Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey will be performing every night reading letters alongside a diverse array of world class performers, including luminaries from the stage, screen, music, art and literary worlds. The performers will not be announced in advance and every night will be unique!
Inspired by Letters of Note, the bestselling anthology compiled by Shaun Usher, and To the Letter by Simon Garfield, Letters Live is a series of curated, live events that celebrate the enduring power of literary correspondence.
Hit the read more to read comments from Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey on what appearing in Letters Live means to them…
Commenting on Letters Live Benedict said:
Letters Live makes us pause and imagine the lives behind the letters read and the circumstances of their origin. The relationship between the audience, reader and writer on a Letters Live night helps deepen our understanding of these inspiring artefacts of the human condition. They are windows into the love, beauty, pain, and humour of their creators and recipients. It’s a privilege to read this most ancient of communications live to an audience.
For me Letters Live celebrates connection. I love letters. I can never bear to throw them away. I have a big tin in my attic: the billets doux I used to fly down to my pigeonhole at college every morning to read and reread; postcards from my French pen-friend who wrote passionately of his feelings for Australian pop sensation Killy Minnow; a post-it note in a padded envelope of motley biros signed ‘A selection of pens. Luv Mum’. And, most precious now, a sheaf of letters that begin “Dear Louisey”, from my friend who died two years ago; the ones from her last months in strangers’ hand-writing because she’d dictated them to a series of carers, but still irrepressibly her. Some of the letters we read out on the night ache with longing, rage, love, or the hope that we are not alone. Some are just brilliantly funny or profane. Standing up there and speaking words written during the Second World War by Bessie Moore – words that were not meant to be spoken aloud even to her lover – is an electrifying privilege. It doesn’t feel like acting, you have to try to get out of the way; I have rarely felt so close to someone I’ve never met.