Former students of the master’s degree taught at Shakespeare’s Globe have organised a 48-hour reading event to raise money for the theatre, which has warned it is on the brink of collapse.
Set up by a group of former Shakespeare Studies MA students, Read for the Globe will comprise non-stop online readings of Shakespeare plays over the course of 48 hours on May 24 and 25.
Organisers said they had received interest from several hundred people to take part in the project, which is asking audiences to raise awareness of the Globe’s situation and donate to its fundraising appeal.
The London theatre has said it will not survive the Covid-19 pandemic without urgent support – of at least £5 million – and it has been profoundly affected by the industry-wide closure, after losing 95% of its income.
The Globe does not receive public funding and said it was not successful in applying for emergency relief from the Arts Council.
Sophie Allin, co-founder of Read for the Globe, told The Stage that she and other former students of the MA course – a collaboration between the Globe and King’s College London – had felt compelled to try and help when they heard the Globe was struggling.
"Having studied there we really value what the Globe is, not just as a theatre, which along with all the other theatres in the UK is struggling so much at the minute, but also as a home for scholars and for children learning about Shakespeare," she said.
Allin said she had experienced "an element of disbelief" when the Globe’s appeal to the government for urgent support was published this week.
"Everywhere is struggling at the moment, but being confronted with the harsh reality was really shocking," she added.
The Read for the Globe event will be streamed on YouTube across May 24 and 25, while more information about the plays being read will be posted on Twitter.