Naked Girls Reading: Out with the old, in with the nude

Naked Girls Reading. Picture: Supplied

Naked Girls Reading. Picture: Supplied

This global movement is about creating a platform for women (and sometimes men) to claim back the beauty of their bodies.

Nudity in theatre is not something new, but using nudity to fuel literacy is. Doing it in the age of social media is brilliant.

If you haven’t watched a live theatre show this year, direct your attention to POPArt Theatre in Maboneng, which presents Naked Girls Reading: Out With The Old, In With The Nude this weekend.

Co-producers Hayleigh Evans and Orly Shapiro and director Alicia Skead are doing something unique this year.

For 90 minutes, the show challenges a range of preconceived ideas surrounding nudity, literacy and the female form – but this 10th edition promises to be more interesting.

Initially, the production was meant to be about local writers and readers but after the group’s Facebook page was shut down, for the group, the word bravery took on a whole new meaning. Now, they’re dealing with their own level of censorship.

Running a page with the word “naked” exposes the group to the tyranny of the internet – where groups sometimes never contextualise the meaning behind groups like this one.

The group believes that under no circumstances should people sitting behind a screen be allowed to harass the curators and administrators of a page with unsolicited pictures of their poorly lit male appendages.

It also faces constant attempts of talking dirty or soliciting sex. It’s a fascinating lesson in social media, while Facebook allows users some measures of control – like blocking unwanted users.

When one of the producers tried to report and block people – just the opposite happened – the Facebook page was shut down, including the producers’ personal pages.

Naked Girls Reading has been anything but salacious, as one can see from responses of the media, audiences and more importantly, the performers themselves. This global movement is about creating a platform for women (and sometimes men) to claim back the beauty of their bodies, because they are just that – bodies.

In today’s world, body positivity and a drive to re-instil a love for literacy is by no means something that should be shut down. This idea of censorship is one that extends far beyond just taking down a Facebook page – and that is why this year’s performances are meant to start a conversation with the performers around these honest and timely topics.

What to expect

What is Naked Girls Reading? At each event, a small cast of beautiful ladies remove their clothing (yes, all of it) and read to an adoring audience.

Are the girls really naked? Yes, they are. Is the audience naked? No, they are not.

Do the girls read to themselves or out loud? They read out loud to the audience. It is entertaining, magical, often funny, sometimes heart-wrenching and even sexy.


  • Performances are on Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3.30pm. Tickets cost between R100 and R120.
  • Book securely online with a credit card for any show at POPArt Theatre.
  • Go to

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