Stars of stage and screen want to read your funniest texts outloud

Photo credit: James D Kelly
Photo credit: James D Kelly

Think of those text messages that pop up on your phone screen while you sit in a silent train carriage and force a loud laugh from your belly. The ones that you screenshot and save so you don’t forget them, which no responsive emoji will be able to convey the surprise and elation you felt reading them.

Now, imagine those messages being read aloud by Denise Gough, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Dougray Scott, or one of the many brilliant actors who will assemble at the Savoy on 25 April, to celebrate the joy of text.

Inspired by a particularly memorable written conversation between the mother and brother of the Mary Queen of Scots director Josie Rourke, the evening will see stars (also including Nicholas Pinnock, Tamsin Greig and Indira Varma) take to the stage to artfully deliver such messages in the hotel’s grand theatre.

The evening will support the the Ambassador Theatre Group Prize in association with Platform Presents, whose annual open call for original scripts offers its winner the opportunity to see their work produced, as well as ongoing mentorship and a cash prize. The aim is to encourage fresh creativity within the world of theatre, something that has been made all the more crucial since the pandemic. “I’ve seen first-hand the power of theatre and what it can do to truly transform people’s lives,” says Denise Gough of the initiative.

“As a child I went to the theatre a lot with my parents and I experienced a form of escapism I didn’t know was possible,” adds fellow actress Pippa Bennett-Warner. “Theatre is such a magical thing and I can’t imagine a world without it.”

Rourke, together with Macpherson and Amy Gardner of Finite Films, is issuing a call for members of the public to send in their most raucous, rib-tickling texts by 22 April for a chance to hear them included in the show. So, gather your messages and send them to Those of a more bashful disposition should note, names may be concealed.

‘The Joy of Text’ is at the Savoy Theatre on 25 April. Tickets cost from £20 and are available at

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