReadThrough was set up by a group of professionals from television, film and theatre and launched in February, offering online play readings and school workshops designed to improve the comprehension of exam-body English plays for students across the UK, with a particular focus on students from less privileged backgrounds.

ReadThrough will work with schools across the country to offer full readings of curriculum texts, performed live via digital platforms for as many students as possible, using professional actors and directors. The organisation also offers bespoke workshop sessions where they can take over English/Drama lessons and concentrate on a selection of scenes with the students that are performed, dissected and discussed, and there is the additional possibility for students to read in for parts. The team have been running bespoke workshops for schools across the UK in recent weeks, many of which have been provided for free to schools, which has been made possible by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on both education and the arts. Whilst the UK has been in lockdown many students have struggled to study at home and any access that previously existed to live, in-person learning, either at a theatre or via theatre-in-education, has been impeded. ReadThrough is built on the belief that seeing a story brought to life enriches the learning process and gives far greater insight into themes, context and characters within the text. The team behind ReadThrough have seen first-hand how the live reading and discussion of exam texts can enhance students' understanding of curriculum texts and enrich their learning experience, and live readings performed online provide all students with access to first-class cast and performances to enhance their studies.

Even outside of the pandemic, theatre can be inaccessible to some and ReadThrough wants to help level the playing field regardless of a school or student's personal circumstances, supporting their progress in English, Drama and other relevant studies.

Already a number of high-profile figures from across the industry have voiced their support for ReadThrough, including Dame Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Simon Callow, Amma Asante, Youssef Kerkour, and Shazad Latif. On the launch of ReadThrough, Dame Emma Thompson said: 'As remote learning has become a necessity of our current situation, I can think of no better or more engaging use of it than what ReadThrough are doing. With this in mind, I whole-heartedly endorse ReadThrough's mission - that if schools can't go to the theatre, then they will bring the theatre to them, regardless of the school they attend or the part of the country they live in.' Stephen Fry added: 'Sometimes you hear about an idea and you find the only correct response is to smack your forehead. Of course! ReadThrough is just such a winner of an idea. Please do everything you can to help us all make ReadThrough a living reality.' Amma Asante commented: 'I'm delighted to voice my support for ReadThrough, a fantastic idea that can hopefully help inspire students without access to theatre and live performance. I know from my own childhood how vital it is to see texts brought to life by readings and performance, and I sincerely hope ReadThrough will offer young people a way to enjoy and better comprehend the texts they're studying.'

ReadThrough received an initial tranche of funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, which allows them to offer their workshop services to some of the most disadvantaged comprehensive schools for free. They also recently raised a further £10,000 via a Kickstarter campaign, but fundraising efforts continue, and all money raised goes directly into offering more workshops to schools and students that need it. This nationwide ReadThrough of Othello has been generously supported by Peter Beavan and the donation means that this reading is completely free to all students to access across the UK.


Schools can sign up for the live Readthrough of Othello on 7th May by going to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/othello-tickets-151831928385


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