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, Audible.co.uk, 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.
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 in Hyde Park / Photo courtesy of The Royal Parks
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.