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Talking Statues of London

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by Lionel (subscribe)
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talking statues
Photo courtesy of The Royal Parks

5,000 acres of historic parkland in London have always provided opportunities for enjoyment and healthy living in the city for almost 40 million Londoners and tourists each year. Since August 2014, the Royal Parks have taken on an animated characteristic thanks to the partnership between the Royal Parks and Royal Parks Foundation and non-profit arts organisation Sing London.

Entitled 'Talking Statues', this new initiative has not only animated statues in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens but some 20 others around London. Made possible by funding from NESTA digital R & D, Google,, Fieldtrip and the Royal Parks Foundation, this public art project initiated by Sing London aims to lift the public's spirit, connect people to each other and to the public spaces around us.

Passers-by can simply swipe their smartphones on the nearby tag and get a personal 3 minute monologue 'call back' from the statues. Some of the country's most celebrated writers and celebrities have come together to create and deliver the characterful monologues.

dominic west
Dominic West / Photo courtesy of The Royal Parks

The 18 feet tribute to Arthur, Duke of Wellington, located near Queen Elizabeth Gate at Hyde Park Corner is voiced by 'The Wire' actor Dominic West. The monologue for Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War is written by award-winning playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz.

The 100 year old bronze Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens has found its voice through Daniel Roche, the star of popular BBC TV series 'Outnumbered'. The monologue written by acclaimed playwright Ella Hickson recreates the magic of the boy who never grew up and transports both adult and children listeners to Neverland.
achilles statue
Achilles Statue in Hyde Park / Photo courtesy of The Royal Parks

Other Talking Statues around London include:

Shakespeare in the British Library, written by Ed Wiles and animated by Simon Callow

Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street, written by Anthony Horowitz and animated by Ed Stoppard

Isaac Newton in the British Library, written by Timberlake Wertenbaker and animated by Simon Russell Beale

Whittington's Cat in Islington, written and animated by Helen Lederer

Hugh Myddelton in Islington, written by Tom Basden and animated by Jonny Sweet

Goat in Spitalfields, written and animated by Hugh Dennis

The Broad Family in Broadgate City of London, written by Lucy Caldwell and animated by Maisie Williams

Eye I in Broadgate City of London, written and animated by Sara Pascoe

Hodge the Cat in City of London, written by Catherine Hiller and animated by Nicholas Parsons
peter pan statue
Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Gardens / Photo courtesy of The Royal Parks

John Wilkes in City of London, written and animated by Jeremy Paxman

Rowland Hill in City of London, written by Colette Hiller and animated by Alan Johnson MP

Queen Victoria in City of London, written by Elizabeth Day and animated by Prunella Scales

Ariel & Prospero in BBC Broadcasting House, written by Robert Seatter and animated by Mat Horne

Couple on a Seat in Canary Wharf, written by Nikesh Shukla and animated by Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal

Brunel in Paddington Station, written by Rachel Wagstaff and animated by Hugh Bonneville

Unknown Soldier in Paddington Station, written by Tony Harrison and animated by Patrick Stewart

Leaping Hare in Broadgate City of London, written by Ann Wickham and animated by Ken Bruce

2 Men on a Bench in Canary Wharf, written by Lolita Chakrabarti and animated by Adrian Lester

Queen Victoria in Kensington Palace, written by Katrina Hendrey and animated by Patricia Hodge

Rush Hour in Broadgate City of London, written and animated by Clive Anderson.

While most of us tend to walk past these statues without a second glance, this innovative project now brings them to life through technology. Talking Statues also interact with the public on a range of topics from Greek mythology and children's fiction to politics. So head over to one of the above locations and enjoy the animated statues till September.
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Why? Where else can you hear statues talk?
When: All day
Where: Various locations around London
Cost: Free
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