A breath-taking trail of cinematic bronze statues has been unveiled in London’s Leicester Square, celebrating the location’s rich history as the home of film and marking the square’s 350 th anniversary.
Dynamic statues of Batman, Bugs Bunny, Laurel & Hardy, Mary Poppins, Mr Bean, Paddington, Singin’ in the Rain and Wonder Woman were unveiled in a series of music, dance and lighting performances and special guests including Hugh Bonneville (Paddington) Patricia Kelly (Gene Kelly The Legacy) and Zizi Strallen (who plays the title role in the West End production of Mary Poppins) attended this morning.
The unique cultural initiative, called ‘Scenes in the Square’, has been created by Heart of London Business Alliance in partnership with Westminster City Council and major film studios and IP holders.
It marks 350 years since Leicester Square was established in 1670, named after the 2nd Earl of Leicester. Since then it has grown to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting 96 million visitors a year and becoming synonymous with movie premieres.
Scenes in the Square hopes to add to this cinematic legacy and popularity, with the movie statues appealing to all ages and tastes and giving film lovers an unmissable reason to visit. Each statue depicts a much-loved movie moment from a different decade since the 1920s, with dynamic poses chosen to naturally interact with the scenery in the square, from rooftops to walls, lamp posts to flower beds.
The trail will also come to life on visitors’ mobile phones through a Visit London app, with interactive maps and clips from each film coming to life through NFC technology, along with scannable music playlists through a Spotify partnership.
Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “Scenes in the Square is an exciting tribute to Leicester Square’s 350 th birthday. Nowhere else in the world can you stop for lunch on a bench with Mr Bean or Paddington, dance alongside Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain or hold your umbrella aloft next to Mary Poppins. Scenes in the Square is a first of its kind and we hope it will put London on the movie map like the Walk of Fame has in Hollywood.”
“We’ve been humbled by the response so far and incredibly lucky to have such support from major movie studios to the stars and their estates, from Rowan Atkinson to Gene Kelly’s wife and biographer Patricia without whom this wouldn’t have been possible. We hope that this is just the beginning and Scenes in the Square will play on for years to come.”
Leicester Square has long been the home of film, with the first cinema opening in 1930 and the very first movie premiere taking place in 1937. This long-term trail celebrates unforgettable movies from almost every decade since then through to the 2020s, aiming to bring to life the public’s most loved film moments, in an accessible and engaging way. The goal of Scenes in the Square is to make the square more accessible, interactive and exciting for visitors from 2020 and cement its place as the heart of film in London.
The eight statues will be in place until at least the Summer, but organisers hope they will remain for years to come, as the initiative welcomes new statues.
‘Scenes in the Square’ is a free, fully accessible trail for film lovers of all ages. For more information about each statue see the accompanying guide.