After playing World War II code breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, Benedict Cumberbatch is now participating in Letters Live, where he is reading a letter written by Alan Turing.
Letters Live is an event that was created by independent publishing house Canongate. The event is dedicated to the art of letter writing, something that occurs less and less is this world of increasingly electronic communication. During the event, celebrities red “correspondence deserving of a wider audience,” in front of a live audience, according to Letters Live.
Among the letters read are Virginia Woolf’s suicide note, Gandhi’s missive for peace to Hitler, a recipe that Queen Elizabeth sent to President Eisenhower for drop scones, a telegram from the sinking Titanic, and a letter from Fidel Castro to Roosevelt.
Letters Live was inspired by Shaun Usher’s anthology and blog, “Letters of Note”, as well as “To the Letter” by Simon Garfield.
This year is the first time that Letters Live has also made recordings of the readings available for public viewing.
Cumberbatch reads “Yours in distress”, a letter written by Alan Turing to Norman Rutledge in 1952:
“Letters Live makes us pause and imagine the lives behind the letters read and the circumstances of their origin,” Benedict Cumberbatch said in a statement. “The relationship between the audience, reader and writer on a Letters Live night helps deepen our understanding of these inspiring artifacts of the human condition. They are windows into the love, beauty, pain, and humor of their creators and recipients. It’s a privilege to read this most ancient of communications live to an audience.”
Letters Live takes place from 31 March to 4 April and will raise money for literacy charities the Reading Agency, First Story and Ministry of Stories.
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