Posted on 1 May 2020.

Posted in: Announcements


Hampstead Theatre’s Associate Company, The Mono Box, is delighted to announce the launch of The Monologue Library, audio recordings of renowned artists performing their favourite theatrical speeches. Available on themonobox.co.uk the Library features over 100 speeches by artists such as Sir Derek Jacobi, Denise Gough, Sheila Atim, Gina McKee, Prasanna Puwanarajah and Sir Simon Russell Beale. Speech Share Live monologues hosted by Hampstead Theatre will also be available on the Hampstead Theatre website. The Monologue Library has been created during COVID-19 as a free, creative resource for theatre lovers and artists alike and is available from today.

The Monologue Library will include brand new recordings performed by artists in lockdown such as Siobhan RedmondMarion Bailey, Paapa Essiedu, Vanessa Kirby and Gwilym Lee who were all due to perform at Hampstead Theatre this spring as part of The Mono Box’s Speech Share Live events. 

Speech Share Live is a public recording of The Mono Box’s podcast, Speech Share. Since becoming an Associate Company at Hampstead Theatre, The Mono Box has recorded a series of Speech Share Lives at the theatre.

Speech Share is hosted by The Mono Box co-founders, Polly Bennett and Joan Iyiola and is an in-depth and engrossing podcast series with some of the UK's most admired artists, discussing their experience of working within the theatre industry and a production that they have worked on.  Each podcast ends with the artist performing their favourite monologue. Many of the recordings in the library were originally performed as part of Speech Share.

Over 100 recordings will feature in The Monologue Library on The Mono Box’s website, leading with a poem read by Riz Ahmed honouring the mood of the time, Sarah Niles’s tribute to frontline workers using the words of Winsome Pinnock, a speech from Thalissa Teixieira from a production which was forced to close when COVID-19 hit, a roar from Clare Perkins to inspire us, and classical greats from Josh O’Connor and Sope Dirisu to remind us of how this is all just history repeating.

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre said:

“The Speech Share Live podcasts at Hampstead Theatre have been an inspiration to our audiences. We miss them. The collective experience of live performance can’t be replaced but The Mono Box has created a wonderful asset with an extraordinary ensemble of artists performing some of the world’s greatest speeches. Their combined generosity is a real audio treat for any theatre lover.”

The Mono Box, co-founders Polly Bennett and Joan Iyiola, said:

“Like many in the entertainment industry these last few weeks, our working lives have rapidly changed and have been left wondering – what now?

We are aware how hard it is to replace the experience of theatre however we still want to connect with people in the way we know how. The creation of our Monologue Library seems like the perfect way to celebrate beautiful writing and performance whilst also hopefully offering some escapism, humour and inspiration during this period of isolation.

We think of it as a big audio love-letter to the theatre community - please jump in and enjoy!”

The Mono Box is a drama training hub and support network for emerging theatre talent, founded by Polly Bennett and Joan Iyiola in 2013.  It provides access to unique workshops, new writing opportunities, inspirational live professional events in the UK and digital content to reach artists across the world.  It has also created a unique collection of 4,000 plays donated by professional actors, directors and writers working in the theatre industry.  The Mono Box has been an Associate Company of Hampstead Theatre since 2019.


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