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Well Read moves online

Well Read moves online in response to Covid-19 Social Distancing requirements.

Well Read has moved online in response to Covid-19. Well Read started in 2018 as a St. Charles hospital script reading project for mental health and older adult patients. Well Read online promotes wellbeing in Kensington and Chelsea and the wider community. It is led by Anthony Biggs, co-artistic director at The Playground Theatre, who is supported by Paul O’Mahony. The project is open to anyone aged 18 years old or more. A group of up to 15 people can meet virtually via Zoom and act in a play. No experience is necessary. Script reading sessions last approximately one and a half hours and have been very well received. Well Read online meets twice a week on Fridays and Tuesdays. Any adult that wants the chance to read a play, talk to people and explore another world can join. It is important to register first for a script via wellread@theplaygroundtheatre.london, registration is free. RBKC residents can self-refer via https://communitylivingwell.co.uk/wellbeing-services-referral-form/. Those that live outside of the borough can contact Anthony or Paul via wellread@theplaygroundtheatre.london in order to register.

Well Read online reviews

The Well Read online sessions have had some lovely reviews here is one from Catherine who attended our first session:

“Thank you very much indeed for arranging this play reading, it was absolutely brilliant last week and very much looking forward to this afternoon!”

Catherine spoke to family and friends who also attended the session virtually.

“This was a brilliant opportunity to participate in a live play reading, having never done this since secondary school!

The group was brilliantly run by Paul and Anthony from The Playground Theatre in Latimer Rd.

We gathered together on Zoom, in kitchens and living rooms around the country, some of us learning the technology on the fly.

We participated alongside experienced actors, everyone in their own homes listening to each other, taking it in turns to speak.

A line in the play ‘there is no judgement here’ as newcomers to this experience, we felt included and encouraged, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, as did the “Audience” who said it was very entertaining, particularly as it was the ‘first try’ using this medium.

The 1.5 hours was probably about as much as we could manage, with waves of intense concentration and enthusiasm.

We concluded that this use of Zoom would be suited to particular types of plays, with lots of players, no lengthy speeches, or overlapping dialogue, or voices speaking at once.”

Where the Well program started

The Well program started in 2018 as part of our outreach collaborative work with service users at St. Charles Mental Health Centre. Well Read is the first iteration of the Well program where mental health and older adult patients from St. Charles hospital take part in script reading. The Well projects are run by Anthony Biggs, co-artistic director at The Playground Theatre; and Catte Latto, St. Charles hospital patient engagement officer and her team.

In December 2019 Well Written ‘Journeys’; where Catte Latto with St. Charles hospital patients were helped to tell their stories by playwright/tutor Stewart Permutt and Anthony Biggs; won an award in the social impact category from the charity, Adult Learning Within Reach (WEA). It was one of two awards that Catte Latto and her One Community team picked up for the exceptional work that they do in supporting mental health patients in the Kensington and Chelsea community.

Since Covid-19 social distancing measures we put in place, the theatre has run Well Read online to continue to reach people and promote wellness.

Co-artistic Director Anthony Biggs said, “We consider ourselves an integral part of the neighbourhood of North Kensington, and our outreach work gives as much joy to us as to those we work with. In these challenging times, when our doors are closed and our future is uncertain, we believe it is vital to continue to support those in our community who are isolated and lonely, and who rely on The Playground.”

We plan to extend Well Read and Well Written virtually with Catte’s One Community team. We will of course update you, as and when we can.