Letters Live: Events To Honor Literary Correspondence
Have you ever heard about the wonderful and inspiring events where talented narrators read extraordinary letters written over the centuries (and from around the world) in front of a wider audience?
Yup, these events are called Letters Live and since the premiere at London’s Tabernacle in December 2013, the independent publishing house Canongate and their partner, the independent film and television production company, Sunnymarch (founded by Benedict Cumberbatch and Adam Ackland) organize them in the UK and internationally.
The geniuses behind the Letters Live events were primarily inspired by Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter (both series are international bestsellers, btw).
To this day more than sixty times a wide range of engaging letters is read in front of different audiences, including stages in Los Angeles, New York, Brixton Prison, and the Calais Jungle. The world’s most famous stage, the Royal Albert Hall, hosted the event in front of more than 5,000 people. Except for the reading letters performances, there are also live concerts included.
Moreover, Letters Live is not just an entertainment show, it is organized for a good cause. All proceeds from this show are intended for charitable purposes.
Letters read at the last show which was a part of WOW – Women of the World at London’s Southbank Centre in March 2020 included ones written by Margaret Mead, Clementine Churchill, Frida Kahlo, Melissa Harris Parry, Rose McGowan, Stephen Callaghan, and others.
What is also interesting is that each show features different performers and the audience doesn’t know who they’ll be since the line-up is never announced in advance. Yet, there are some regulars like Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry.
In the past Letters Live shows, some of the narrators were Florence Welch, Jude Law, Crystal Clarke, Paul Ryan, Sir Ian McKellen, Tom Hiddleston, Juliet Stevenson, Kylie Minogue, and others.
Since the world’s population has been in lockdown, there is, of course, no possibility for Letters Live show to be performed, that’s why they launched a campaign called #ReadALetter. As it’s stated on their website they are “opening the stage to everyone and asking the world to share letters of hope, education, love, appreciation, respect, thanks, solace, and support […]”.
So, my dear ones, if you have an interesting letter and would like to share it with the world, you can do it very easily, thanks to the #ReadALetter campaign. You even have the option of not recording yourself with a camera while reading if you don’t want that. Your readings will be shared on Letters Live’s YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
Read here all about how you can participate.
Watch Benedict Cumberbatch’s invitation to the #ReadALetter campaign in the video below.