What is it?

‘Well Read’ is a weekly play reading group led by The Playground Theatre that is open to anyone in the community. ‘Well Read’ started at the St. Charles Mental Health Units in 2018 where it has had a tremendous impact on the participants. It continues to run every week there.

All are welcome, no experience is necessary, just curiosity and a willingness to try something new and fun and to play some amazing characters.

What is it like?

Each week a different play, or piece of drama, is read aloud, led by an experienced theatre practitioner from The Playground Theatre. At the beginning of each session, the leader will welcome everyone, explain the format to new people, hand out scripts and give some background information on that week’s play.

Has it been done before?

Over the past year, hundreds of people have experienced our group. People have enjoyed the social aspects; meeting new people in a fun environment, seeing confidence and concentration grow, enjoying a humanizing experience and being inspired by ideas and themes in the plays. It is from this success that we are now launching ‘Well Read’ as a community project at SMART.

What do people say?

“The group changed the way I felt from before I took part; I felt I had experienced something that was very special and profound. It was fun and imaginative, one of my best days; all were inspired by reading a play together”

– Participant of Well Read, St Charles, 2018.

‘Reading plays and speaking them allowed has been done for thousands of years. It is a basic humanizing experience, which can be fantastic in a world of increasing isolation and dehumanization. Sometimes our circumstances dictate that we feel judged, monitored, frustrated or fearful. Reading characters and drama aloud is none of these things. It isn’t about ‘being good’ or ‘reading well’. When playing a character we can express ourselves in different ways and can say things you would not in real life! It is a fantastic way to bond with other people. I have seen the confidence of many of our participants grow even during a session’.

– Group Leader, 2019.