Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Preparing for a new start

The dust seems to scarcely be settling from Showcase and we're in final preparations to start back with the class of 2012/13.  Anyone who thinks we get the summer off is wrong :)

We've been lucky enough to have to lay on extra auditions this year to see everyone, and it looks like a record year for the college with at least 16 students studying with us.  We can't wait to start working with all of them!

We've also had a very inspiring meeting with our Board of Trustees who oversee everything that college does.  They're a fantastic bunch of people - I should introduce you...

David Ashley (Head of 1st Year and Deputy Head of Music, Arts Ed)
Elizabeth Flintoff (Director of Outreach, Watermill Theatre)
Nick Flintoff (Creative Technical Associate, National Theatre Studio)
Roger Missing (Owner, Missing Link DVD)
Anne Munn (Chief Executive, The Mobility Trust)

Between the Board, Helen and myself, there are some really exciting plans in place for the future of the college, including some great fundraising events which I will be blogging/tweeting about soon, so keep up to date and come and visit us at any of the events whenever you can!

Let's see how many futures we can change this time around...


Saturday, 16 June 2012

A year's not long in showbiz...

So, as I write this post we are just 3 weeks away from the end of my 10th academic year working with Foundation students.  It's odd to think that those students from my first year are all now a decade older!

It is a great privilege to work with young people at this stage in their training - they are right on the cusp of something great, and being there when they take their first metaphorical steps on their own is an amazing thing.  They may be going on to other colleges for the next phase of their training, but they will always have been Read-ies first, and that is something that we are very proud of.  GSA, Chichester, Rose Bruford, AMTA, The Centre, Masters, Millennium, Tiffany, ALRA and anywhere else I've omitted, you all look after our Graduates!

We already have more students enrolled for next year than we've ever had before so we are limbering up to begin the process all over again, and in the meantime our wonderful year group of 2012 have their Showcase on July 4th and their Graduation on July 6th so as one thing ends another is already beginning...

Our enormous gratitude and thanks goes as always to our Dance Faculty lead by Helen Read (Eva Blanco, Jackie Cullen and Michelle Legg) and our Theatre Faculty lead by myself (Seamus Allen, Ellie Verkerk and Mark Woolgar) and all of our guest teachers, supporters and trustees, for doing an amazing job once again.

And so the wheel keeps turning...!


Apply Now for 2012/13!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Update from Read College

So much has happened here at Read since the last time I posted, I scarcely know where to begin!

Firstly, the Reading Half Marathon...  The run was a great success and we are massively grateful to all of our tutors who took part most especially Seamus Allen, who took on the whole 13.2 miles rather than the expected leg of the relay he had volunteered for, when one of our other runners pulled out due to injury at the last moment.

In all Seamus and myself, and the relay team consisting of Helen Read, Eva Blanco and Michelle Legg, raised over £1,000 for the student bursary fund which we are DELIGHTED with!  In fact, I had so much fun that I've signed up to run another half marathon in October!

Secondly, our move to the new premises is now complete.  It was a massive amount of work, and the team of volunteers who gave their time over Easter and into this term have been amazing.  Fancy a look around?  Here it is!

Reception Area
Corridor to Offices and Staff Room

Drama Studio

Student Green Room area

Dance Studio/Studio Theatre

Vocal Studio
Dance Studio/Studio Theatre

What a fantastic place to come to work every day!  We are very grateful to our new landlords at the University of Reading for their help with our move, and also to all of our staff, friends, supporters and even an ex-student who turned out to help us with the mammoth task of moving the whole college in 4 days.

Our official 'press opening' was on the Sunday just gone (May 13th), and our students were treated to an incredible workshop with Bobby Cronin - currently over in the UK from New York - who worked with the students in the lead up to the cutting of the (imaginary) ribbon in the Studio Theatre.
Left to Right - Sarah Crumpton, Natalie-Ann Stanley, Adam Butler, Emma Louise Southall, Bobby Cronin, Emma Cox, Jessica Wilcox & Lowri Hughes at the opening of the new Read Dance and Theatre College

 Now we are heading towards another fundraiser for our Student Hardship Fund, which will be a concert in my home town of Thatcham, West Berkshire. Featuring some great talent from the West End - all of whom are giving their time for free to support the charity - the evening will be under the musical direction of our fantastic resident MD, Ellie Verkerk.  The concert is on June 17th at 7.30pm and tickets are available now by calling the college office on 0118 9666774 or 08451 307408, and at just £10 to see the stars of the West End musicals up-close and personal it's a bargain!

Read Dance and Theatre College is a registered charity in the UK number 1142899 and supports young people in their training in the performing arts based on their talent and dedication, without their finances hindering their chances of succeeding in the industry.

To find out more about how to support the charity, contact us on 08451 307408, email admin@rdtc.org.uk or simply click on the link below.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Reflections on mirrors

The Myra McCulloch Studio Theatre
We have the best students.  No, really, we do.

With only 10 days to go until our move to the college's new home at Bulmershe Court our current year group have taken it upon themselves to help us fundraise for training mirrors at the new building.  These mirrors will benefit not only our current crop, but also all of our future students as well, and they are a key part of training dancers.

The new space offers us a fantastic main studio, but as a former studio theatre there are no training mirrors on site at all.  That's why we are looking to buy 4 portable mirrors mounted on wheels that we can use all over the space and then bring with us at any time in the future when we should find ourselves on the road again.

Drama Studio at the new Read College
As a charity dedicated to training talented young people in Theatre Arts, all of our annual budget is spent directly on training the students with no profits being made by anyone.  That means that any additional costs - such as fitting out the new building - have to be paid for by raising funds through any means that we can!  We are hugely grateful to the University of Reading (our new landlords) for providing us with this excellent space so generously.  Now we need to maximise the benefits of the space for training our students, so that we can go on with our incredible success rate at getting students into further training in the Arts.

As part of their fundraising, the students are planning all kinds of events which I'm sure we will keep you posted about, and if you can help the students by sponsoring them for their events, or just donating a few pounds towards their target total of £1,500 then all you need to do is click on the button below.  Don't forget to select 'Yes' in the Gift Aid box if you are a UK tax payer so that we can claim 25% tax relief on your donation.

Many thanks,

Read College Team, and...
Emma, Sarah, Adam, Emma, Savannah, Jess, Emma, Natalie, Sophie, Lowri and Amy
The Read College Students 2011/12

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sign up for news!

Read Dance and Theatre College now has a fantastic new mailing list system to keep all of our fantastic supporters up to date!

If you would like to know what we've been up to in our charitable and educational work, just sign up with your email address below.  We promise not to send you a bunch of spam or any email we don't think you'll want to hear about, and we also won't pass your information on to anyone else.

Jamie, Helen and the Team

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A chance to get involved...

February has been an exciting month for Read College, with the announcement of our new building and also lots of training going on for the Reading Half Marathon.  With both of these things coming to fruition in early April, we have never needed people to get involved in our work than we do now, so please read on for a moment longer...

The college became registered as a charity last year, for the simple reason that 100% of the money we take in as tuition fees is then spent directly back on training the students.  There is no profit margin for any company directors, and there are no support staff or admin staff who don't directly have an effect on training - just two very full-time Directors who deliver a large proportion of the course and run ALL of the office-based end of the college between them, and a fantastic team of expert tutors who each come in for their allotted hours each week.  In our opinion, that's exactly how it ought to be, too.

Our charitable fundraising means that we can support talented young people who, for various reasons, would otherwise be unable to afford training to get a start in their career.  Without the fundraising, some fantastic young people would be unable to access full-time vocational training and would therefore miss out on a potential career in the industry purely due to their family's financial circumstances.

Thanks to the support of the University of Reading's estates department with our new home, we will soon be able to concentrate just as much of this money directly on our students, whilst having spacious and purpose-built theatre training facilities to benefit them as well.  Fantastic!

Once we have moved in though, our fundraising mission gets even bigger.  We need to raise over £1,500 for new training mirrors for example, so that our dancers can get the most out of their classes.  We also need to fundraise for dance floors for some of the studios, and on top of this we need to make sure that we still have enough funding coming in to benefit the students who so badly need it.

If you think you can help in any way at all - anything from volunteering a bit of time or an idea, sponsoring one of our marathon runners a couple of pounds, right through to having your name attached to one of our new studios as a benefactor to the college - now is the time to get in touch.  Remember, the money that you help us to raise doesn't go to a company or an individual, it goes directly to help the talented young students who need it most.  Every single penny.

You can donate to us right now, by simply clicking here (and remember, if you're a UK tax payer you can help us even more by typing 'Yes' into the Gift Aid box so that we can claim tax relief on your donation) -

and even if you can't donate anything right now, you can still do us one favour... Could you forward this on to as many people as you know, to help them find out about the work that Read College is doing?

Thank you all so much.

Jamie & Helen Read

Monday, 20 February 2012

Our New Home

Dear Friends,

It is with great excitement that I can announce the relocation of Read Dance and Theatre College to our very own site for the first time in our history.

Our new site is very exciting for us in many ways…  It is a former campus of Reading University, having previously been their Film, Television and Theatre block know as the Myra McCulloch Building.  It is located at Bulmershe Court, about 10 minutes from Junction 10 of the M4 and on a major road/public transport link from the town centre.  The building comprises a fully-equipped drama studio, and vocal teaching room, a large storage area which will become our wardrobe department, various reception areas and offices etc, and – at its heart – a former 150 seat, 1900 SqF, studio theatre complete with sprung floors, huge windows, and a very theatrical atmosphere!  There is also an old dressing room block which will become private tuition/practice rooms for the students.

Our move will be taking place during the Easter break and we will be opening at the new site during April.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michelle at The Performing Arts Institute, which has been our home for the last 2 years, for everything that she has done for us - it has been a fantastic place to work!

I look forward to posting photos of the new building as we have them.


Monday, 6 February 2012

Please Sponsor us!

On April 1st, a team of us from Read College will be running Reading Half Marathon.  Jamie Read, Neil Missing and Read student Lowri Hughes will be running the full distance, with a fantastic relay team consisting of Helen Read, Eva Blanco, Michelle Legg and Seamus Allen all running a section each.

We are running to support the Read Dance & Theatre College Student Hardship Fund (charity no. 1142899), which has been set up to support young people through their training in the Performing Arts.  These are talented and deserving young people whose talent we really want to be able to support and nurture, so please help us to help them!  All you need to do is click here -

...and don't forget that we can claim Gift Aid on your donation if you are a UK tax payer, which adds around another 25% to your donation at no extra cost to you at all!  All you need to do is say 'yes' when the donation page above asks you if we may claim Gift Aid on your donation.

Thank you for your help for these terrific young people...

Jamie, Helen, Michelle, Eva, Seamus and Neil

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Fundraising Marathon...

Wow, first blog of the year, and it's almost February!

Since I last posted, I am pleased to say that I have officially started training for Reading Half Marathon on Sunday, April 1st 2012 to raise funds for our Student Hardship Fund.  The fund is a major part of why we became a charity last year which, in a nutshell, is to ensure that we can take students based on their talent and not on their bank balance.

We have been very lucky in the past to have been able to help some really fantastic young people achieve their potential and go on to great things in the Performing Arts, and running the miles for my training at the moment is oddly reminiscent of being back on stage in my dancing days - little did I realise over a decade ago when I was kicking my heels up in Spirit of The Dance, that I would be using the fact that I'd survived that tour to motivate myself running around the streets of Berkshire!  Funny how life goes around isn't it?

2011 Graduates Joshua Pinder, Tommy Fox and Talitha Rye

I'm not alone in my running either - I am being joined by a relay team of college teachers: Helen Read, Seamus Allen, Eva Blanco and Michelle Legg all of whom are running a quarter of the course each to assist in the fundraising mission.  What a fantastic bunch of people we get to work with!  Talented, dedicated, bonkers.

You can sponsor us via facebook on the Read Dance & Theatre College wall or by emailing in to the college address admin@rdtc.org.uk, and by doing so you know that the money we raise is going directly to help train talented young people who really need your help.  Every little helps as they say, so go ahead and pledge a few pounds now!

Many thanks,


Foundation Course in Musical Theatre
Foundation Course in Acting