Past event

Union Chapel, 2017

14-15 July 2017

In July of 2017, Letters Live’s first London shows of the year took place at the remarkable Union Chapel, a working church and award-winning venue which has been open to the public since being saved from demolition 25 years ago. Over the course of two evenings an impressive array of talent took to the pulpit to breathe life into letters both new and old.


Our chosen literacy charity for these two shows was First Story, to whom we subsequently donated £12,100.


Friday, 14 July 2017


Clint Dyer

You killed my cat

Guy Davenport to the drivers of Lexington

I’m still here, trying to make it

Jimi Hendrix to his dad

Diversity guarantees our cultural survival

Martin Scorsese to the New York Times



Colin Firth

You will not have my hatred

Antoine Leiris to His Wife’s Killers

I do occasionally eat

Lucian Freud to Lynn Barber



Colin Firth and Taron Egerton

I am awfully comfortable

The Kipling Family



Jon Culshaw

My letters are the greatest

Terry Vaught to the Tampa Bay Times

Save the land of your birth

Nicholas Cummins to the Duke of Wellington

New rubbish dialogue

Alec Guinness to Anne Kaufman



Michael Palin

Two legs are an extravagance

George Bernard Shaw to John Ervine

A strange species we are

John Steinbeck to Adlai Stevenson

To My Grandchildren

Tony Benn to his grandchildren



Noma Dumezweni

Thinking of you to the end

Rose Schlösinger to Marianne Schlösinger

Straighten up and fly right, Banky!

Billie Holliday to Tallulah Bankhead

For my Diego

Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera



Noma Dumezweni and Ophelia Lovibond

I will treasure your letter

JK Rowling to Sacia Flowers



Ophelia Lovibond

Everyone has to be a child

Jessica Morley to The Economist

Along with this letter comes a play

Shelagh Delaney to Joan Littlewood



Rob Brydon

Life itsef is life

DH Lawrence to Katharine Mansfield

Love and garlic

Groucho Marx to Chico Marx

How Beautiful!

Salvador Dali to Federico García Lorca



Simon Callow

Ye have made me such a pisser

Lord Edmund Howard to Lady Lisle

Nothing is ours, except time

Lucius Annaeus Seneca to Lucilius Junior

Get at the very heart of it

Ludwig van Beethoven to Emilie



Taron Egerton

I have had my eye on you

Simon Fallowfield to Mary Foster

Darling, I love you

Dylan Thomas to Pamela Johnson





Kelvin Jones

Call you Home
Message in Bottle


Saturday, 15 July 2017


Alan Carr

We are ridiculous

Kenneth Williams to Andrew Hathaway

Seat 29E

A Customer to Continental Airlines

What do you want from life?

David Lavelle to The Telegraph



Alan Carr and Robert Rinder

You Babylonian scullion

Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks



Amanda Abbington

Dear Princess Leia

Carrie Fischer to Princess Leia

The survivours will envy the dead

Jacqueline Kennedy to Nikita Khrushchev

Between death and perfection

Violet Trefusis to Vita Sckville-West

Meeting Picasso

Edith Sitwell to Cecil Beaton



Amanda Abbington and John Simm

Are you supposed to be normal?

Harold Pinter to A Confused Theatre Goer



Ashley Walters

In Brotherhood

Claude Eatherly to Reverend N.

I am unable to accept your rejection at this time

Paul Devlin to Various colleges



John Simm

He is a most exemplaty young man

Sidney Lanier to Charley Lanier

A man has to BE something; has to matter

Hunter S. Thompson to Hume Logan

The Cat Ranch

Jack Lemmon to Walter Matthau



Lemn Sissay

Tears don’t flow the same in space

Frank Culbertson to Earth

Brown is as pretty as white

W.E.B Du Bois to Yolande Du Bois



Nick Moran

It’s the trip of a lifetime

Buzz Aldrin to Barry Goldman

He has nothing but his poker

A.T. Harris to Atlantic City Railroad

People simply empty out

Charles Bukowski to John Martin

You are your father

Saul Bellow to Martin Amis


Joe Strummer to Mark Hagen



Robert Rinder

The grandest looking child

Alfred Tennyson to Robert Monteith

Sleep well, my love

Brian Keith to Dave

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Virginia O’Hanlon to the Editor of The Sun



Zawe Ashton

A few matters of etiquette

Fanny Burney to Hetty Burney

Janis Joplin Lives!

Janis Joplin to her parents

We are the gift

Melissa Harris Perry to Richard Mourdock





Lizzie Yardley

By Your Side
So Easy