Almeida Theatre: Figures Of Speech series 3 launched

FOS series 3

FOS series 3

The Almeida Theatre today launched the third and final series of Figures of Speech, its major digital film project exploring the vitality of speech, the power of performance, and what visionary leadership sounds like.

The first instalment of series three is released today with Andrew Scott delivering American laywer and judge Edith Sampson’s 1965 speech ‘Choose One of Five’ and continues over the next three weeks with films featuring Amanda AbbingtonPearl MackieTobias Menzies and Iwan Rheon. They will perform significant speeches from pioneers, politicians and activists throughout history. The new films continue to examine what leadership means and the power of the spoken word in the 21st century.

 A divided politics, a divided country, a divided people.

 We’ve never needed leaders more.

 Figures of Speech places history’s greatest speeches centre stage through an anthology of films read by a range of actors released online, building a concert of dynamic voices and ideas from across the world as a dramatic response to social crisis.

The project launched in May 2017 and the first two series have featured speeches delivered by American politician Harvey Milk spoken by Ian McKellen; Virginia Woolf spoken by Fiona Shaw; Malcolm X spoken by Cush Jumbo; and American aviator Charles Lindbergh spoken by Russell Tovey.

Figures of Speech is available for free via a dedicated mini-site: speech.almeida.co.uk

Alongside a growing anthology of films, the microsite features additional material exploring the speeches, the context within which they were first delivered and the choice to revive them. The site features guest-authored articles and filmed reactions from performers and audiences of people from local communities with direct connections to the themes explored. To complement the films, inspiring young leaders aged 15 – 25, from Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff and Liverpool, have been invited to respond with a speech of their own, crafted through an Almeida Participation programme, inviting previously unheard voices to share the platform. The Participation team will continue to work with young people in these regions offering leadership classes and workshops.

Figures of Speech series one and two have so far received a combined total of a quarter of a million views, both from clips on the Almeida’s social media channels and the full-length films on YouTube. Ian McKellen’s reading of Harvey Milk’s ‘Hope Speech’ has had over 70,000 views through social media and YouTube. Overall Figures of Speech has reached over a million people through its social channels alone.

Figures of Speech is conceived by Rupert Goold and directed by Anthony Almeida. It is the Almeida’s third major digital theatre event, following day-long durational readings of The Iliad and The Odyssey in 2015, which inspired audiences of over 50,000 people across the UK and around the world.