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Posted in Theatre on June 13, 2009 by readperformances



Read Performances, a new wave in Read Theatre

Historical Background

Since the 20th Century, particularly in Europe, theatre scholars, directors and actors have been showing a strong interest toward a wider participation of the audience to the performance offered by actors who act reading the script, relying mainly on their craft rather than scenic aids, re-establishing a connection with classic theatre and developing a new, vibrant one with contemporary theatre.

This fashion of read theatre had spread already in ancient Rome, starting from the Emperor Augustus.

Emperor Hadrian (117-138 ad) even had a small theatre specially built, the Athenaeum, destined to acted readings, which included a proper stage from which actors, or the authors themselves, would enact their works, and proper seats for a paying audience who were given tickets (codicilli) and programmes (libelli).


The aim of Read Performances is to revive a different way and pleasure in experiencing theatre, through engaging directly with authors, directors, actors, performers, designers and audience in a more intimate way.

It follows old European theatrical traditions, ranging from the ancestral story telling, to giants of the calibre of Moliere, in France, and Pirandello, in Italy, only to mention a few.

The objective of Read Performances is to promote theatre to a wider audience, involving the community at large, offering opportunities to individuals involved in live performance to develop their skills through less expensive productions than at present, creating a base for a close collaboration between established professionals in the various areas of theatre and young soaring talents.

Read Performances will establish an intermediate step between readings and full productions, performing rehearsed plays on stage in front of a paying audience, thus being considered as theatre experience.

In a Read Performance the actors recite an interpreted reading of the script, emotionally charged, offering a new listening experience based primarily on the verbal content of the play.

Read Performances may involve one or more actors, with a limited aid of lighting, multimedia, music, dance and live sound effect. A concept, which will allow for the development of more affordable theatre productions offering the opportunity to playwrights, dramaturges, directors, actors, performers, dancers, choreographers, costume, set, sound and lighting designers, multimedia gurus and technicians to bring on stage new contemporary works, as well as classics, too expensive to be produced otherwise. This will also allow to open the theatre doors to a wider audience, offering a more accessible ticket cost.