Home Entertainment Prince Edward given new patronage as he shares ‘exciting’ announcement

Prince Edward given new patronage as he shares ‘exciting’ announcement

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Prince Edward given new patronage as he shares ‘exciting’ announcement

Prince Edward has gained a new role very close to his heart. The Earl of Wessex became today the patron of Reading Rep Theatre, a leading theatre and cultural hub in Berkshire. As Buckingham Palace shared the exciting news, the late Queen’s youngest son said: “Reading Rep is rapidly becoming an essential part of the arts scene in Reading for three really good reasons.

“It is creating pathways to the performing arts for young people, regardless of background; it is introducing new audiences to the performing arts through its outreach and access activities; and it is a space providing an alternative venue for creative and production talents to hone their skills.

“I look forward to helping with reinforcing this theatre’s inspiring work in the local community and to supporting its future endeavours.” 

Edward was welcomed in his new role by Paul Stacey, Founding Artistic Director of Reading Rep.

Commenting the announcement, Mr Stacey said: “It is a huge privilege to welcome HRH The Earl of Wessex as Reading Rep Theatre’s Royal Patron. 

“His Royal Highness has shown incredible support for arts and culture and his recognition and support of Reading Rep and the work we do both on stage and in the community, is humbling.

“We are excited to work with HRH in forwarding our shared goals and aspirations for art and culture in Reading.”

Reading Rep is a community-led theatre running a year-round programme of workshops supporting people of all ages.

It also puts on stage high-quality productions and, through its outreach programme called ENGAGE, it provides access to the arts for Reading’s most vulnerable communities.   

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Launched 10 years ago, it further expanded its reach last year by opening a new state-of-the-art 163-seat theatre and cultural hub. 

To mark the beginning of his patronage, the Earl will head to Reading later today to attend the Reading Rep’s Corporate Partnership Scheme Launch.

The event will feature performances from Audrey Brisson, the Olivier-nominated star of Jekyll & Hyde, and members of the association’s Youth Theatre and Young Company as well as a chance for businesses across Reading and the Thames Valley to connect and network with fellow organisations. 

Reading Rep is the latest association in the arts and culture field to receive the support of Edward, who is known for his keen interest in the sector. 

Among his arts patronages are the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, London Mozart Players, Northern Ballet, National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and The Orpheus Centre Trust. 

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In July, Edward’s patronage of the Production Guild of Great Britain announced it was launching a new annual award made in his name.

The gong will recognise inspirational work in UK film and TV to create new opportunities to help UK production become more inclusive.

Between the 1980s and early 2000s, the Earl worked as in theatre and TV production, starting his career as production assistant on musical for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company after having commissioned him a musical for the late Queen’s 60th year.

In 1993, Edward formed the television production company Ardent Productions, from which he stepped down in 2002.

Over the past two decades, and in particular after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departure from the Royal Family as senior royals, both the Earl and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, have acquired a more visible role within the Firm.



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