Past event

Letters Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2022

28 October 2022

Letters Live is back at the Royal Albert Hall for the third time this autumn.


Letters Live is an unmissable celebration of the power of literary correspondence. Each show stars a completely different array of world class performers, reading remarkable letters written over the centuries and from around the world.


One of the joys of Letters Live is that you never know who will take to the stage or what letter they will bring to life. The result is a glorious event like no other and a journey through time that is, by turns, heart-breaking, hilarious and powerful.


The previous two Letters Live shows at the Royal Albert Hall saw talent such as Gillian Anderson, Olivia Colman, Taika Waititi, Brian Cox, Benedict Cumberbatch, Thom Yorke, Jude Law, Stephen Fry, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Florence Welch and Laura Mvula grace the stage, to name just a few.


Join us this October to see who else will tread the boards – it’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable evening.


Thursday 27th October
Tony Robinson


My Dear Ada

Lewis Carroll to Adelaide Paine


O, Excellent Air-Bag!

Robert Southey to Tom Southey



Jordan Stephens


Thank you and I hope you choke

Beatles Fan to Nike


A static present, surrounded by a wall of anxiety

Fernando Pessoa Mario de Sa-Carneiro



Salena Godden


Fortunately, I had my new radio

Mary Grant to A. Walker



Louise Brealey


I shall always be with you

Milada Horakova to her daughter


Such bosh

Jessica Mitford Maya Angelou



Jess Philips


A dangerous cult now runs Britain

Tony Mabbott to the Guardian


Ought women not to be abolished altogether?

Clementine Churchill to The Times



Benedict Cumberbatch


Honestly, I am embarrassed just writing this letter

Andrew Forrester, an open letter


It would be easier and pleasanter to drown myself

George Bernard Shaw Various


Let’s hope it wasn’t all just a bit too late

Ted Hughes to Nicholas Hughes



Kit Harington


I cannot envisage a life without loving you

John Berryman to Chris Haynes


I have had my eye on you

Simon Fallowfield to Mary Foster



Clarke Peters


There is a singular and perpetual charm in a letter of yours

Thomas Bailey Aldrich to Edward S. Morse



Denise Gough


The loss of you lingers

Karin Cook to Joan Cook Carpenter


I want to love first, and live incidentally

Zelda Sayre to F. Scott Fitzgerald



Miriam Margolyes


The loss of you lingers

Queen Victoria to Princess Victoria


I am going to put you to a test

Ayn Rand to her niece



Himesh Patel


I don’t want to be alone

Rupert Brooke to Cathleen Nesbitt


I am unable to accept your rejection at this time

Paul Devlin to Various colleges



Miriam Margolyes and Clarke Peters

The thermometer will burst

Anais Nin and Henry Miller



John Kerry


Wind the clock

E. B. White to Mr. Nadeau





Tom Odell

Just Another Thing That We Don’t Talk About


Max Richter



Lisa from Ibeyi






John Berryman to Chris Haynes, ‘I cannot envisage a life without loving you’, 1947. © The Estate of John Berryman; Clementine Churchill to The Times, ‘Ought women not to be abolished altogether?’, March 30th, 1912. With thanks to The Master, Fellows and Scholars of Churchill College, Cambridge; Karin Cook to Joan Cook Carpenter. ‘The loss of you lingers’, 1999 © Karin Cook; Paul Devlin to various colleges, ‘I am unable to accept your rejection at this time’, © Paul Devlin; Andrew Forrester, ‘Honestly, I am embarrassed just writing this letter’, April 2018. © Andrew Forrester; Ted Hughes to Nicholas Hughes, ‘Let’s hope it wasn’t all just a bit too late’, 20th February 1998. © the Estate of Ted Hughes; Tony Mabbott to the Guardian, ‘A dangerous cult now runs Britain’, May 2021. © Tony Mabbott; Jessica Mitford to Maya Angelou, ‘Such bosh’, April 30th 1992. © the Estate of Jessica Mitford; Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller, ‘The thermometer will burst’, August 1932. © The Anais Nin Trust and the Estate of Henry Miller. Reproduced by permission of the Anais Nin Trust and the Curtis Brown Group Ltd, London, on behalf of The Beneficiaries of the Estate of Henry Miller; Fernando Pessoa to Mario de Sa-Carneiro, ‘A static present, surrounded by a wall of anxiety’, 14th March 1916. Translation © Richard Zenith; Ayn Rand to Connie Papurt, 22nd May 1949” by Ayn Rand. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Copyright © 1997 All Rights reserved; George Bernard Shaw to Various, reproduced by permission of the Society of Authors, on behalf of the Estate of George Bernard Shaw; E. B. White to Mr. Nadeau, ‘Wind the clock’, March 30th, 1973. © the White Literary LLC;


Friday 28th October

Friday 28th October
Hassan Akkad / Little Amal


Dear Amal

Various to Little Amal



Sue Perkins


We are all terribly sorry

Phyllida Law to Mother-in-Law


Don’t try to make yourself into somebody perfect

Clarice Lispector to her sister



Stephen Mangan


Any modern poet will do

Adrian Mole to the BBC


That is the last time I inconvenience myself for my children

Evelyn Waugh to Laura Waugh



Julian Clary


That’s showbiz

Julian Clary to Nick


Good-day, little rascal, pussy-pussy, little turned-up nose

Mozart to his wife



Louise Brealey


How it hurts to write this

Eleanor Wimbish to her son


I want nobody but you for my lover

Katherine Mansfield to John Murry



Toby Jones


I consider reading the greatest bargain in the world

Gene Roddenberry to a young Star Trek fan


Farewell, wretch that I loved

George Bernard Shaw to Mrs Patrick Campbell



Sheila Atim


Dear Us

Toni Morrison to Black women


Dear Sir

Sarah-Louise Jordan to an admirer



Graham Norton


Go over and punch him

Graham Norton to Various


I am distinctly conscious of the contents of my head

Joseph Conrad to his editor



Dawn O’Porter


Have a happy period

Wendi Aarons to James Thatcher



Sheila Atim, Louise Brealey, Dawn O’Porter, Benedict Cumberbatch, Julian Clary


How much are your melons?

Various to Blue Peter



Jonathan Pryce


There is a great deal of beauty in the world

Rainer Maria Rilke to Helmuth Westhoff


I had a job to do

Dr. Luis Alvarez to his son



Benedict Cumberbatch


We all feel like that now and then

Archibald Kerr to Reginald Pembroke



Bill Safire to H. R. Haldeman



Krishnan Guru-Murthy


The High Road

B Perry to Metro


For the sake of humanity

Gandhi to Hitler



Dolly Alderton


It’s never going to be easy

Hannah Strong to her mum



Dawn O’Porter and Dolly Alderton


The Stones are dirty and sloppy and they repugnate me

Kathy to Pam






Border Bodies


Marlon Williams

He Wawata


Anna Lapwood (organ)

Cornfield Chase, from Hans Zimmer’s score for Intersellar


Wendi Aarons to James Thatcher, Proctor and Gamble, ‘Have a Happy Period’, 2007, © Wendi Aarons; Pamela Des Barres and Kathy & Stevie, ‘The Stones are dirty and sloppy and they repugnate me’, May 1965. © Pamela Des Barres; Nick Burchill to the Empress Hotel, 2018. © Nick Burchill; John le Carré to David Greenway, 25th November 2020. © Viereck Ltd.; Julian Clary to Nick, ‘That’s showbiz’, 1992. © Julian Clary; Sarah-Louise Jordan, ‘Dear Sir’, © Sarah-Louise Jordan; Phyllida Law to her mother-in-law, ‘We are all terribly sorry’. © Phyllida Law; Clarice Lispector to Tania Kaufmann, ‘Don’t try to make yourself into somebody perfect’, 6th January 1948. From: Clarice Lispector: Letter ‘Para Tania Kaufmann, Berna 6 de janerio de 1948’, Todas as Cartas © 2019, Paulo Gurgel Valente. Translation © Ana Fletcher; Toni Morrison to Black Women, ‘Dear Us’, 1985. Copyright © 1985 by the Estate of Chloe A. Morrison. Performed and recorded by permission of ICM Partners; Hannah Strong to her mum, ‘It’s never going to be easy’, January, 2018. © Hannah Strong; Adrian Mole to the BBC, ‘Any modern poet will do’, 12th June 1982. From ‘The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole’ (1984) © Sue Townsend; Adrian Mole to the BBC, ‘Our telephone has been disconnected again’, 14th February 1985. From ‘The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole’ (1989) © Sue Townsend; Letter to Laura Waugh dated 25th August 1945 by Evelyn Waugh. Copyright © 1945, Evelyn Waugh, used by permission of The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited.