So here’s a novel idea.  Naked Girls….reading.

A performance art production currently showing at the POP Art Theatre in JHB, Naked Girls Reading features beautiful, intelligent women of all shapes and sizes on stage…reading to the audience…in the nude.

Originally conceptualised in Chicago by burlesque stars Michelle La’Mour and her partner Franky Vivid in 2009, the movement has been taken to over 27 countries in the world. It is fast becoming one of the worlds’ most globally recognised literacy awareness concepts, highlighting the art, beauty and indeed necessity of reading – as well as acting as a powerful platform for body positivity in women.

The concept explores poignant themes such as LBGQT equality, politics, global issues, music movements and a variety of other themes – Naked, Bare, Kit Off, No Clothes (even bums and fannies).

With body positivity being one of the most burning topics over the past few years, show producer and director Alicia Skead feels this is an element that the Naked Girls Reading performances most want to help raise awareness on.

“If one person can walk away from the experience with the confidence to look at their own nude bodies and realise the beauty within themselves, then we have done our jobs. We aim to show that you should embrace what and who you are, for what you are.”

Is the nudity a distraction though? Skead states that whilst many people ask the question “why?” before a show, they rarely ask it afterwards. “One of the greatest moments was having an audience member openly admit that if the performers weren’t nude, they probably wouldn’t have listened so closely, and that being nude allowed them to not have a preconceived idea about the readers.”

So how do they choose these women to participate? Smart, well-read confident women seem to be on the line-up, curated, so to speak, by Skead herself. The excerpts from modern fiction, short stories and novels are all selected thematically by the readers themselves and the production is the engagement in what they can share with the audience.

Naked Girls Reading is a quarterly production, with additional pop-up events taking place sporadically. Supported by the POP Art Theatre in Johannesburg, the shows rely heavily on word-of-mouth and social awareness and will be hosting the Ode To Hip-Hop readings this weekend.

Come see them bare it all for your ears.

POP Art Theatre, 286 Fox St, City & Suburban, JHB. +2783 243 1040

Friday 30 June – 8pm

Saturday 1 July – 8pm

Sunday 2 July – 3.30pm

Tickets available at:

R120 online or R130 at the door

The next scheduled performance will be 22, 23 & 24th October as the readers look at the world of the LBGQT Movement.

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Words: Caroline Hillary

Photo Credits: Phillip Santos