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The Reader unveils its exciting Summer programme

1 month ago

The Reader unveils its exciting Summer programme
Credit: The Reader

Liverpool-based charity The Reader has revealed a fun-packed summer programme of curated outdoor events.

There will be brand-new family-friendly productions at The Reader; including The Fabularium’s Reynard the Fox, music and literary-inspired wellbeing activities, all immersed in nature.

As warmer days and lighter evenings approach the season opens with free drop-in Garden Parties returning for the second year on Sunday 5, 19 May and Sunday 9 June. Guests are invited to pop up a deckchair or lay out their picnic blanket in the stunning Mansion House Garden for a chilled afternoon with a sizzling BBQ, summer tipples, music, the Ice Cream trike and crafts. Browse the Library on the Lawn – a handpicked selection of books for adults and children to explore and enjoy live entertainment and activities for all the family. 

Two big family-friendly events will be celebrating the 35th birthday of author David McKee’s iconic patchwork elephant. During May half term there will be an Elmer Day at the Storybarn on Saturday 25 May with Elmer.  

The celebrations continue with Elmer’s Big Summer Garden Party in the Mansion House Garden on Sunday 16 June. In addition toElmer stories there will be face painting, games, crafts and even a special visit from everyone’s favourite elephant.

The fast-growing Makers at the Mansion is back on Sunday 2 June, 11-5pmand invites Liverpool’s independent makers to the stunning Mansion House. Browse around the house and garden to check out the best local and handmade candles, soaps, jewellery, home décor, clothing, art, crafts and more, along with delicious food and family-friendly stalls outside.

And just announced is the first free one-day Ukulele Festival on Saturday 8 June featuring a line-up of the best ukulele groups in the Northwest with live music from 1-6pm.

An exciting summer season of pop-up theatre launches in the recently revived 1940s Art-Deco ‘Garden Theatre’ at the Mansion House in Calderstones Park.

The Reader at Calderstones Park
The Reader at Calderstones Park

This new season begins on Thursday 18 July with Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet by award-winning theatre company Illyria. On Sunday 4 August critically acclaimed cycling Shakespearean actors The HandleBards present their fast and funny new production of The Comedy of Errors.

The season continues on Tuesday 13 August with Hamlet, a new production by Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all male theatre company.

The latest production to be announced is Reynard the Fox by family theatre company and Just So festival favourites, The Fabularium, back by popular demandon Tuesday 20August.Illyria return on Thursday 22 August with Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles based on the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and adapted by Oliver Gray.

Audiences will be invited to bring along a deckchair or picnic blanket, feast on freshly made pizzas and grazing boxes and sip drinks from the fully stocked bar.The historic stage underwent a huge renovation in 2019 as part of the £5m three-year refurbishment of the Grade II Mansion House as The Reader returned the building to public use.

Also new this year, is the first series of live From Page to Stage Shared Reading workshops allowing guests to delve deeper into the texts and get the most out of this season’s plays. Each one will take place on the same day, before the evening’s performance: Romeo and Juliet on Thursday 18 July, A Comedy of Errors on Sunday 4 August, Hamlet on Tuesday 13 August, and The Hound of the Baskervilles on Thursday 22 August.

As always, The Reader will bring people together and books to life through literary events, includingtwo summer wellbeing workshops. The first will be inspiredby poetry anthology, A Book of Luminous Things, on Sunday 16 June and the second, on Saturday 10 August,by Scottish essayist and poet Kathleen Jamie.

Each workshop begins with Shared Reading with The Reader’s experienced practitioners before a guided walk through Calderstones Park and the chance to build a personal poetry collection to take home.

A host of family-friendly activities in The Reader’s imaginative play space for children, The Storybarn, range from a Meet the Author event on Saturday 13 July featuring a special reading of Lottie the Little Wonder by Katherine Woodfine based on the real-life story of superstar tennis player Lottie Dodd, to Storybarn Celebrates Pride on Saturday 27 July celebrating Liverpool Pride with stories about friendship and community. 

Once schools are out, the Summer Holiday Club returns from 22 July to 9 August, with outdoor adventures in the park, games and much more for children aged 5-10. Every ticket purchased helps support The Reader’s charitable work for children and young people across the UK.

Children can meet a real archaeologist in Turn Back to the Stone Age on 24 August and set off to explore Books & Brambles in an imaginative play, arts and crafts session across the park with the Storyhunters every Saturday from 27 July to 31 August.

And of course, as throughout the year, drop-in Shared Reading sessions which bring people together to talk, connect and share experiences through stories and poems continue at The Mansion House and venues across the city. 

The Mansion House is open seven days a week with guided tours exploring the history of the house every Tuesday at 2pm, and the History of the House exhibition, and the chance to see the ancient ring of six 4,800-year-old Calder Stones which give the local area its name.

For more info on The Reader click here.

For the latest news in Liverpool click here.



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