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Manchester Statues Come Alive

Sing London gives a voice to some of Manchester's most recognisable statues

Written by . Published on August 21st 2014.

Manchester Statues Come Alive

MANCHESTER’S statues normally observe city life in unwavering silence but now they wish to be heard.

"It is hoped that listeners intrigued by the statues will then visit the correlating museum or institution"

Sing London, a non-profit arts organisation, has taken it upon itself to give some of Manchester’s and London’s statues a voice.

Seven statues in Manchester have been fitted with an embedded technology that allows members of the public with a smartphone to receive a call from the historic individual. Phones fitted with an NFC chip need only enable it and then swipe past the sign. For those phones that don't have this feature there is the option of scanning a QR code or manually inputting the web address into a browser.

Listeners will then be presented with a monologue written by an acclaimed writer and performed by a well-known actor or personality.

Children’s author Jacqueline Wilson has written a piece for Manchester Central Library’s Reading Girl. Voiced by Doctor Who’s Jenna Louise Coleman it tells of how the young girl discards the book that she has been reading for over 100 years and goes in search of a new story among the bookshelves.


Reading Girl

Coronation Street’s David Neilson is lending his voice to LS Lowry in Sam’s Chophouse as he sits by the bar, animating a piece written by Kiran Benawra and based on his works.

Other statues around Mancherster include:

- Alan Turing. Written by Mark Ravenhill and performed by Russell Tovey.

- Sir John Barbirolli. Written by Michael Kennedy and performed by Timothy West.

- Queen Victoria. Written by Katrina Burnett and performed by Prunella Scales.

- Abraham Lincoln. Written by Gary Younge and performed by Tom Conti.

It is hoped that listeners intrigued by the statues will then visit the correlating museum or institution in order to learn more about both the individual and the city itself.

Although given Manchester sadly doesn't have a museum dedicated to itself unlike Liverpool, despite this city's far more significant history, then matching things up in Manchester requires a schlepp between MOSI, the People's History Museum, Central Library and so on. 

Anyway, soap box over...

The seventh statute is Manchester Museum’s T-Rex whose monologue will be chosen in a public competition, the details of which can be found here

This is not the first time that Sing London has brought life to city streets. In 2011 bins in London and Liverpool were also given a voice, giving the public a shock.

They are also responsible for the 500 ping pong tables placed in public spaces across the UK.

Back to the statues: we still think Liam Curtin's idea here is better, painting them, giving them back their flesh. It's got a better air of permanance. 

More information can be found here.

Queen Vic

Queen Vic being grumpy in Picc

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