The Diary: Reading Festival; John Simm in Hamlet; Sons of Admirals; Southwark Playhouse; Aled Jones

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The Independent Culture

Reading festival

The number of library visitors in the UK is falling, and it's estimated that between 600 and 1,000 libraries will close in the next year. Indie-pop band The Crookes are on a mission to bring young people back to their local libraries by embarking on a Get It Loud in Libraries tour next month. The four-piece from Sheffield, who have a fan in Richard Hawley, and favour romantic, literary lyrics, are all English-literature graduates and will play five public libraries around the country. Their upcoming EP on Fierce Panda, Dreams of Another Day, quotes Evelyn Waugh, while they cite Jack Kerouac's On the Road as a handbook to their busy touring schedule. On their tour they're also inviting fans to bring their favourite books to recommend or swap with each other to make this the most literary of rock tours. Singer George Waite said: "We've read and re-read all of our books a hundred times and can't afford new ones – the book-swaps we're holding will provide us with a whole new library."

Master class

Tickets for John Simm's performance in Hamlet at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre have been selling to theatre-goers from such far-flung destinations as Japan, North Korea, USA, Italy, Germany, as well as from London. It's no surprise that people are flocking thousands of miles to see the talented actor from Life on Mars at the Crucible, where all its 980 seats are within 20 metres of the stage. There's limited availability left for the run which opens on Wednesday.

Funnel vision

There is a band with more YouTube fans than Lady Gaga. Sons of Admirals are a group of the digital generation: the four friends met on YouTube, and will release their debut single, a cover of Cat Stevens's 1967 hit "Here Comes My Baby", on 18 October digitally only. Based in London, each member is a global YouTube star. Views for their individual channels top 90 million, while band-member Charlie McDonnell boasts the most subscribed channel in the UK, with 200,000 more subscribers than Lady Gaga's official channel. Calling their sound "accessible steam-punk pop", the band launched their video for the single on McDonnell's YouTube channel, charlieissocoollike.

Playhouse is a tomb with a view

Next month Southwark Playhouse will be transported back to its supposedly eerie past: it is believed that, during the Second World War, the subterranean railway arches which now form the theatre were used as a morgue. At this year's Terror 2010: Death and Resurrection season, four short plays by Neil LaBute, Mark Ravenhill, April DeAngelis and William Ewart will explore classic, cult and contemporary horror. Plays will be interspersed with cabaret from songstress Sarah Louise Young and magic. The season is from 12 to 31 October. At the start of last year's sold-out run, the unexplained bare footprints of a small child were discovered on the freshly painted set... Be afraid.

Hymn and her

Isabel Suckling, the choirgirl who, at 12 years old, is the youngest classical artist ever to sign to a major label, and the first choirgirl to sign a record deal, is now managed and mentored by none other than Mr Choirboy himself – Aled Jones. When Jones had a top-five hit with "Walking in the Air" in 1985, the chorister world was, traditionally, exclusively for boys. Dickon Stainer, president of Decca Records Group, said: "When I was a chorister, it was still boys-only. Today marks the start of girl power for choristers. So we are delighted to have Isabel record for Decca". Just before Suckling went on stage at her showcase at The Music Room, in South Molton Lane in London, on Tuesday, Jones noticed that she was looking nervous, so he gave her some advice: "Just picture everyone in the audience naked"; to which Suckling hooted and replied: "Thanks a lot. Now I'll just look out there and laugh." And there we all were thinking that choristers were holier than thou. Her debut album is set to be a Christmas hit.