Join in Read Letters Live with Benedict Cumberbatch

Since 2013, Letters Live have been inviting performers on stage to bring letters to life but as of last week, they decided to open the stage to everyone with their campaign #ReadALetter.  They are asking people to share a letter, any letter of hope, education, love, appreciation, respect, thanks, solace and support and film it being read out loud. The campaign was kicked off by Benedict Cumberbatch last week and this weekend has seen letters being written and filmed by Caitlin Moran, Margaret Atwood, Minnie Driver and most recently a letter from Russell Brand to Boris Johnson (see it here).  We also have an exclusive first look at the film by Amanda Abbington (from Sherlock) who reads a letter written by Dorothy Parker here. It isn’t just celebrities though as anybody can upload a letter (see the instructions below) and many, many people already have from key workers such as a heart failure clinical nurse to her children explaining why she wouldn’t be spending the weekend with them, an ICU doctor assuring the vulnerable will not be overlooked, a carer to her dear friend in assisted living and many more.  The resulting letters are moving, funny, surprising and everything in-between – you can see them all on their YouTube channel here, Twitter and Instagram.

And if you’re tempted to join in yourself, then here is how you do it:

Film yourself reading a letter. It really is as simple as that.

It could be an important letter you have wanted to send, or a cherished letter you once received. It could be a favourite letter of yours that offers hope in our current crisis make sure you get or a prescient warning too important to be ignored. It may simply be a favourite letter of yours that may brighten everyone’s day. If you’re not reading your own letter, please make sure you ask for permission.

1. Use the camera on your phone.

2. If possible, record it in a quiet room.

3. Film it in Portrait mode – upright.

4. If you’d rather not be filmed, point the camera at something else while you read: the letter itself, the view from your window, your dog.

5. Before you read the letter, say who it is to and from.

6. Post the video from your social media account, remembering to include the hashtag #ReadALetter and tag @letterslive

7. Alternatively, send the video file to They can then share the letter.

8. Nominate another person to write a letter.

— Francesca
22nd April 2020

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