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Mass Live Reading Event at the V&A

Two weeks ago, we took part in our very first Friday Late at the V&A. The lovely curators there got in touch with us back in September to see if we fancied doing anything for their No Strings event, a night all about exploring independent publishing and print making.

With nada, zilch, absolutely zero event experience, we racked our brains trying to think of something that would be both relevant and audience involving. And, to be honest, something we could actually do.

So here’s what we came up with: (though sometimes, many times, we questioned whether or not we could we actually pull it off) we staged what we’ve called our first ever mass live reading event. We took our third book, Composition No. 1, in all its 150 loose and self-contained pages glory and married that up with 150 brilliantly keen Reader Outlouders. The idea was simple: each Reader Outlouder read out a different page from the book. And each Reader Outlouder was asked to read from a different spot in the museum (galleries, stairs, corridors, even the National Art Library). And the thousands of Friday Late visitors were given the chance to have the full book read out loud to them in whichever order they fancied.

Did it work? Yes we think so, performance heavy or not. Was it fun? Oh, hell yes. Check out all the gorgeous pics, courtesy of Harry Watts, and judge for yourself. Would we do it again? Yeah, why the hell not. We’re thinking of doing something again next year sometime.

A big thank you to everyone who took part, the reading as much as the being read to. Clearly couldn’t have done this without you. It’s thanks to you that the event had more unpredictable magic than any of us could have planned or hoped for. With it being very nearly end of year time, feels like it’s time to rest voices and souls, too.