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"Can you hear me? I am Achilles. King of the myrmidons.  Son of a sea nymph."

The Royal Parks and Royal Parks Foundation have partnered with Sing London to bring the Achilles 18ft statue in Hyde Park to life. Visitors can swipe their smartphones on a nearby tag and get a personal 'call back' from the Greek hero of the Trojan War.

 On the other end of the line, they will hear a monologue from a restless Achilles written by award-winning playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz and voiced by The Wire actor Dominic West.  

The statue located near Queen Elizabeth Gate at Hyde Park Corner is a tribute to Arthur, Duke of Wellington, for his victories in the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars. Installed in 1822, Achilles is cast from cannon captured in the victories of Salamanca, Vittoria, Toulouse and Waterloo. It was the first statue erected in Hyde Park, and originally was completely nude causing outrage. A small fig leaf was added soon after to protect Achilles' modesty.

Actor Dominic West says: "I think it is a brilliant idea. You tend to walk past these statues without a second glance. It's intriguing to imagine the life behind them"

Linda Lennon CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks said: "We are delighted to be part of this innovative project that brings statues to life, and in the process opens minds to a range of topics from Greek mythology and children's fiction to politics."

Achilles is now the second statue in The Royal Parks to join Talking Statues. Earlier this year, the bronze Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Gardens also found its voice, transporting listeners back to Neverland, the home of the boy who never grew up and his gang of Lost Boys.

Sara Lom, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks Foundation, said: "Bringing together art and technology, Talking Statues encourages millions of visitors to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens to pause and engage with the magic and history of Achilles and Peter Pan."

Since its launch in August, over 30,000 people have received calls from statues across London and Manchester. Talking Statues is the creation of Sing London, the non-profit arts organisation whose projects aim to lift the public's spirit.  Previous projects include filling London with street pianos and Ping! -the public ping pong project that has placed over 1,000 ping-pong tables across England.


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