The couple was joined by Bette Midler, Martin Short, Eric Idle, Jason Alexander, Christina Applegate, Anthony MACkie and William Shatner, among others, who took part in the reading at The Broad Stage venue in Santa Monica.

Hanks and Wilson have spent around 25 years as supporters of the organisation, which provides free performances of William Shakespeare's work around the region.

The Cast Away actor tells The Hollywood Reporter, "A world-class city deserves a world-class Shakespeare company. The challenge is getting people in the seats. L.A. is a big, spread-out place, but all I have to do is get 20 people into the theatre each performance who have never been to the theatre before, and they'll be locked in to come back again and again."

The reading was part of a show called Simply Shakespeare, and Midler also took the stage to perform some of her greatest hits, and MACkie joined her for a duet of Christmas classic Silent Night.