Cumberbatch writes to Santa for Letters Live

Cumberbatch writes to Santa for Letters Live

Benedict Cumberbatch, Shami Chakrabarti and Thom Yorke are among the famous names who have written to Father Christmas as part of Letters Live.

The letters will be published today (7th December) to mark both National Letter Writing Day and the announcement of the 2016 Letters Live programme, the Guardian has reported.

Letters Live is an annual “celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence” first begun by publisher Canongate in 2013, inspired by the success of Shaun Usher’s bestselling book Letters of Note (co-published in partnership with Unbound).

Each year, performers read letters from famous people and historical moments. Last year featured letters from individuals including David Bowie, Marge Simpson, Gandhi, Elvis Presley, Richard Burton and Che Guevara, read by performers such as Sir Ian McKellen, Kylie Minogue, Russell Brand, Caitlin Moran, Tom Hiddleston, Sally Hawkins, Sir Ben Kingsley and Cumberbatch himself.

Cumberbatch’s “festive plea” reads: “Dear Father Christmas… it’s not for us to turn around and plead for your help with the environment, the migrant crisis, the NHS, education, food banks, human rights, fundamentalism and wars. Though God knows we need all the help we can get … you are for the children…  And this is what I’d like to ask you to help with. A little more time for those children to be children.”

Earlier this year, Cumberbatch’s film production company SunnyMarch partnered with Letters Live to make the celebrity readings available to watch online.

Cumberbatch said about Letters Live: “Letters Live makes us pause and imagine the lives behind the letters read and the circumstances of their origin…. It’s a privilege to read this most ancient of communications live to an audience. A truly inspiring event.”

The first 2016 Letters Live shows are six evening shows, a matinee and a family special held from 10th to the 15th March at the Freemasons’ Hall in London’s Covent Garden. Another 25 to 30 dates in 2016 have yet to be announced.