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“A Merry Christmas to us all”: Penny Readings 2011

Written by The Reader, 5th December 2011

The festive season has officially begun!

Last night saw The Reader Organisation once again take over the small concert room in St George’s Hall for our annual Dickensian extravaganza, the Penny Readings.

Judging by the reaction from the audience and on Twitter, the night was a resounding success.

“It was a perfect evening”

“The Penny Readings by @thereaderorg was fantastic. Completely surpassed my expectations. So entertaining, accessible and cultural!”

“Maybe only at Liverpool's 'Penny Readings' d'ya get David Morrissey being Macbeth on the same bill as a ukulele orchestra #splendidtime"

Frank Cottrell Boyce had the audience in stitches, magician Darren Campbell left us dazed and confused, we had some wonderful readings from The Reader Organisation’s very own Angela Macmillan, Casi Dylan and Beverley LaRoc, whilst Raven Sinclair-Edmonds treated us to some…interesting poetry of her own. The musical talents of trumpeter Grace Farrington and pianist Jasmine Scarisbrick were followed by the stunning voice of Lauren Spink, whilst the Wirral Ukulele Orchestra brought the house down with their flamboyant Hawaiian shirts and Santa hats.

Our special guest David Morrissey read a passage from Our Mutual Friend and performed one of Macbeth’s most famous speeches in homage to his recent starring role at the Everyman Theatre.

The evening was rounded off by the traditional rendition of a passage from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by Professor Phil Davis. No doubt the great man himself would have approved of this early start to his bicentenary celebrations.

Our younger readers weren’t forgotten in all this excitement, as we held our second Ha’Penny Readings earlier in the day. Kids young and old enjoyed an afternoon of laughter and Christmas cheer led by MC extraordinaire Patrick Fisher and his friends from improv comedy group Sticky Floor. The Christmas party attended by Jedward, Horrid Henry and a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex was the stuff of nightmares!

“Wacky fun!”

Pianist Jasmine popped up again with a wonderful composition of her own, there were more readings by Angela Macmillan, whilst Scream Street author Tommy Donbavand roped in some audience members to help act out a story of werewolves, mummies, vampires and dragons. Two of our Young Person’s Project workers, Samantha Shipman and Anna Fleming, entertained the audience with their favourite festive poems; Anna was especially convincing as a bird from ‘Turkeys United’ demanding ‘No to Cuts!’. There was even a special appearance from Santa Claus, who took time out of his busy schedule to read a little something and deliver a gift to all those readers who fulfilled his ‘naughty or nice’ criteria.

If you were at either event, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.

A big thank you to everyone who made the day such a special one – time to start planning next year!

7 thoughts on ““A Merry Christmas to us all”: Penny Readings 2011

Jen says:

It was a really magical night. Thanks to all our brilliant readers and performers at both events – you clearly gave it your all! Thanks also to all our staff and volunteers that helped to make it run so smoothly and give it some of that special reader sparkle.

Colin says:

Perfect! A huge thank you to all at TRO for putting on Liverpool’s ‘feel-good’ event of the year.

louise says:

Totally agree ! been totally hyper since come home Sunday night !
I am not a great lover of the month of December and the dreaded C word as causes to much change and STRESS! I can’ t understand why we have Christmas parties etc before DEC 25th as how do do you know S anta willl visit you, and how can you be sure that Jesus will be safe and well so would make more sense to have it all after the 25th you are reading this and thinking ” what the hell has she been drinking ”

enough HUMBUGS i was wondering how to getinto the kids show and thought umm NEICES in other lands and so will volunteer ! on condition did not make tea for no -one
so sold second hand books evan a person who failed Maths can deal with 5o pences which was loads of fun and then to see the show !

This made me forget all about the worries of Christmas as was just wisked back to being to a kid so entertaing my only worry (I have to have a worry or i am lonely) is that Patrick may be snapped up a kids tv channel ! I warned you here first !
I loved watching the kids on stage and especially the games and the best bit of all able to shout DIE really loudly without being arrested !

I had no selling books in the evening one but seeing as lost my evening ticket and t WORRING again that you would shout GO ! decided to stay and sell more books this was becoming more and more entertaing as knew loads of people so could blackmail; them ” BUY A BOOK or your name gets called out on stage .

This was just as good as the kids one especially the band , Magician and the readings by Cassi and Beverly bit biased as half welsh !

all to soon time to travel back over the river but still worrying that you may move to another venue due to so many people wanting to go etc but would not be the same in another venue and you will still get moans off people , I I Dont moan just worry!

bit long this told you cant sleep !! People lately causing me alot of upset lately as saying why volunteer what do you get out of it and say I am being taken for a ride but I got not one pint of milk but 4 thats why i cant sleep as drinking load of milky coffee and I am actually having the ride of my life and they are probaby jealous as they havent got a ticket ! for the ride .

TO sleep or not to sleep that is the question good night or should that be good morning

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