The performing arts industry has got the recognition it deserves today after a Royal visited the town.

HRH Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward was shown around Read College in Reading this morning (December 4).

He was introduced to key staff members – with social distancing and face coverings - as well as to discuss future plans the college has for development.

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Jamie Read Joint Founder of READ College, said: “We are thrilled to be able to host The Earl of Wessex at the college and to have the chance to introduce some of our staff and students who are so dedicated to the Performing Arts.

"Our sector is having a really hard time at the moment and as a charity, things have been especially difficult.

"This visit by His Royal Highness is a real boost to our staff and students.”

Read College is home to the UK's leading Performing Arts Foundation College and boasts famous patrons, including actress Dame Judi Dench and Craig Revel Horwood.

Founded in 2008 by Jamie and Helen Read, the college runs full-time sixth form and foundation courses in Acting and Musical Theatre and supports under-represented young people in the Performing Arts through its charitable work, known as Access to The Arts.

Co-founder and Joint CEO, Helen Read, trained at the English National Ballet before performing professionally for Sir Matthew Bourne and alongside Hugh Jackman.

Helen said: “I am thrilled to be able to present the college and our students to The Earl of Wessex.

"Everyone at the college works tirelessly to ensure that first class training is given to each student.

"It is so fulfilling to be an integral part of the professional training of young people.”

His Royal Highness was shown the college premises at Palmer Park and the future vision for the college, as well as meeting key staff members.

To give The Earl of Wessex a real feel of the college, students spoke to him about their experience of Access to The Arts, and performed extracts of their work in a live, Covid-safe demonstration.

One of the students Martial, 20, performed a scene from William Shakespeare's Othello.

Speaking about his performance he said: "I was a bit nervous at the beginning I could literally feel my heart but then I got on stage and at the end you’re just performing so that’s what we do.

"I could see that people were really being focused.”

19-year-old Sophie Maybury was one of the students that spoke with Prince Edward. 

She said: "It was pretty amazing really to see how interested he was in what we’re training and he was also really interested in our back story and how we got into performing arts which was really nice to see."