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Penny Readings

Penny Reading

The Penny Readings Festival 2013

Celebrating the 10th anniversary, the Penny and Ha'penny Readings 2013 were part of a very special Penny Readings Festival in the magnificent St George's Hall, Liverpool on Sunday 15th December.

For the first time we opened up the grand Great Hall to the public and enjoyed an afternoon of festive fun, Christmas shared reading, crafts and activities for all ages, quizzes and games, stalls, a Christmas cafe and entertainment from special guests.

All this preceded two sell-out shows that wowed audiences, with guests including Frank Cottrell Boyce, Paul Farley, Wirral Ukulele Orchestra, RuShee, the i Choir, Take A Hint Theatre Company, the High Sheriff of Merseyside, Sticky Floor and wonderful readings from group members and volunteers.

Read our blog for more on the perfect start to the festive season.

Kindly sponsored by Publiship.


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History of the Penny Readings

The Penny Readings is our incredibly popular annual event, holding true to a well-established Victorian tradition, popularised by Dickens. They have become a staple of the festive season in Liverpool, with a spectacular show of reading, music and entertainment, including star names such as David Morrissey, Janet Suzman and Alexei Sayle,all for the price of a penny. Since 2004, the Penny Readings have reached over 500 people every year: from residents in care homes and hostels, to keen theatre goers. 

In 2010, the Penny Readings became accompanied with the Ha’penny Readings, our family-friendly reading and entertainment event for children.

What they said:

“What a wonderful evening. I have been lucky enough to attend a few of the above concerts and unbelievably they just get better every time.”

“Completely surpassed my expectations. So entertaining, accessible and cultural!”

“You don’t get such warmth in the audience, and from the stage, anywhere else – it’s the best night of the year.”

Penny Readings readers have included…

  • Frank Cottrell Boyce (author)
  • Cathy Tyson (actress)
  • Louis De Bernières (author)
  • David Morrissey (actor)
  • Alexei Sayle (comedian and author)
  • Roger Phillips (broadcaster, BBC Radio Merseyside)
  • Janet Suzman (actress)
  • Annabelle Dowler (actress)
  • Loyd Grossman (TV presenter)
  • Jenny Joseph (poet)
  • Gillian Kearney (actress)
  • Alastair Machray (Editor, Liverpool Echo)
  • Nadine Marshall (actress)
  • Bel Mooney (writer)

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The Reader Organisation The Friary Centre Bute Street Liverpool L5 3LA



Registered charity number: 1126806

If you have any suggestions on how we can enhance the Reader experience for you, please get in touch by filling out our quick form. Thank you.