Prince Edward praises Reading theatre for helping young people from all backgrounds into performing arts as he is announced as its new patron
- The Earl of Wessex has been named royal patron for Reading Repertory Theatre
- Prince Edward, 58, has been an active force in the UK’s performing arts scene
- He says that he looks forward to supporting the theatre’s inspiring work
The Earl of Wessex has been granted a new role after being announced patron of Reading Repertory theatre.
Prince Edward, 58, who has a keen interest in the arts, marked his new role on Monday by visiting the Berkshire theatre, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
It is also one year since the opening of the theatre’s 163-seat theatre and cultural hub.
Speaking about his new patronage the Earl, who is thirteenth in line to the throne, said: ‘Reading Rep is rapidly becoming an essential part of the arts scene in Reading for three really good reasons.’
The Earl of Wessex has been named royal patron for Reading Repertory Theatre. Prince Edward, 58, has been an active force in the UK’s performing arts scene since the 1990s
Referring to its work with young people, Prince Edward added: ‘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.’
During his visit, Edward attended Reading Rep’s corporate partnership scheme launch.
The event provided opportunity for business across Reading and the Thames Valley to connect and network.
The Earl is patron of a range of organisations working in the performing arts sector including the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, Northern Ballet and The Orpheus Centre Trust.
Reading Rep: 10, the theatre’s 10th anniversary season, features a mixture of bold new work, reimagined classics and family favourites.
This is an important year for Reading Repertory Theatre, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary and the first anniversary of its 163-seat theatre and cultural hub
Paul Stacey, founding artistic director of Reading Rep, said about their new 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.’
The Earl of Wessex was previously a production assistant at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company, working behind the scenes, handling paperwork on musicals such as Cats and Starlight Express.
He also organised a televised royal version of It’s A Knockout in 1987 and persuaded the Princess Royal and Duke and Duchess of York to dress up in medieval costumes and perform slapstick feats for the TV game show.
The Earl of Wessex said that he is looking forward to supporting the theatre with its work in the local community as it works to inspire young people in performing arts
Prince Edward also set up a production firm, The Theatre Division, staging plays before its collapse in 1991.
The Prince two years later created the film company Ardent Productions; putting his own money into the project.
He eventually stepped down from commercial work in 2002 following controversy over the Wessexes’ dual roles, and Ardent was voluntarily dissolved in 2009 with assets of just £40.
Earlier this month Prince Edward announced that he had promised his late father, Prince Philip that he would support young people across the world.
In a video shared on the Royal Family’s official Instagram page, Prince Edward, 58, was seen speaking during a visit to Romania for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Forum.
The Earl of Wessex was previously a production assistant at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company, working behind the scenes, handling paperwork on musicals such as Cats and Starlight Express
He said: ‘Our promise to Prince Philip should be that where there are young people with difficulties to face growing up in this modern and complicated world, then The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award will always be there for them.’
Prince Edward has long had an affinity with the scheme and many years ago it was announced that his mother and Prince Philip wanted him to take on the Duke of Edinburgh title.
The dukedom was expected to be passed to Edward after Buckingham Palace announced in 1999 that he would succeed his father ‘in due course’ with both his parents’ blessing.
His patronage with Reading Rep, is just another example of the Prince’s commitment to offering creative and supportive outlets to young people.
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