Letters Live at Hay Festival

30th - 31st May 2014

The first two Letters Live events to be held at the Hay Festival were spontaneous and packed affairs. When tickets for the first event went on sale and it was announced that Benedict Cumberbatch would be appearing at Hay for the first time, the show sold out in less than half an hour and a second Letters Live date was announced for that same weekend. Both events were a triumph and featured a fantastic array of talent.

The letters read across those two shows included classics written by Richard Avedon, Richard Burton, Frederic Chopin, Iggy Pop, Elvis Presley, William Safire, Matt Stone, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Eudora Welty, EB White and Virginia Woolf. It also saw the first performance by Cumberbatch and his Sherlock co-star Louise Brealey of the much-loved correspondence between Chris Barker and Bessie Moore.

“Benedict Cumberbatch was the star of the show at a Hay Festival reading celebrating the lost art of letter writing… The effect is wonderful; it turns a billowing tent into an intimate space, a reading into a performance.”

Readers included:

  • Louise Brealey
  • Rob Bryden
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Lisa Dwan
  • Geoff Dyer
  • Chris Evans
  • AC Grayling
  • Simon Jenkins
  • Patrick Kennedy
  • John Lloyd
  • Ian McEwan
  • Michael Morpurgo
  • James Rhodes
  • Phillipe Sands
  • Helen Walsh

Music by:

James Rhodes