14th September 2018
If statues could talk, what stories would they tell?
Ten of Norwich’s historic statues have been given the gift of the gab! Stephen Fry and Olivia Colman are amongst the writers and actors bringing the city’s statues to life. Together, they tell Norwich’s story.
Talking Statues, designed by Sing London, has seen statues brought to life in London, Manchester, Dublin and Chicago. Now local production company, Creative Nation are bringing the project to Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature with the help of partner organisations across the city.
Working with the National Centre for Writing, they have commissioned some of Norwich’s most celebrated writers and actors, alongside emerging local talent, to give Norwich’s statues a voice.
Some approaches are dramatic, others comic and others pure flights of fantasy. All aim to persuade the public to look at the statues, and their place within the city, with new eyes.
Alice Whitney, the project producer from Creative Nation said:
‘I grew up in Norwich, and since relocating back to the area, I knew that I wanted to do something to showcase the city I love and its incredible heritage and cultural landscape. Having been on the advisory board of Sing London for the last decade, and having been involved with Talking Statues previous iterations, I just knew it would provide the perfect platform for us to celebrate our Fine city!”
The statues provide signposts to and a resource for the city’s cultural, heritage and civic organisations where participants can go and learn more about the real people behind the statues, and their work and lives in the city.
Talking Statues combines imaginative creative content and performance, with digital location technology to breathe new life into the statues that surround us.
To hear them speak, simply pass a Talking Statue, use your phone to scan the QR code or enter the short URL on the nearby plaque and hey presto, the statue calls you. When you receive your first call, your phone will take you to the website where you can learn more and download a map.
There is no charge to access Talking Statues, but network charges apply. Thanks to our partners at Norwich Business Improvement District (BID)/VisitNorwich, you may access them via their FREE city centre WIFI offer.
For more information about the app and the city, including events, download the free VisitNorwich app or check out visitnorwich.co.uk.
Printed maps will also be available at locations across the City. Transcripts are available on request for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The ten statues are:
- Lord Nelson– Written and voiced by Stephen Fry. In the Cathedral Close. How does Nelson feel about how we have chosen to remember him, and how did being from Norfolk make him the man he was?
- Julian of Norwich- Written by Sarah Perry and voiced by Olivia Colman. Also at the Cathedral, Julian wants to tell you a story about how she came to be here, if you could spare her a moment?
- Peace- Written and voiced by Molly Naylor. At the junction of Agricultural Hall Plain and Castle Meadow. Peace wants to talk to you about her role and what she can see from up high.
- The City Hall Lions- Written by Karl Minns and voiced by The Nimmo Twins. At the front steps of City Hall. The Lions have 80 years of history to share with you, from their unique perspective of the city.
- Thomas Browne- Written by George Szirtes and voiced by Adam Buxton. In the Haymarket. Thomas is feeling reflective of his life, work and persona.
- Will Kempe– Written and voiced by Luke Wright. In Chapelfield Gardens. Having been so energetic in life, Will has lots to say about his current situation!
- Peter the Wild Boy- Written by Alexander Gordon Smith and voiced by Keith Skipper. In Bridewell Alley. Allegedly mute in real life, what has Peter got to say for himself and what accent might he have?
- Amelia Opie– Written by Megan Bradbury and voiced by Zoe Telford. On Opie Street. Amelia would like to tell you what motivated and drove her in life and her work.
- Snap the Dragon- located at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell, Snap is the subject of our Under 16’s public writing competition. (More below).
- Missing Statue- located at the Church of St John Maddermarket, this post reformation space is the subject of our Over 16’s public writing competition.
The project has been funded by: The Forum, National Lottery through Arts Council England, Norwich Business Improvement District (BID), Festival Bridge, The Norwich Freemen’s Charity, Historic England and the Norwich Heritage Fund.
A truly cross sector project, it has also had expert advice and in-kind support from Sing London, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council (Museums, Libraries and the Norfolk Record Office), The Churches Conservation Trust and Norwich Cathedral.
Find out more: HERE