The Semi-Circle
   English Language Theatre in
   Basel since 1975


Play readings

The Semi-Circle Play readings take place once a month.  Members and non-members are welcome to join us at these informal sessions - to read with us, or simply listen.

Location: The Library, Centrepoint Building, Im Lohnhof 8, 4051 Basel (see map).  The doors open at 7pm, and we start the play reading promptly at 7.30pm.

Please note:

Due to the current Covid-19 situation we will continue with our, very successful, virtual monthly play readings and do not expect to return to live readings at Centrepoint during the first half of 2021. We will monitor the situation and, of course, let you know if circumstances change.

Our next virtual play  reading will be on 28th April at 19.30, when we read:

East is East
by Ayub Khan Din

Ayub Khan Din based his debut play East Is East on his own childhood in Salford, in the north of England. Like the characters in the play, Khan Din comes from a large family with a Pakistani father and a white mother.

Set in the 1970s in Salford, the play is dominated by the character of George Khan, known as ‘Genghis’ to his six kids. George is a proud Pakistani man, but he is also volatile and, at times, violent. He’s married to Ella, a white British woman – though he has a Pakistani wife he keeps threatening to bring over to England – and together they run a chip shop.

Khan Din’s play explores the various ways the Khan children negotiate their identity as British Asians, whether through sneakily eating bacon and sausages, rejecting their father’s diktats on clothing and religion, or refusing to learn Urdu. Only Maneer is obedient, but this does not spare him his father’s violence. 

East is East won the John Whiting Award in 1996 and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 1998. It was later adapted into a feature film, with a screenplay by the author, and became one of the most successful British films ever made.

You can join us for this play reading by replying to me (Alison) at

As we have been doing recently:

I will send a Zoom meeting invitation to all those who let me know that they wish to join the reading. I will project a rolling copy of the script on to the screen at the reading.

As usual one of us will introduce the play and will direct proceedings. 

Please note that there is no need for you to have Zoom set up on your device as logging in to the meeting will automatically trigger a Zoom download. If possible, you should use your laptop/PC and microphone and loudspeaker. A tablet should also work if you prefer and you can try a mobile phone although this is not ideal. For those of you new to this technology as well as the script, you should expect to be able to see and hear all participants.

As always you do not have to read but can still join in to say hello and listen.

We look forward to "seeing" you at our next reading and, in the meantime, stay well and stay safe.


Alison Bolton

Secretary, The Semi-Circle

Future dates 2021
  • April 28
  • May tbd
  • June tbd
  • July tbd
  • September tbd
  • October tbd
  • November tbd
  • December tbd


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    A little bit of history ...

    The origins of The Semi-Circle date from the 1960s when some British Circle drama enthusiasts took the opportunity to meet together and hold informal play readings. These British Circle members eventually began to rehearse some plays, which they then performed for family and friends.

    In 1976, The Semi-Circle (see picture below) was formed and has continued to explore drama through play readings and fully-staged performances ever since. 

    Down the years the play readings took place in many restaurants and other venues, during ski-weekends, while enjoying a Basel-based barbecue, and occasionally on Sunday afternoons in the small amphitheater in Bruglingen in the Merian Gardens.

    Through the years the play readings have experienced ups and downs, but enthusiasm for them has never waned as you can see from the photos below.

    Here is a list of the plays that we have read from 2010 to 2021.


    The Semi-Circle is pleased to announce that we have received a generous gift of a large number of books and play scripts from the estate of long time Semi-Circle member Richard Levitt who sadly died in 2017.



    The photo above is from one of The Semi-Circle's first rehearsed play readings (1976): "Heartbreak House" by George Bernard Shaw.

    Below is a picture from our latest reading in December 2019 - still going strong!



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