GIVING STUDENTS A FRONT ROW SEAT: Professional readings of plays designed to improve comprehension of exam-body texts for all students.
ReadThrough will see professional actors and directors stage online readings of plays in the English or drama curriculum, with a particular focus on reaching students from less privileged backgrounds.
The organisation will also offer bespoke workshop sessions, in which it will lead English or drama lessons and focus on a selection of scenes with students.
The creators believe that seeing the story bought to life “enriches the learning process and gives far greater insight into themes, context and characters within the text”.
ReadThrough has received initial funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, allowing it to offer its services to some of the most disadvantaged comprehensive schools for free.
It has launched a public fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to secure funding to extend the service out to other schools across the UK.
Actors who will be regularly working with ReadThrough include Esther Smith, Nari Blair-Mangat, Alasdair Buchan, Edward Franklin, Elisabeth Hopper and Mark Weinman, with End of the F***ing World star Alex Lawther also confirmed to participate.
As well as Thompson and Fry, actors backing the initiative include Amma Asante, Simon Callow and Shazad Latif.
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 wholeheartedly 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.”
Fry added: “ReadThrough is just such a winner of an idea. Please do everything you can to help us all make ReadThrough a living reality.”
ReadThrough has been launched by professionals from television, film and theatre, bought together by theatre company Moya Productions. These include producer Caitlin Albery Beavan, actor Edward Franklin, art director Billie Temple and actor Buchan.
The founders said: “We believe ReadThrough can help bridge the gap between students and theatre. Our aim is to bolster students’ understanding of their set texts by seeing them performed live.
“Through technology we can overcome issues of access caused by the pandemic, socio-economic or geographic constraints.”
The first live ReadThrough will be Macbeth on February 11, with the organisation inviting schools to get in touch if their students are studying the text and wish to attend.
"ReadThrough is an engaging, live online workshop service. We provide professional readings of plays and prose adaptations designed to improve the comprehension of exam-body texts for all students."