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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Star voices give life to statues

Published 19/08/2014 | 14:51

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Helen Lederer with a statue of Hodge the Cat at the launch of Talking Statues
Celebrities are helping bring statues to life for mobile phone users

Figures such as stage and screen star Sir Patrick Stewart, comic actress Helen Lederer and Downton Abbey regular Hugh Bonneville are bringing a series of statues to life by giving them a voice.

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P assers-by can swipe their mobile phones on a nearby tag to make 35 sculptures in London and Manchester speak for a new art project.

Other stars who have delivered speeches or readings include Jeremy Paxman, Simon Russell Beale, Hugh Dennis and Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara Oswald in Doctor Who.

Stewart, who gives a voice to the Unknown Soldier at Paddington station, said: " It brings a sense of intimacy and personality to the statues that surround us all."

University Challenge host Paxman reads from his own writings about the MP and radical John Wilkes, Bonneville breathes life into a likeness of Brunel and Lederer speaks about Dick Whittington's cat.

Radio 4's Just A Minute host Nicholas Parsons animates Samuel Johnson's cat, Hodge, while Coleman voices a statue of a girl reading at Manchester Central Library.

The Talking Statues project has been created by Sing London, a non-profit arts organisation which aims to lift the nation's spirits and has previously provided street pianos and ping-pong tables in public places.

Creative director Colette Hiller said: "Most of us hardly notice the statues around us - Talking Statues aims to change this.

"They may be cast in stone but their voices have been set free. We are privileged to have a stellar line-up of writers and actors who have put themselves in the shoes - or in some cases the paws - of these statues."

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