Talking Statues project featuring narration from Stephen Fry and Olivia Colman launches in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:39 09 September 2018

Lord Nelson, in Cathedral Close - written and voiced by Stephen Fry. Photos: Talking Statues / Library

Lord Nelson, in Cathedral Close - written and voiced by Stephen Fry. Photos: Talking Statues / Library

Talking Statues / Library

Stephen Fry and Olivia Colman are amongst those voicing a campaign launched in Norwich at the weekend, bringing the city’s most iconic statues to life.

Talking Statues at The Forum. Picture: Victoria PertusaTalking Statues at The Forum. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Talking Statues has come to the UNESCO City of Literature to tell the stories of the county’s heroes, from Nelson to Julian of Norwich. The project has been designed by Sign London, who have created similar trails in London, Chicago and Dublin.

Local company Creative Nation organised the production of the project, and producer Alice Whitney said: “We chose Norwich because of the UNESCO element but also because there was such a depth of heritage, and such an interest from the local community.”

Miss Whitney grew up in Norwich herself, and said: “I think that Julian of Norwich will be really popular, you can’t go wrong with Sarah Perry writing and Olivia Colman’s voice. My favourite is probably Peter the Wild Boy though.

“He was a mute in real life and to this day we don’t really know how or why he was in Norfolk. Of course, he probably had a very difficult time but we didn’t want to focus on the negative. We decided to ask Keith Skipper because even though he didn’t speak, maybe he spoke in a Norwich accent. It really brought the story to life.”

The Julian of Norwich statue, at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Talking StatuesThe Julian of Norwich statue, at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Talking Statues

It’s not only the Hollywood names who have joined the voice over cast, as emerging local talents have also been selected either to write scripts or perform roles, in collaboration with the National Centre for Writing.

Miss Whitney, 43, added: “We wanted to bring in some emerging talent as well, which is why we’ve got two statues who haven’t been written yet. We’ve stretched the meaning of statues a bit to include sculptures, so have Snap at the Museum of Norwich, and the Missing Statue in the Maddermarket.”

To write a voice for either of the statues, visit the National Centre for Writing’s website.

The statues can be heard via mobile phone, simply by scanning the QR code or entering the URL on the statue. The statue will then call your phone

You can also pick up maps at locations across the city, and transcripts are available for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Where are the statues, and who is voicing them?

• Lord Nelson, in Cathedral Close - written and voiced by Stephen Fry.

• Julian of Norwich, at Norwich Cathedral - written by Sarah Perry and voiced by Olivia Colman.

• The City Hall Lions, at the front steps of City Hall - written by Karl Minns and voiced by The Nimmo Twins.

• Thomas Browne, in the Haymarket - written by George Szirtes and voiced by Adam Buxton.

• Will Kempe, in Chapelfield Gardens, - written and voiced by Luke Wright.

• Peter the Wild Boy, in Bridewell Alley - written by Alexander Gordon Smith and voiced by Keith Skipper.

• Amelia Opie, on Opie Street - written by Megan Bradbury and voiced by Zoe Telford.

• Snap the Dragon, at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. Snap is the subject the under 16s public writing competition.

• Missing Statue, at the Church of St John Maddermarket. This post-reformation space is the subject of the over 16s public writing competition.

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