Richard Briers reads for recovery

Local actor leads line-up for award winning charity

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Sunday 6 June at 6pm

Where: Actors’ Church ( St Paul’s Church), Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London WC2

Tickets: £10 (£8 concessions) available on the door but should be reserved in advance by calling 020 7727 5908

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Local actor Richard Briers is one of several well known personalities dedicating work to InterAct Reading Service, the award-winning charity set up to help the recovery and improve the quality of life for stroke patients in hospitals, stroke clubs and hospices. Other contributors include Carol Ann Duffy, Cicely Herbert, Christopher Logue and Roger McGough.

On Sunday 6 June he leads a line up of fellow actors and performers in an evening of readings, drama, music, anecdotes, poignancy and laughter at the Actors’ Church (St Paul’s Church), Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London WC2. The programme includes poems specially written or dedicated to InterAct by Carol Ann Duffy, Adrian Henri (who wrote three, as yet unpublished, poems after suffering a stroke, which his widow Catherine Marcangeli has given to InterAct), Cicely Herbert, Christopher Logue and Roger McGough; music especially composed by Joseph Phibbs (this year’s winner of the BBC commission for the last night of the proms) and played by the English Piano Trio; and drama from

Nell Dunn (author of Steaming and Poor Cow) and Pete Barrett.

InterAct Reading Service (Best New Charity of the Year 2001) is the brainchild of theatre director Caroline Smith. Formed in 2000, InterAct Reading Service now employs 140 trained actors and sets up its programmes in 15 hospitals in London and Manchester, 16 stroke clubs and the Pembridge Palliative Care Centre. Last year the service gave over 5,500 individual readings and 320 group readings. Its Patrons are Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bleasdale and Richard Briers.

Readings for the patients are taken from a carefully selected collection of 200 short stories, of which over 50 have been specially commissioned, as well as numerous features, poems and jokes. The readings last from 2 to 15 minutes and try to respond to the needs and interests of each patient. The professional readers, employing their dramatic skills and sensitive ‘antennae’ to respond to unspoken reactions and attention spans, spend 5 to 45 minutes with each patient, talking, reading and listening.

InterAct Reading Service is on the brink of being recognised as a key part of the rehabilitation programme for stroke patients and as a major contributor to the quality of life for all patients.

Its future relies on continued funding from trusts and foundations, individual giving and support for special events such as those detailed above. InterAct reading Service needs approximately £160,000 per year to fulfil its planned three year operational and development programme.

June 1, 2004