News: Riverside Studios announces ‘Riverside Reads’

 A season of new plays and musicals are to get their world première as part of ‘Riverside Reads’, a series of read-through events at Riverside Studios on the first Tuesday of every month that will also be streamed live online to a global audience.

‘Riverside Reads’ will première scripts by blazingly talented writers, performed by stars from the West End and well-known TV dramas, and give theatregoers the unique experience of the excitement of a very first read-through. All – live and online – will be able to discuss the play with the playwright, actors, and director after the reading.

The first play, ‘The Last Broadcast’ by Carey Crim, on Tuesday, September 1, features Sandra Dickinson as a prominent barrier-breaking US talk radio personality, whose family come to realise that she needs to go into social care, leading to  a shocking family secret being discovered. The first season of ‘Riverside Reads’ will end with a play-through of ‘StarBoy’, a dazzling new musical by West End legend Ray Shell and Christopher Van Cleave. 

The first season of ‘Riverside Reads’ features three works by women and three by men, each focussing on family relationships. The season is curated and directed by Hugh Wooldridge, with legendary West End producer Sir Michael Codron as patron. 

Each play or musical is rehearsed in advance and will be streamed live from one of the new spaces within the Riverside Studios complex. A  limited number of tickets will be available to watch the reading live and in person, adhering to social distancing rules. Tickets cost from £15 to watch the play and the post-show discussion online (the stream is available for 28 days after purchase) and from £25 to watch in person at Riverside Studios.

The ‘Riverside Reads’ read-throughs will give paid work to more than 100 unemployed, freelance actors and musicians.

Hugh Wooldridge says: “The first read-through, with the cast and author, is one of the most exciting moments in the production process of a new play.  This read-through is usually intensely personal and very private. A first reading – good or bad – can completely alter how a play is produced; many changes may be made because of it. I am excited to share an insight into what actually happens. And, given the current appalling state of affairs facing the theatre industry globally, I am so pleased that ‘Riverside Reads’ may be able to provide a platform for these exciting new plays and musicals, whilst bringing together many out-of-work freelance professionals from throughout the industry.”

Rachel Tackley, Creative Director of Riverside Studios says: “With the cinema, television studios, restaurants and bars open and already welcoming the public, it’s huge joy to bring theatre back to the heart of Riverside with ‘Riverside Reads’. As we emerge post the Covid-19 lockdown we have a responsibility to give voice new talent, and we’re delighted this season opens with four world premières. ‘Riverside Reads’ is the start of what will be a return to a full theatre programme, as restrictions are eased and we can explore the full potential of our new performance spaces.”

World Premiere #2 on Tuesday October 5, 2020 is ‘Scattered’ by Megan Van Dusen. 

World Premiere #3 on Tuesday November 3, 2020 is ‘The In-Between’, a fantasy musical by Laura Tisdall.  

World Premiere #4 on Tuesday February 2, 2021 be a first reading and play-through of ‘StarBoy’, a brilliant new musical by West End legend Ray Shell (original cast ‘Hair’, and creator of the roles of Rusty in ‘Starlight Express’ and Nomax in ‘Five Guys Named Moe’) and Christopher Van Cleave.

To book tickets visit

Photo credit: McVirn Etienne

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