LETTERS LIVE WILL TAKE PLACE AT FREEMASONS’ HALL, LONDON, FROM 10-15TH MARCH 2016. TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW
LETTERS LIVE HAS RAPIDLY ESTABLISHED ITSELF AS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING AND UNEXPECTED PERFORMANCE EVENTS TO HAVE EMERGED IN RECENT YEARS.
HANDWRITTEN LETTER FROM BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH TO FATHER CHRISTMAS AVAILABLE FOR PRESS USE
Today, 7th December – National Letter Writing Day – Letters Live announces a limited run at Freemasons’ Hall, London from 10-15th March 2016. To mark the launch of the dates, a range of acclaimed actors, musicians and writers, have lent their support, penning a number of powerful, heartfelt and festive handwritten letters to Father Christmas.
Dear Father Christmas…
“It’s not for us to turn around and plead for your help with the environment, the migrant crisis, the NHS, education, food banks, human rights, fundamentalism and wars. Though God knows we need all the help we can get…you are for the children. Children who need some magic in a world where the borders between innocence and responsibility, playful imagination and cold, adult obstacles are continually shrinking. And this is what I’d like to ask you to help with. A little more time for those children to be children.” – Benedict Cumberbatch
“I won’t ask you to solve the problems of the human race. Those are our problems alone…but perhaps this year you would consider not giving any presents to oil company executives and the politicians whose influence they buy?…and for me, some reading glasses.. the blue ones” – Thom Yorke
“I’ve got some obvious questions around physics…(rotund tum vs narrow chimney, travel time etc) and some ideological questions about the net human gain from a jolly celestial benefactor granting consumer goods…anyway, I’m rambling. Thank you for Jeremy Corbyn, Charlotte Church and the new series of Peep Show” – Russell Brand
“If there’s anything I might request, it would be something completely different. Could you ensure that entire generations aren’t forced to flee their homes in cities, towns and villages in worn torn countries from Syria, to Nigeria because they are being continuously bombed, burned and brutalized at every turn?….Could you very kindly put some sanity and compassion in the hearts of the criminal profiteers of hatred, bloodshed and warfare? Thank you Santa…I truly wish you existed for grown ups” – Annie Lennox
“I am not sure that you can help with my wish or even that I believe that you read these letters any more. Perhaps these days your correspondence goes straight to a limb of the State or to a global retail corporate who then converts a child’s desire for this or that piece of merchandise into a miraculous suggestion in a hapless parent’s e-basket. But hope springs eternal and so I ask whoever is reading to tweak the consciences of the powerful so as to empower the vulnerable. In 2015, let’s save our Human Rights Act.” – Shami Chakabarati
“My request is that you let Mrs Claus come this year. Yes, your silent partner, I know she’s the force that keeps you full of beans. You wouldn’t be so jolly, energetic and kind without the presence of a woman in your life. She must be FANTASTIC. You must love her to bits. You should come too, to share the load, but it would be an enormous inspiration for all of us to feel her awesomeness!” – Thandie Newton
“So I ask this of you, only this, Father Christmas, please could you double your output? On one extra day (in summer perhaps – we do tire of winter), could you come down from your snowy realm and spread good cheer to all? Make it so that on one additional day of the year we make Christmas-like effort to be lovingly kind to all and everyone.” – Yann Martel
“Father Christmas, my request is a simple one: Clouds. Give my people clouds and then let the clouds give them rain. Let the song of rain surround my people. Let the rhythm of rain drums upon my people.” – Lemn Sissay
**All letters will be available in full on Monday, on www.letterslive.com**
Inspired by Shaun Usher’s international best-selling Letters of Note series, Letters Live is a live celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence. Each show always features a completely different array of great performers, reading remarkable letters written over the centuries and from around the world. One of the joys of Letters Live is that one never knows who is going to take to the stage or what letter they are going to bring alive.
Following a sell out run at Freemasons’ Hall in 2015, Letters Live returns in 2016 with six evening shows and one matinee and a family special on Saturday 15th March. Tickets prices start at £35 and go up to £75+
The last run of Letters Live events at the Freemasons’ Hall saw letters written by people as varied as David Bowie, Marge Simpson, Mohandas Gandhi, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Kurt Vonnegut, Charlotte Bronte, Richard Burton and Che Guevara being read by the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliet Stevenson, Ian McKellen, Kylie Minogue, Russell Brand, Caitlin Moran, Matt Berry, Louise Brealey, Tom Sturridge, Ellie Bamber, Tom Hiddleston, Sally Hawkins, Sanjeev Bhaskar, and Sir Ben Kingsley. Surprise musical guests included Tom Odell, Natalie Clein and Kelvin Jones.
Watch the highlights here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1890s8zs14
About Letters Live Benedict Cumberbatch has written: “Letters Live makes us pause and imagine the lives behind the letters read and the circumstances of their origin…. It’s a privilege to read this most ancient of communications live to an audience. A truly inspiring event.”
Letters Live has supported a range of UK literacy initiatives via auctions and audience fundraising. Beneficiaries in the UK to date have included Nick Hornby’s Ministry of Stories, a creative writing and mentoring centre in East London for young people aged 8-18; and First Story, a school’s outreach literacy project founded by writer William Fiennes, as well as The Reading Agency. In June Letters Live co-presented its first event in Los Angeles, along with Dave Eggers’ literacy charity 826LA, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and raising over $300,000.
National Letter Writing Day also marks the re-launch of www.letterslive.com, a rich archive for fans and literary enthusiasts of Letters of Note that includes a selection of recordings of Letters Live alumni reading their favourite letters.
Since its creation by Canongate Books in 2013, the Letters Live franchise has continued to grow its presence around the world. Having partnered with film and television production company SunnyMarch in 2015, Letters Live will be announcing a further 25-30 dates across 2016, starting with these seven new shows at the Freemasons’ Hall in March 2016.