Past event

Union Chapel, 2019

7-9 March 2019

On March 7th, 8th and 9th of 2019, Letters Live made its first outing of 2019 by returning to London’s iconic Union Chapel to once again bring letters to life.


Over the course of these three unique evenings, Letters Live brought a diverse array of world-class performers from the stage, screen, music, art and literary worlds to breathe life into correspondence from all walks of life, taking its audience on an emotional and unforgettable journey through time.


Since first taking to the pulpit at the Union Chapel in July 2017, Letters Live have sold out eight shows there and presented audiences with captivating performances from the likes of Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Michael Palin, Helen McCrory, Jeremy Corbyn, Mariella Frostrup, Ade Edmondson, Rose McGowan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nick Cave, Sharon Horgan, Taron Egerton, Damian Lewis, Zawe Ashton, Rob Brydon, Jarvis Cocker and many others.


Thursday, 7th March 2019


Andy Serkis

The cruelest of all animals

George Bernard Shaw to London Daily News

Let us become strangers again

DH Lawrence to Bertrand Russell

Surely this inverts the truth

Nicholas Boyle to FT



Benedict Cumberbatch

What gloomy tidings about the CRABS

Patrick Leigh Fermor to Erica Soma

Shut up and listen

Rik Mayall to Mohamed Al-Fayed

The last mad Empire on earth

Dylan Thomas to Caitlin



Clarke Peters

The Last Hero

Kirk Douglas to Gary Cooper

May we meet in paradise

Theophane Venard to His Father



Clarke Peters and Shappi Khorsandi

Do scientists pray?

Albert Einstein to Phyllis



Edith Bowman

Who is Karen Carpenter

Kim Gordon to Karen Carpenter

How dare you

Aretha Franklin to Liz Smith



Helen McCrory

I am unable to accept your rejection at this time

Paula Devlin to Various Collegues

The Matchbox

Sylvia Townsend to Alyse Gregory



Helen McCrory and Louise Brealey

Christopher’s choking!

Karen A. to Dear Dolly



Julian Clary

Composer for nitwits

Erik Satie

I love you Jac

Bob Monkhouse to Jackie Monkhouse

She diddles all the time

John Newton to Abraham Lincoln



Juliet Stevenson

And that’s that

Edna st Vincent Millay to Norma Millay

She’ll simply change the rules

Patsy Davies to The Guardian

We are all minnows in life together

Martha Gallhorn to Diana Cooper



Louise Brealey

When Death Comes

Aidan Kingwell to Mary Oliver



Sanjeev Bhaskar

Strip down, facing me

Tony Capezza to The Lowell Sun



Sanjeev Bhaskar and Edith Bowman

I’ll never have any friends

Leonard Nimoy to F.C.



Shappi Khorsandi

Speak the truth and shame the devil

Madonna to David Letterman



Stephen Mangan

The Caribbean Airline

Arthur Hicks to Airline

Cease and desist

The Beano to Jacob Rees Mogg

The Cat Ranch

Jack Lemmon to Walter Matthau



Toby Jones

Roald Dahl – Strength through joy
You ignorant freak

Hunter S. Thompson to Dave Allen

Abortion is a terrifying thing

Italo Calvino to Claudio Magris


Friday, 8th March 2019


Adrian Edmnondson and Olivia Colman

You Babylonian scullion

Mehmed IV to Zaporozhian Cossacks


Adrian Edmondson

Two fingers to you

Mike Harding to Theresa May

I do hope she is all right

Gerald Vinestock to The Times

Has anybody got a light

Andy Roberts to Ade Edmondson



Benedict Cumberbatch

There is no danger down here

Wildred Owen to Susan Owen



Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey

My Dear Bessie

Chris Barker to Bessie Moore



Elif Shafak

Europe is home

Various to The Times

This is not a letter

Katherine Mansfield to Leslie Beauchamp


Felicity Jones

And now I must dress to receive the planets, dear

Willa Cather to Edith Lewis And now I must dress to receive the planets, dear

I can only do what feels right

Emma Thompson to SkyDance



John Bishop

Yours with real concern

Graham Chapman to The Bank

The dearest daughter a man could have

Cary Grant to His Daughter



John Simm

I’m confused

Iain Rowan to the Guardian

This would make him mine

JOhn Steinback to Marlyn Monroe



Louise Brealey

Really, Mr. Walpole!

Rebecca West to Hugh Walpole

I shall always be with you

Milada Horakova to her daughter



Meera Syal

The parakeet has a goiter

Brian Doyle to Various

Know that you are loved

Dorothy Freeman to Rachel Carson



Olivia Colman

Don’t forget, dear

Queen Victoria to Princess Victoria

Enough is enough

Marguerite Louise D’orleans to Cosimo III De Medici



Stephen Campbell Moore

I hate everybody

Spike Milligan to Pres of Cambridge Union

Dear Principal

Concerned Parent to School


Saturday, 9th March 2019


Benedict Cumberbatch

Ladies and Gentleman of A.D. 2088

Kurt Vonnegut to 2088

Five accidents in two minutes

Fred Allen to State of NY Insurance dept.

If you are to be, be the first

Yuri Gagarin to Family



Denise Gough

Dear Daughters

Patton Quinn to Her Daughter



Fatima Bhutto

Be brave, and the rest will follow

Jawaharlal Nehru to Daughter



Introduced by Benedict Cumberbatch on stage: Anna Taylor and Ivi Hoffman

We, the young

Student Activist



Jordan Stephens

Music is made out of necessity

Prince to Tom Moon

P.S. This is my favorite memo ever

Matt Stone to MPAA



Jordan Stephens and Benedict Cumberbatch

Blow ’em away, kid

Nick Cave to Ptolemy



Juliet Stevenson

Dame of what?

Dorris Lessing to Alex Allan

I cannot do less

Simone de Beauvoir to Nelson Algren

Tell them you have written to me

Margaret Thatcher to A Young Girl



Katherine Ryan

That’s Deadwood for you

Calamity Jane to Her Daughter

You are an inspiration

Melissa Rivers to Joan Rivers



Lesley Manville

Out of all this came happiness

Diana Athill to Bibi Lynch

I know, Mother, I know

Anne Sexton to Linda Sexton



Lesley Manville and Denise Gough

Christopher’s choking!

Karen A to Dear Dolly



Niamh McGrady

I’m in love with NY

Anais Nin to Henry Miller



Niamh McGrady and Jordan Stephenson

Dear Friend

Hermione Gingold to A Friend



Niamh McGrady and Tom Odell

I write for myself

A Concerned Parent to Green Day



Noel Fielding

How beautiful!

Salvador Dali to Frederico Garcia Lorca

You know who you are (Daft Punk complaint)

Australian Man to His Neighbour

Surely this inverts the truth

Nicholas Boyle to FT



Noel Fielding and Katherine Ryan

I admire your balls

Hunter S. Thomson to Carrie Neftzeger



Thom Yorke

What do you want from life?

David Lavelle to The Telegraph

Maybe we should ban suits

Henry Stewart to the Guardian