As well as publishing the Modern First Folio Edition (MFFE) of Shakespeare’s plays, Players-Shakespeare.com runs monthly play-readings of MFFE plays so you can find out how the MFFE plays read in practice. We also offer support to other play-reading groups who want to run a play-reading of a Shakespeare play. The support we offer includes:
Play Scripts: you can download (for free) play scripts of published plays in formats which allow you to read the play on e-readers (Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, Android Tablets & Smartphones, Kindle, Adobe Reader) and on printed paper – by printing the Adobe pdf file on US letter or European A4 paper. This means that everyone can read the same script on their own e-reader or paper copy.
Castcards: You can also download castcards which allow the group to allocate roles within the play to the readers (usually from 6 to 12) as evenly as possible, and minimising the number of times a reader has to talk to himself in different roles. Castcards are available for nearly all plays published by Players-Shakespeare.com
Playreading Guides: we have started publishing playreading guides which help to understand the play, and divide the play into sub-plots, with support for reading each sub-plot separately. Many plays don’t currently have play-reading guides, but we are working hard to release them for all plays.
We think these Playreading Guides should be useful in a number of situations:
Groups producing the play: in our own productions, we’ve found reading the play as sub-plots with the appropriate members of cast before the classic read-through a very useful way to introduce the cast to the play, and gets everyone ‘into’ the play quickly.
Play-reading groups: we hope that play-reading groups will find it useful to read sub-plots of a play which they think deserve to be explored further. We plan to run a play-reading of some Twelfth Night sub-plots soon after we read the whole play, and we will let you know how it goes.
Students studying the play: we’re hopeful that students (at high-school and at undergraduate level) will find it helpful to have the sub-plots available. We imagine dividing a class up into groups, each group taking a sub-plot, and performing or play-reading it to their colleagues. And then perhaps running the whole play, with each group reading / performing their sub-plot.
The dates of play-readings we currently plan to run can be found at Events.
An outline of the support we provide for play-readings can be found here.
If you’ve never been to a play-reading it’s rather like a book-reading club, but more fun, and much less effort than taking part in a production.