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Old plays to be given new life

Old plays to be given new life

Staged readings to go from page to performance in one day

Read Alive, a new programme of staged readings, will challenge emerging directors to breathe life into rarely performed plays from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods – in a single day. Actors will arrive at 10am, be given their scripts, and work on them for less than 6 hours before a public staged reading at 4pm. Works will include such rarely performed delights as John Lyly's Gallathea, a celebration of cross-dressing, and Christopher Marlowe's magical Dido of Carthage.

Read Alive is presented by The Lord Lackbeards Touring Company [Lackbeards] in partnership with Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand [SGCNZ]. Read Alive specifically aims to give emerging directors and actors experience with unfamiliar texts and staging conventions that come from that historical period. The programme takes its inspiration from the highly successful Read Not Dead sessions at Shakespeare's Globe in London, which SGCNZ CEO Dawn Sanders saw in their earliest form almost two decades ago and several times since. Lackbeards Artistic Director Ania Upstill experienced during her time at Shakespeare's Globe earlier this year. Read Not Dead has proved extremely popular with audiences, who enjoy the chance to see rarely performed plays and the havoc and creativity on display during barely rehearsed staged readings.

The plays often surprise audiences with how modern they appear. Upstill “These plays portray human characters with emotions that are easily recognisable despite being written for a different social environment. Early modern drama might feature more magical situations than modern drama (it isn't uncommon for gods to appear for instance), but the humanity is still there. Plus, they're infectiously fun!”

Upstill will direct the first staged reading of Gallathea on Sunday, October 4th at 4pm at 17 Tory St. Thanks to funding from the Emerging Artists Trust, entry to the Read Alive readings will be by donation. All members of the public are encouraged to come experience plays they might otherwise never see while enjoying a light afternoon tea.

Read Alive: Galathea by John Lyly

Presented by SGCNZ and The Lord Lackbeards Touring Company

Directed by Ania Upstill

4pm, Sunday 4th of October

17 Tory St, Wellington

Bookings not required. RSVP to


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