Day-long Shakespeareathon raises cash for new parent and child reading group in Ipswich

Members of the Red Rose Chain Youth Theatre perform Romeo and Juliet during the 25 hour Shakespearea

Members of the Red Rose Chain Youth Theatre perform Romeo and Juliet during the 25 hour Shakespeareathon.

Twenty-five hours of non-stop Shakespeare have taken plans for a new reading project for parents with young children in Chantry one step closer to reality.

The Shakespearathon, run by the Red Rose Chain Theatre Company at The Avenue Theatre in Ipswich, got underway at the final performance of Richard III at 7.30pm on Saturday.

The event saw people and groups, including from residential care homes to amateur dramatic groups, make a donation to perform their own renditions of Shakespeare, while others paid to come along and watch. A number of donations from local businesses and corporate sponsors were also received.

There were also a series of live streams from the West End, including one from screenwriter, producer and film director Richard Curtis.

The Red Rose Chain, based at The Avenue Theatre in Gippeswyk Avenue, Ipswich, wanted the Shakespeareathon to raise £5,000 towards setting up a reading club for children under five and their parents in the Chantry area. At 3pm yesterday, they were just £1,500 shy of their target.

Sarah Haskins, marketing lead for Red Rose Chain, said: “We think it’s really important, there’s a real value for families, parents and children to read to each other.

“It’s really good for their development, it strengthens the bond between them and it’s great for their imagination. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a good book.

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“It has been brilliant, everyone has mucked in and everyone has had a lot of fun. The turnout has been really, really good.

“We are just trying to show that you can have a lot of fun with Shakespeare and you can do a lot with it, and trying to make it more accessible.

“Because we are in the Chanty area, we feel really strongly about raising the funds for the project.”

To make a donation, visit, or call the box office on 01473 603388.