Article by Natalie Paris
They may have been silent for centuries but some of England’s most popular historic statues are soon to find their voice.
This summer, 35 statues across London and Manchester will begin telling tales of the past through the voices of recognisable British actors and words from our best writers.
To hear the talking statues, who will first clear their throats on August 19, visitors to the cities need to swipe their smartphones over signs beneath the statues to access the monologues.
Playing some of our most notable characters from history – along with Dick Whittington’s Cat – will be Dominic West, as Achilles in Hyde Park; Jeremy Paxman who will defend free speech as John Wilkes in Fetter Lane; Prunella Scales, as Queen Victoria in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens; and Patrick Stewart as the haunting voice of the unknown soldier at Paddington Station.
The statues will be brought to life as part of a project by Sing London, a non-profit arts organisation, with the intention of purely lifting the nation’s spirits.
An earlier scheme run by the organisation saw bins in London start singing at people who threw rubbish in them – to some startled reactions. Watch the bins in full voice by clicking play on the video.
Sing London also installed street pianos and outdoor ping pong tables across London – a project which will return this summer.
For more information see www.singlondon.org.