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Bringing London’s Statues to Life

No, it’s not jetlag or one pint too many. That statue did, in fact, just speak to you. This summer, Sing London, a non-profit arts organization will be turning 35 of the city’s statues into talking tales of the past. Part of an initiative to “lift the nation’s spirits” these historical spots in London (and Manchester) will be chatting away all season long.

Visitors will hear recognizable British actors’ voices by swiping a smartphone over a sign beneath the statue, which will then call the phone and play a monologue. Hear Dominic West as Achilles, Jeremy Paxman as John Wikes, and Prunella Scales as Queen Victoria. You’ll be able to listen to history starting August 19.

Here’s where you can hear the stories of four famous (fictional and real) Brits:

Peter Pan

Located in Kensington Gardens, the statue of Peter Pan will tell its story through the voice of actor Daniel Roche. The statue stands near where Peter Pan’s author, J.M. Barrie, lived and published the story, and where Peter flies out of his nursery.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes has been played by 75 actors in over 200 films. Hear yet another take on the brilliant detective by Ed Stoppard, outside the tube at Baker Street Station.

Queen Victoria

Manchester’s statue of Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens will now have the voice of the famous Fawlty Towers actress, Prunella Scales. Fun Fact: This particular Widow of Windsor is only one of two Queen Victoria statues out of hundreds with speaking capabilities (the other will be in London on Blackfriars Bridge).

Isaac Newton

Simon Russell Beale gives voice to the statue of the famous scientist hunched over in the piazza of the British Library.

Sing London is also behind the hilarious “singing trash bin” that sings whenever anyone throws anything away. And this summer, it will also bring back (for six weeks) its popular street pianos and outdoor ping pong tables.

See a full list of the Talking Statues Speak Their Minds initiative here.

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